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Dixon is IRL winner at Watkins Glen



Published: Mon, July 9, 2007 @ 12:00 a.m.

It was his third straight victory at the road course.

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) — Rain, cold, hot. When Scott Dixon comes to Watkins Glen International to race, the weather doesn’t seem to faze him at all.

Dixon regained the lead after a fast pit stop on lap 45 and held off Sam Hornish Jr., series leader Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti over the final 14 laps Sunday to win the Watkins Glen Grand Prix.

It was Dixon’s third straight victory at the 3.4-mile, 11-turn natural road course in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York and seventh of his IndyCar Series career.

Reaction

“That was fantastic, great. I look forward to coming to the track every year. It’s just been a fantastic track for myself,” said Dixon, who pulled away in the closing laps and won by 6.2 seconds to join former Formula One great Graham Hill as the only open-wheel drivers to win three straight races here. “Today, things just seemed to play our way. The last 10 laps I was waiting for something to break.”

It was the best career road-course finish for Hornish, but there was no glee when he returned to the pits. He had bumped with Kanaan early in the race, and the fiery Brazilian swerved at Hornish’s Penske Racing Honda after Dixon took the checkered flag to end the 60-lap, 202-mile race.

An altercation broke out when the drivers exited their cars. Hornish’s father pushed Kanaan, then was knocked to the ground by members of Kanaan’s Andretti Green Racing crew.

“It was unfortunate how it all played out, even after he got out of the car and I went to talk to him,” Hornish said. “His point of view and mine is a lot different about what happened. I don’t really see where it’s coming from. He didn’t give me any room, and that’s what happens sometimes.”

Kanaan’s explanation

“He hit me,” said Kanaan, whose green-and-white No. 11 had black tire marks along the driver’s side. “I got out of the car to talk to him. He needs his dad to defend him, which I think is totally wrong. What happened on the track, we need to sort it out between me and him. I was not going to fight. That’s why dads should be in the grandstands.”

Dixon, who has four runner-up finishes this season for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, took advantage of a mistake by pole sitter Helio Castroneves, who led the first 19 laps and seemed to be the man to beat before crashing.

“You could see that he was struggling,” said Dixon, who started second and began gaining ground on Castroneves after the teams made their first pit stops.

“We were definitely quicker. I think we could have had a shot at him. If he hadn’t messed up there, I think we would have got him sooner or later.”


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