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Dario Franchitti Sweeps Sonoma, Fourth Win of Season

IndyCar Series - Sonoma, CA

  • Franchitti, Photo: Getty

Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti swept the maximum 53 points at Infineon Raceway by winning the pole position, leading the most laps and winning for the fourth time this season. Teammate Scott Dixon came in as the series points leader but had contact in the early stages and finished 13th.

Franchitti and the No.10 Target team had the dominant car all weekend at Sonoma, and backed it up by leading flag to flag, marking only the second time an IndyCar Series race was won by a driver who led flag-to-flag. Dixon led all 206 laps of a rain-shortened race at Richmond International Raceway in June 2003.

Dixon started 10th but had to pit early for a new front wing after an accordion style pileup sent him spinning in turn 2 of the first lap. He and the No.9 Target crew battled back to salvage what was shaping up to be a top-10 result. On the last corner he was turned by Marco Andretti and crossed the stripe 14th. IndyCar Series officials penalized Andretti for avoidable contact with Dixon. Andretti was credited with a 14th place finish and placed behind Ed Carpenter (11th), Dan Wheldon (12th) and Scott Dixon (13th).

With the finishes, Dixon moves from first to third in IndyCar points with 477 (-20 to leader Briscoe), while Franchitti moves from third to second in the standings with 493 (-4 to leader Briscoe).

The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues August 29 at Chicagoland Speedway with the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 9:00 p.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on

Results from Sonoma

1.) Dario Franchitti, No.10 Target Honda Dallara
2.) Ryan Briscoe, No.6 Honda Dallara
3.) Mike Conway, No.24 Honda Dallara
13.) Scott Dixon, No.9 Target Honda Dallara

Race Notes

This is Franchitti's fourth win of the season, the 12th of his IndyCar Series career and the 22nd win in his open-wheel racing career.

This is Target Chip Ganassi Racing's eighth victory of the season and its 32nd in the IndyCar Series. Overall, it was the team's 72nd career open wheel win (CART, IndyCar)

In total, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams now has 113 race wins over open wheel, stock car and sports car racing (1990-Present)

TCGR now has two wins at Sonoma (Dixon, 2007)

Only four drivers - Franchitti, Dixon, Briscoe and Helio Castroneves - remain eligible for the championship with three races remaining.

TCGR Quoteboard:

Dario Franchitti: "It was a good weekend for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. The Target cars were pretty darn good. On the red Firestone tires they were very good. Qualifying up front allowed us to control the pace of the race and go just as fast as we used to go and that really helped us get it done today."

Scott Dixon: "It was a tough race. Everything we tried to do. We tried to catch a yellow. We pitted early to see if it could vault us up, and we kept coming out in the same position, racing with TK and Marco and we got into a bit of a mix-up at the end. We made quite a few passes on quite a few people, and at the end, Marco got into the back of me and spun me around. He came up and apologized. Definitely didn't do it on purpose. It was just one of those days. That's racing. Glad to move on and get out of here. I hope to get to the last three races because we fared well there last year. The point's race can switch big time. That's what we've got to look at. We need to be consistent in the last three races. But the Target team can win the last three races, hopefully we can do it and come home with another championship."

About Target Chip Ganassi Racing

With 15 wins in the last 30 races, Target Chip Ganassi Racing is the reigning IndyCar Series champion. Chip Ganassi created his own one-car IndyCar team in 1990 and established a partnership with sponsor, Target. Today, Target Chip Ganassi Racing includes two entries in the Indy Racing League for 2008 IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon, and 2007 IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti. Target Chip Ganassi Racing has collected six Championships and 72 wins since 1994 and operates out of a state-of-the-art race shop facility in Indianapolis, Ind., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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  • Franchitti, Photo: Getty