Dixon Wins the Rexall Edmonton Indy

July 26, 2008 Updated: July 26, 2008

Scott Dixon took the win at the Rexall Edmonton Indy race. (Gavin Lawrence/Getty Images)
Scott Dixon took the win at the Rexall Edmonton Indy race. (Gavin Lawrence/Getty Images)
Scott Dixon won his fifth race of the season and his first on a road course, beating Helio Castoneves to the checkered flag by six seconds in the Rexall Edmonton Indy.

Edmonton’s Rexall Speedway is a wide, fast bumpy 1.9 mile conglomeration of airport runways connected by a mixture of high-speed corners and extremely tricky connected turns where each corner has to be executed perfectly to get through the next turn. Most of the track is surrounded by concrete walls, so errors carry a high price.

Rexall Speedway saw the return of Paul Tracy. Tracy, a veteran of the ChampCar series, had been unable to find a team for the IndyCar series. Tracy got a ride with A.J. Foyt IV and Ed Carpenter with Vision Racing, and according to co-owner Tony George, may be driving more races for the team.

The Penske team dominated in qualifying, starting one-two on the race day. Ryan Briscoe took the pole, with Helio Castroneves next to him.

During the race Castroneves held the lead, taking advantage of the width of the track to find an alternate line through the first turn, passing Marco Andretti on the outside. Castroneves had yet to win a race this season, despite running well in every race and being second in the series.

Briscoe, who won last week’s race at Mid Ohio, ran second, with points leader Scott Dixon, who won the week before that at Texas, in third.

Helio Castroneves leads team mate Ryan Briscoe during the IRL IndyCar Rexall Edmonton Indy.  (Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)
Helio Castroneves leads team mate Ryan Briscoe during the IRL IndyCar Rexall Edmonton Indy. (Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)

There was some tension in the Andretti Green pits, as neither Marco Andretti nor Danica Patrick would let teammate Tony Kanaan pass in traffic—Kanaan was the only member of the team who had a chance to win the series, lying third coming into this race, while Danica sat sixth in points and Andretti, eighth.

After a full course yellow—third of the race—at lap 49, A.J. Foyt took the lead due to pit strategy. Tony Kanaan led at the restart, but spun in Turn One, giving up the lead. Kanaan was on a different refueling schedule than the rest of the team, and probably would have had to pit again before the end anyway.

ChampCar veteran Paul Tracy got a ride with Vision Racing; he took fourth in his first drive in an IndyCar Dallara/Honda  (Gavin Lawrence/Getty Images)
ChampCar veteran Paul Tracy got a ride with Vision Racing; he took fourth in his first drive in an IndyCar Dallara/Honda (Gavin Lawrence/Getty Images)

Ryan Briscoe was knocked back to seventeenth when a slower car knocked him off the track; he pitted and got enough fuel to finish the race.

Foyt lost the lead when maneuvering through traffic; while he was passing Mario Moraes, he had to slow a bit, ran a little wide, and Tiny Kanaan and Scott Dixon pushed through. Immediately after, EJ Viso rammed Graham Rahal, bring another yellow. This earned Viso a fifteen-second penalty.

Danica Patrick leads Tony Kanaan during the IRL IndyCar Series Rexall Edmonton Indy.  (Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)
Danica Patrick leads Tony Kanaan during the IRL IndyCar Series Rexall Edmonton Indy. (Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)

EJ Viso has a history of dangerous driving, and many drivers have lodged complaints.

Scott Dixon leads Enrique Bernoldi, Bruno Junquiera, Graham Rahall, and Dan Wheldon around the Rexall Speedway at the Edmonton City Centre Airport during the Rexall Edmonton Indy.  (Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)
Scott Dixon leads Enrique Bernoldi, Bruno Junquiera, Graham Rahall, and Dan Wheldon around the Rexall Speedway at the Edmonton City Centre Airport during the Rexall Edmonton Indy. (Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)

After everything sorted itself out by lap 70, the running order was Dixon, Castroneves, Wheldon, Orial Servia and Paul Tracy, with Briscoe eighth, and Tony Kanaan eleventh.

Briscoe was possibly the only driver in the top eight who had enough fuel to finish the race. Roger Penske is a legendary for devising effective race strategies, and this perhaps was a perfect example.

Dixon led by less than a second on lap 75, but Castroneves tried too hard to catch him, running too fast into Turn One and locking his front brakes. Castroneves didn’t lose any positions, but he lost too much time to catch Dixon by the end.

Then on lap 78, Marco Andretti, trying to pass Danica Patrick, rammed her left rear tire, pushing her off the course and damaging Andretti’s wing. This might have been an outgrowth of Danica’s refusal to let her teammates pass her.

In any case, this represented a very bad turn of events—infighting of this type hurts team morale and hurts all the drivers’ chances to succeed. This worked out well for Tony Kanaan, at least, as he gained two positions.

Edmonton would last either 95 laps or two hours, depending; since there were so many yellows, the race went to a timed finish, meaning that all the cars on the track had enough fuel. The cars that had gambled on making big advances via fuel strategy were out of luck.

When the checkered flag fell, it was Scott Dixon winning his first road course victory of the season.

Helio Castroneves finished second, followed by Justin Wilson. Paul Tracy took fourth in his first IndyCar race, and Servia finished fifth.

 

 

IndyCar Series Points Standing

Place

Driver

Points

Gap

Place

Driver

Points

Gap

1. 

Scott Dixon 

505 

0

6.

Danica Patrick

296

-209

2.

Helio Castroneves

440

-65

7.

Hideki Mutoh

286

-219

3.

Dan Wheldon

390

-115

8.

Oriol Servia

280

-225

4.

Tony Kanaan

387

-118

9.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

276

-229

5.

Ryan Briscoe

324

-181

10.

Marco Andretti

276

-229