Jun 4, 2012
Maximum points acquired by Scott Dixon in winning the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix from the pole have further tightened the IZOD IndyCar Series championship race for the second consecutive week.
Dixon, a two-time series champion, jumped to second in the standings after six events with the 50 points for his first victory of the season plus three bonus points for the pole start and leading the most laps. Power, who finished fourth in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, had taken a 36-advantage over teammate Helio Castroneves and James Hinchcliffe of Andretti Autosport into the event.
He carries a 26-point lead into the Firestone 550 on June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway, with Castroneves falling 55 points back after finishing 17th at Belle Isle because of contact on Lap 48 of 60 while running fifth.
Click it: Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix box score
There are 10 races left, including the next three on divergent ovals – the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas track, the relatively flat Milwaukee Mile on June 16 and the .875-mile Iowa Speedway on June 23.
“There's no doubt that the last two weekends have been a big jump for us in the championship, and I think team morale,” said Dixon, who was runner-up to Target Chip Ganassi teammate Dario Franchitti a week earlier in the Indianapolis 500.
“We go into every weekend to try our best and we try to achieve the maximum that we can. I'll continue on and hopefully we can ride a bit of a wave. Will has still got a fairly decent lead. So second and (Franchitti) fourth in the championship now for us, we are not out of reach. That's the main thing. We still have a fighting chance and I think between Team Target and Honda, we are definitely going to be pushing as hard as we can.”
Power, who has finished second to Franchitti in the championship the past two years, had won the previous three road/street course races.
“There is plenty to learn from (the Belle Isle race) to come back better next week,” he said. “We are still leading the championship and I’m looking forward to getting back on the ovals.”
Each of the top four in the standings have won at Texas Motor Speedway -- Dixon in 2008, Power in 2011 (his first oval victory in the second of the doubleheader races), Castroneves in 2009, ’06 and ’04, and Franchitti in the first race of the doubleheader last year. Dixon was the runner-up in both 2011 races at the track.
Sixteen of Dixon’s 28 IZOD IndyCar Series wins have been on ovals.