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Dixon opens '09 win account at Kansas.


With tornados contuining to be reported in the area, reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon produced a whirlwind performance to claim his first victory of 2009 in the Road Runner Turbo 300 at Kansas Speedway.

The Target Chip Ganassi driver made the most of his decent qualifying position to steer clear of incidents at the 1.5-mile oval and take the chequered flag 0.7104secs ahead of Helio Castroneves, who came from the very back to claim the runner-up spot.

Dixon's win was the third in a row at the track for a Ganassi driver, following on from back-to-back successes for former team-mate Dan Wheldon, and helps give the Kiwi a vital leg-up in the points after two tough street course outings in St Petersburg and Long Beach.

He entered the race only 17th in the standings, but the return to a short oval clearly suited him well. After starting fourth, Dixon passed polesitter Graham Rahal on lap eight and went on to lead 134 of the 200 scheduled laps before claiming his 17th career IndyCar victory.

The New Zealander did require a little luck, however, and caught the upside of a lap 153 caution caused by Ganassi team-mate Dario Franchitti making contact with the T3 SAFER Barrier, but the win - his first since Kentucky 2008 - moved him to fourth in the standings as he prepares to defend his Indianapolis 500 crown.

"I think we were expecting the race to be a lot more difficult as far as the wind conditions in turns three and four were concered - and maybe expected more cautions," Dixon remarked, "Our team was definitely talking about a lot of cautions and making sure we saved fuel.

"All-in-all, it was a pretty smooth race. We had a great car, jumped straight to second then, about ten laps later, got Graham when he slid up the track a bit in three and four. We got out front and started saving fuel.

"The Target car was really good all day, although we had a bit of a fumble in the pits, which dropped us back to third at one point and made it quite difficult to get past [Ryan] Briscoe. But I think we were trimmed to win, as they say. The car was maybe not as good as it should have been in traffic but, luckily enough, we were saving enough fuel and caught the caution that catapulted us to the front."

Castroneves, meanwhile, nearly duplicated his back-to-front victory from last September at Chicagoland. In that race, the Brazilian won after starting 28th and, this time, he worked his way up from 21st to second. The Brazilian, however, had to survive contact with Vitor Meira early on that could easily have damaged his Penske entry.


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Related Pictures

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Indy Racing League. 24-25 Feb. 2009. IRL Homestead Test.  Homestead Internation Raceway. Homestead, Florida. Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal.
Scott Dixon rolls out of pitlane during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway poses for pictures with the team from Ed Carpenter Racing after victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway (centre), driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory with champagne Sunday, April 13, 2014 after winning the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. Will Power (right), driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, finished second. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 13, 2014 during the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. With the victory, Conway moves into second place in the driver point standings. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 13, 2014 during the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. With the victory, Conway moves into second place in the driver point standings. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, raises his arm as he crosses the finish line Sunday, April 13, 2014 to win the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. With the victory, Conway moves into second place in the driver point standings. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 finished third. (Photo by LAT/ Russell LaBounty for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 finished third. (Photo by LAT/ Russell LaBounty for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 finished third. (Photo by LAT/ Russell LaBounty for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 finished third. (Photo by LAT/ Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Start of the race. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Start of the race. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Fans watch the racing (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Takuma Sato, Mike Conway, Will Power, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan, Takuma Sato, Mike Conway, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet Racing introduces the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Indianapolis 500 pace car Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive the Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the race on May 25. It’s the eighth time a Camaro has been the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. (Photo Courtesy of IMS Photography for Chevy Racing)
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