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Franchitti, Ganassi Win IndyCar Championship

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, October 2 2010

Dario Franchitti was all smiles before the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway Saturday night. He smiled even more afterward. (Photo courtesy of the IZOD IndyCar Series)


Dario Franchitti won his third IZOD IndyCar Series championship Saturday night and he only had to finish in eighth in the season-ending Cafes do Brazil 300 at Homestead Miami Speedway to do it.

He captured the championship thanks to the fast car his team put under him and also because of trouble on the track by the only other driver with a shot at the championship.

Scott Dixon, Franchitti’s teammate won the race, and Danica Patrick finished second, but the big story was the one concerning the championship.

Franchitti, starting from the pole for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, started the race 11 points behind Team Penske’s Will Power.

Franchitti was able to quickly put other cars between he and Power and edged into the points lead on the track.

But the big moment of the race came on lap 135 of the 200-lap race when Power went high onto the track – too high – and brushed the wall. He was running top five at the time.

“I was trying to get around backmakers (lapped cars) and I got into the gray area (out of the groove and into tire bits) a little,” Power said.

Power pitted on the ensuing caution and major damage was discovered to the right rear suspension and the car had to be taken behind the wall for repairs. He went back out but came right back in reporting front-end damage.

Power was again pushed behind the wall for repairs but this time, he did not re-emerge.

He fell off the lead lap and his only chance of retaking the lead and winning the championship was a race-ending wreck by Franchitti.

Didn’t happen – thought it almost did as Milka Duno crashed right in front of Franchitti with 25 laps to go – and the championship was Franchitti’s.

Franchitti was leading when Power found the wall. But after seeing that Power was done for the night, he started thinking big picture.

“We had the car to win tonight but we just had to play it conservatively” after the Power crash, Franchitti said.

Results Saturday of the Cafes Do Brasil Indy 300 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.485-mile Homestead Miami Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):”

1. (2) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

2. (11) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

3. (8) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

4. (4) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

5. (10) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

6. (21) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

7. (16) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

8. (1) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

9. (5) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

10. (18) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running

11. (20) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running

12. (22) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running

13. (7) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running

14. (19) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running

15. (14) Bertrand Baguette, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running

16. (24) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running

17. (23) Raphael Matos, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running

18. (9) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running

19. (12) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 198, Running

20. (26) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 198, Running

21. (6) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 198, Running

22. (17) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 197, Running

23. (25) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda, 197, Running

24. (27) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 170, Contact

25. (3) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 143, Contact

26. (15) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 42, Contact

27. (13) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 25, Mechanical

Race Statistics

Winners average speed: 158.905

Time of Race: 1:52:08.5580

Margin of victory: 2.7587 seconds

Cautions: Five for 39 laps

Lead changes: 18 among 7 drivers

Lap Leaders: Franchitti 1-42, Briscoe 43, Franchitti 44-52, Briscoe 53, Franchitti 54-55, Briscoe 56, Franchitti 57, Briscoe 58-61, Dixon 62-68, Kanaan 69-72, Franchitti 73-95, Dixon 96-97, Tagliani 98-100, Franchitti 101-151, Dixon 152-157, Andretti 158-167, Dixon 168-172, Castroneves 173, Dixon 174-200.

Point Standings: Franchitti 602, Power 597, Dixon 547, Castroneves 531, Briscoe 482, Kanaan 453, Hunter-Reay 445, Andretti 392, Wheldon 388, Patrick 367.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, October 2 2010
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