Pit problems push Danica to sixth

Last Sunday, Aug. 26, former Roscoe resident Danica Patrick started the Motorola Indy 300 in the front row. It was her second consecutive front-row start at a road race. This time, it was at the 2.26-mile, 12-turn circuit Infineon Speedway in Sonoma, Calif. Next to her on the pole was season points leader and fellow Andretti Green teammate Dario Franchitti.

Patrick was able to consistently run among the top five for the first 62 laps of the 80-lap race. It wasn’t until a pit stop on lap 63 that she would drop out of the top five. Her black No. 7 Motorola car stalled as she was attempting to pull away from her pit. That error cost her valuable track position, and she ended up finishing the race sixth.

In her post-race interview, Patrick said: “We had a pretty fast car, but races like this are all about track position. We lost so much time in the pits, and there is just no need for that. It just seemed like there was something on every pit stop. You can’t win races when you have problems on every stop.”

Scott Dixon won the race and, for the first time since early June, bumped Franchitti out of the points lead. Franchitti had led much of the race, but got into trouble when he collided with teammate Marco Andretti with only 11 laps left in the race. The collision damaged the nosepiece of Franchitti’s car. Instead of pitting during the caution, Franchitti opted to remain on the course and not surrender his track position.

On the restart, Dixon passed the injured Franchitti machine in turn two, and was able to hold off a serious late-race challenge from Helio Castroneves for the victory. Franchitti would end up finishing third. Tony Kanaan came in fourth, and Sam Hornish Jr. rounded out the top five.

The victory was the fourth this season for Dixon, and moved him four points ahead of Franchitti in the season championship points standings. Only two races remain on the 2007 schedule for the Indy Car Series.

This Sunday, Sept. 2, the series travels to Michigan for the Detroit Indy Grand Prix. The race will be televised locally beginning at 2:30 p.m. on ABC.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.

from the Aug. 29-Sept. 4, 2007, issue

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