Scott Dixon has won the 2008 IndyCar Series Championship, despite a heroic effort by Helio Castroneves which saw him win a photo finish in today’s final points-paying race of the season - the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway, Illnois, US.
The Brisbane-born Kiwi''''s win comes just six weeks before the IndyCar Series heads ''''Down Under'''' for Australia''''s own Nikon Indy 300, October 23-26.
Castroneves, who was still in contention for the championship heading to Chicagoland Speedway, raced from the 28th (last) starting position to first to win the photo finish, however it wasn’t enough to keep Dixon from winning his second IndyCar Series Championship.
Instead, Dixon maintained a 17-point lead to become the second driver to win multiple championships in the IndyCar Series (he also won in 2003), while Castroneves was relegated to runner-up status.
Pole sitter Ryan Briscoe of Australia finished third after running three-wide with the leaders over the final lap (he had locked up fifth in the standings at the penultimate round) while Tony Kanaan was fourth for third in the standings.
Briscoe’s fellow Australian Will Power finished fifth, 12th in the overall standings and third in the Bombardier Rookie of the Year chase. Hideki Mutoh took the rookie honors by six points over Justin Wilson despite finishing 22nd.
Castroneves started from the back of the grid due to a penalty during qualifying and raced his way through the field to take the lead on Lap 78 of the 200 lap encounter.
He led 80 laps total and was in first as the leaders pitted on Lap 185 with 15 laps to go, however series points leader Dixon won the race off pit lane and led the next 14 laps as Castroneves pulled alongside for the final two.
As the pair took the checkered flag side-by-side, it took a review of photographs by IndyCar Series officials to determine that Castroneves had edged Dixon by .0033 of a second - the second-closest finish in IndyCar Series history - to take his second victory of the season and the second IndyCar Series Championship runner-up berth of his career.
The 2008 IndyCar Series season now continues to Australia’s own Nikon Indy 300 on October 23-26.
The 2008 schedule has taken the teams and drivers to short ovals, superspeedways, and road and street courses on its way to the Nikon Indy 300 which is regarded as a ‘crown jewel’ in international motorsport.
With 96 hours of non-stop excitement over October 23-26 as the Gold Coast comes alive to the sound of the IndyCar Series cars burning up the track and Australia’s own V8 Supercars scorching around one of the most famous beach-side cities in the world, the event is the hottest ticket in town.
Tickets are now on sale for the Nikon Indy 300 with ticket options to suit everyone''''s needs. Four day Grandstand passes are available for those who prefer to watch the racing from the comfort of their own reserved seat or for those who prefer to wander around and soak up the atmosphere then a four day, weekend or single day General Admission pass might be more their style. For more information on ticket options click here. For information on Corporate Hospitality packages please call the Nikon Indy 300 Sales Team on (07) 5588 6800.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY…
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Winner – 2008 IndyCar Series Championship, Second – PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300):
(About the race) “We were trying to work out where we needed to be, and I think I got a little complacent in the middle there,” said Dixon.
“Some of those guys are so quick, some people we didn’t expect to be racing with. We got shuffled back in line a little bit, but what a great day. I still can’t believe it.
(About whether or not this trumps his championship in 2003) “Yeah, I think it does. We had to go through the cycles. In ’03 we really knew what we won, but today was so emotional for the team.
“Everyone at Team Target worked together to make it happen. My hat’s off to them.
(About tough years in his career) “Yeah, it was so tough in those years. I think we tried to forget about them, but I think those years have made the team what it is today. I think those years were tough, but you’ve got to have those years to make sure that you come back and work hard.
“I’ve got to thank Chip (Ganassi) for keeping me around. It was a revolving door there for awhile. I’ve got to thank my teammate, Dan (Wheldon). He was a great help today.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, Winner – PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300, Second – 2008 IndyCar Series Championship):
(About learning he won the race) “I found out when I was walking to the podium to receive the second-place finish. I actually thought I really won it, but sometimes when you’re going 215 mph it’s hard for me to see in the blink of an eye,” said Castroneves.
“But what a great effort by Team Penske. Ryan (Briscoe) helped me out tremendously. We put ourselves in that situation today. And I’m sure next year is going to be a lot of fun as well, so I can’t wait for 2009.
(About coming from last to first) “We tried to keep everything that happened behind and keep racing. I had no doubt that we’d have a good car.
“It was a big task but, like I said, we believed, we did everything possible. But unfortunately Scott (Dixon) was right there, too.
“I have to congratulate Team Ganassi, but what a great finish, what a wild race. It was kind of a little close, but I’m extremely happy for the way it came out here.”
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, Third – PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300, Fifth – 2008 IndyCar Series Championship):
“It was awesome. It was some really great racing there, going three-wide for a while with (Dan) Wheldon and Helio (Castroneves),” said Briscoe.
“It was just a really good day and a good way to end the season. We’ve had a lot of progress this year, so this was an accomplishment going into 2009.
“I did my best to help Helio (Castroneves). I thought he might have had it. I was under that rear wing as close as I could get, so hopefully that helped him out.”
WILL POWER (No. 8 Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia, Fifth – PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300, 12th – 2008 IndyCar Series Championship, Third - Bombardier Rookie of the Year Award):
“I have never had so much fun in a race. The Aussie Vineyards–Team Australia car was good, and the crew did a great job in the pits,” said Power.
“We picked up positions on every stop. We had good restarts. Everything was good.
“This has been a challenging season. The whole team has worked very hard, and I am just so happy to be able to have a good finish, especially on a mile-and-half oval. It really shows the progress the whole KVRT team has made this year.”
NOTES ON SCOTT DIXON:
- Scott Dixon held first place in the standings in 2008 for all but three races. After winning the season opener at Homestead-Miami, Dixon fell to second with a 22nd-place finish at St. Petersburg. He rebounded to first with his win at Indianapolis.
- Dixon averaged 38.0 points per race, just shy of the 40 points awarded for finishing second.
- Since the start of the 2006 season, Dixon has 42 top-10 finishes in 48 races. In those 48 races, Dixon has 12 victories, 36 top-five finishes and has led 1,405 laps.
- Beginning with the race at Richmond in June 2007, Dixon has 21 top-five finishes in 26 races. In those 26 races, Dixon has 10 victories, 23 top-10 finishes and has led 1,089 laps. A look at Dixon’s last 25 races: Wins: 10; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 4; 4th: 1; 5th: 1; 8th: 1; 10th: 1; 11th: 1; 12th: 1; 22nd: 1
- Dixon is the second driver to win multiple IndyCar Series championships. He also won in 2003.
- This marks the fourth consecutive season that the winner of the Indianapolis 500 has gone on to win the series championship, tying a record set from 1967-1970.
Dixon in the Record Book
- Career wins: Moved from fifth to second with 16 wins. (Hornish Jr. 19)
- Wins in a season: Tied Dan Wheldon’s record of 6 set in 2005.
- Seasons with a win: Tied for fifth with five seasons with a win.
- Wins from pole in a season: Set new record with four.
- Career poles: Moved from fifth to second with 14 poles. (Castroneves 26)
- Career laps led: Moved from eighth to fifth with 2,181. (Hornish Jr. 3,428)
- Laps led in a season: Set new record with 899.
- Top-five starts in a season: Set new record with 15.
NOTES ON HELIO CASTRONEVES:
- Helio Castroneves turned in one of the most consistent seasons in IndyCar Series history, recording a record-tying 15 top-five finishes, including a record-setting eight second-place finishes.
- Castroneves led all drivers with 15 top-five finishes and 17 races running at the finish.
- Castroneves held first place in the standings for three weeks before relinquishing the position to Scott Dixon at the Indianapolis 500 in May. After that, Castroneves held second place the final 13 weeks of the season.
- Castroneves averaged 37.0 points per race, better than the 35 points awarded for third place.
Castroneves in the Record Book
- Seasons with a win: Tied Scott Sharp’s record of eight.
- Consecutive seasons with a win: Set new record with eight.
- Career wins from pole: Set new record with seven.
- Consecutive seasons with win from pole: Tied record of three others with three.
- Consecutive starts: Moved into second with 112.
- Career poles: Extended his record to 26.
- Career top-10 finishes: Set new record with 88.
- Career top-five finishes: Tied with Tony Kanaan for all-time lead with 66.
- Career races led: Set new record with 71.
- Career second-place finishes: Set new record with 20.
2008 INDYCAR SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS:
1 - Scott Dixon - 646 Points
2 - Helio Castroneves - 629
3 - Tony Kanaan - 513
4 - Dan Wheldon - 492
5 - Ryan Briscoe - 447
6 - Danica Patrick - 379
7 - Marco Andretti - 363
8 - Ryan Hunter-Reay - 360
9 - Oriol Servia - 358
10 - Hideki Mutoh - 346
11 - Justin Wilson - 340
12 - Will Power - 331
13 - Vitor Meira - 324
14 - Darren Manning - 323
15 - Ed Carpenter - 320
16 - Buddy Rice - 306
17 - Graham Rahal - 288
18 - E.J. Viso - 286
19 - A.J. Foyt IV - 280
20 - Bruno Junqueira - 256
21 - Mario Moraes - 244
22 - Enrique Bernoldi - 220
23 - Jaime Camara - 174
24 - Marty Roth - 166
25 - Milka Duno - 140
26 - Townsend Bell - 117
27 - Mario Dominguez - 112
28 - Jay Howard - 72
29 - Franck Perera - 71
30 - John Andrettii - 71
31 - Tomas Scheckter - 66
32 - Sarah Fisher - 37
33 - Paul Tracy - 32
34 - Alex Tagliani - 30
35 - Roger Yasukawa - 16
36 - Davey Hamilton - 16
37 - Buddy Lazier - 13
38 - Alex Lloyd - 10
39 - Jeff Simmons - 10
RACE RESULTS: PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300:
Results of the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 IndyCar Series event at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (28) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
2. (2) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
3. (1) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
4. (4) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
5. (10) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
6. (6) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
7. (23) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
8. (5) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
9. (16) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
10. (3) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
11. (21) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
12. (19) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
13. (15) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
14. (20) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
15. (24) Franck Perera, Dallara-Honda, 198, Pits
16. (9) Marty Roth, Dallara-Honda, 197, Running
17. (12) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 196, Running
18. (17) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Honda, 187, Running
19. (14) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 186, Contact
20. (25) Bruno Junqueira, Dallara-Honda, 184, Running
21. (27) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 181, Contact
22. (11) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 177, Pits
23. (26) E.J. Viso, Dallara-Honda, 136, Running
24. (18) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 116, Contact
25. (22) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 110, Contact
26. (7) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 87, Mechanical
27. (8) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 74, Contact
28. (13) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 36, Contact
- Winner''''s average speed: 150.648 mph
- Time of race: 2:01:04.5907
- Margin of victory: 0.0033 of a second
- Cautions: 7 caution flags for 53 laps
- Lead changes: 22 lead changes among 6 drivers
- Lap leaders: Briscoe 1-39, Kanaan 40-77, Castroneves 78-93, Briscoe 94, Castroneves 95, Wheldon 96-98, Castroneves 99-100, Wheldon 101-102, Castroneves 103-105, Wheldon 106, Castroneves 107-130, Briscoe 131, Kanaan 132-140, Duno 141-145, Castroneves 146-165, Wheldon 166, Castroneves 167-171, Wheldon 172-175, Castroneves 176, Wheldon 177-178, Castroneves 179-185, Dixon 186-199, Castroneves 200.
- Point standings: Dixon 646, Castroneves 629, Kanaan 513, Wheldon 492, Briscoe 447, Patrick 379, Andretti 363, Hunter-Reay 360, Servia 358, Mutoh 346.
INDYCAR SERIES POST-RACE NOTES:
- Scott Dixon wins his second IndyCar Series championship by 17 points over Helio Castroneves.
- Dixon is the second driver to win multiple championships. Sam Hornish Jr. won three.
- More details on Dixon’s season are listed below.
- Helio Castroneves is the first driver to win a race from the 28th starting position. Buddy Lazier won from 26th at Phoenix in 2000.
- More details on Castroneves’ season are listed below.
- The margin of victory is the second-closest in IndyCar Series history. The closest finish is .0024 of a second at Chicagoland in 2002 when Sam Hornish Jr. defeated Al Unser Jr. The 10 closest finishes are listed below.
- Hideki Mutoh wins the Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year honors with a six-point advantage over Justin Wilson.
- Ryan Briscoe finished third, his fifth top-five finish of the season.
- Tony Kanaan finished fourth, his 11th top-five finish of the season.
- Will Power finished fifth, his best finish of the season on an oval.
- Darren Manning finished seventh, his seventh top-10 finish of the season.
- Milka Duno led five laps, her first laps led in the IndyCar Series.