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Dixon, Castroneves take grid penalties for title decider

Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves will both serve ten-place grid penalties for this weekend's title decider at Fontana, after deciding fresh engines are more crucial than starting position.
Title contenders Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves are among the competitors who will take a ten-place grid penalty for early engine changes ahead of Saturday night's 2013 season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

With the two men the only drivers still mathematically able to win the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series championship, the the private title battle is focus for both of them going into this week's 500-mile endurance event at the two-mile, low-banked oval superspeedway. To that end, the Ganassi and Penske teams have decided that having a fresh engine that will last the night is more important than a ten-place grid penalty that will be quickly overcome.

Other drivers who will also incur engine change penalties for the race are AJ Foyt Racing's Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing's Josef Newgarden and Dragon Racing's Sebastian Saavedra. More teams may still opt to make changes ahead of this weekend's floodlit race.

Dixon starts with the advantage of a 25 point lead over Castroneves, who had a terrible time of it at Houston in the most recent doubleheader event at Houston. Dixon finished in third place last year at Fontana, and finished as runner-up in 2003. He also won here in 2000 when competing in Indy Lights. Castroneves was fifth at Fontana in 2012, matching his previous best performance at the venue.

Houston crash investigation still ongoing

IndyCar Series CEO Mark Miles has said that the review into the events at Houston - which began with track surface issues that disrupted the doubleheader event's schedule on Friday and Saturday, and culminated with a major accident for Dario Franchitti on the last lap of the race on Sunday - was still ongoing.

"I wouldn't even call it an investigation; it's more of a review of what happened," Miles told The Associated Press. "[We] are looking at it to look at everything that didn't go as we wanted it to go."

Franchitti suffered a concussion, bruised ribs, two broken vertebrae and a fracture to his right ankle in the accident. Now back in Indianapolis, Franchitti underwent his second round of surgery on the ankle on Monday to repair the talus bone.

“Dr Tim Weber repaired Dario's ankle and his surgery went perfectly and just as planned," reported Dr Terry Trammel, IndyCar's orthopedic consultant. "His post-operation x-rays looked great. Everything is positive at this point as Dario continues his recovery." Franchitti was reported to be "resting comfortably" after the three-hour procedure.

As well as Franchitti, a number of fans were slightly injured by debris that broke through the catchfence when the #10 Ganassi was launched into the air over the back of Takuma Sato's car.




Related Pictures

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Tony Kanaan running in final practice under the floodlights on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway - June 7, 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media.)
Marco Andretti goes through turn 1 at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, July 6 2013.(Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Derrick Walker is announced as president of IndyCar operations and competition by Hulman & Co CEO Mark Miles. May 13 2013. (Photo Credit: Walter Kuhn for IndyCar Media)
Dario Franchitti pictured at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center in Houston with his dogs. (Photo Credit: Marino Franchitti and Chip Ganassi Racing)
Helio Castroneves. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media.)
Scott Dixon during practice for the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston on Friday, October 4 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Chevy Racing sweeps the podium with race winner Sebastien Bourdais (center), driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the first of two IndyCar Series races in Toronto, Canada. Second-place finisher Helio Castroneves (left), driver of the #3 PPV Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, and third-place finisher Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, join the celebration. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the first of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, races to a third-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, takes over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon won the pole and finished in fourth-place. Kanaan led for most of the race and finished third. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, took over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan lead the pack at the start of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Briscoe (left), driver of the #8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, talks with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, during qualifying Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Briscoe qualified fourth, Kanaan second and teammate Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 won the pole. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 celebrates winning the pole Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon will start in the front row with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, who qualified second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 wins the pole Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon will start in the front row with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, who qualified second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
The eyes of Scott Dixon look down track prior to practice for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)

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