IndyCar »

Chicago to decide IndyCar title.

The IndyCar Series champion will be crowned at Chicagoland Speedway for the third consecutive season as Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves take their increasingly close battle down to the wire on Sunday.

Dixon leads the standings by a seemingly impenetrable 30 points but, as Castroneves has shown in the last two races, he is far from giving up on his dream of a first title, having slashed the Kiwi's advantage from 78 just two races ago.

Neither driver has won at the 1.5-mile oval, but Dixon has finished second three times in five starts there, including last year's finale, when he ran out of fuel in the final turn of the final lap, allowing recently-confirmed 2009 team-mate Dario Franchitti to slide by and take the crown. Castroneves, meanwhile, has three consecutive top-four finishes at Chicagoland, including a second place in 2005, but his average finish in six starts is 7.3, while Dixon, over the same number of events, can boast a marginally better record of 6.4.

Too close to call? Maybe, but Dixon will point to his dominance on 1.5-mile ovals this season, having Dixon has built his lead in the championship with a record-tying six victories, including wins from the pole on the 1.5-mile ovals at Homestead-Miami, Texas and Kentucky. He also finished third on the 1.5-mile ovals at Motegi and Kansas and, over those five races, has led 522 of 1028 laps a shade over fifty per cent.

"I think Chicago's going to be very tough," the Ganassi man insisted, "It's a tough circuit - one of those that provide great racing - and is definitely nail-biting for a championship race, which is exactly what the fans want and everybody that's watching. I guess they'll definitely get that.

"I think, for me, it's been a mixed bag in [terms] of how we've done there and things like that. To never have won there is definitely frustrating, so we're hoping that we can definitely turn that around this weekend. But there's a lot of other people that are going to be trying to do the same thing.

"The mile-and-a-half ovals throughout this year have been very tough, with almost ten more cars on the track than we had last year. If you make any little mistake, it makes it that much worse, so we still have to finish extremely well. But I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait to get there."

Castroneves has dogged the Kiwi all season, cutting 48 points from his deficit in the past two races despite losing his primary car - and his favourite seat - to a transporter fire ahead of the Infineon Raceway round two weekends ago. The Brazilian is the only driver with 14 top-five finishes in the season's first 16 races, but only earned his first victory of 2008 at Infineon, as his Penske team bounced back from adversity in eh best possible fashion. Including last weekend in Detroit, he also has a record eight second-place finishes, which have gone a long way to keeping him in touch with Dixon.

"I still think we've got a sizable lead," Dixon claimed, "It's definitely a lot better than last year's situation, where we went in trailing by about three points. Having a 30-point lead, Helio has to win the race, get most laps led, while we have to finish eighth or worse for him to win it. It's a lot for him to do.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Indy Racing League.  29-31 August 2008, Detroit Grand Prix. Belle Isle.  Detroit, Michigan. Championship contenders, Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves with trophy.
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi Indy Car [credit: IndyCar TV Twitter]
Will Power Texas
Charlie Kimball
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones feature
IndyCar, Dallara 2018 chassis, [Credit: IndyCar]
Graham Rahal Detroit celebration
Detroit IndyCar race start
Detroit IndyCar Andretti RHR
Esteban Gutierrez IndyCar Detroit
Graham Rahal Detroit IndyCar 2017
Takuma Sato Detroit IndyCar
Graham Rahal Detroit
Detroit Indy Conor Daly

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.