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Franchitti wins in Iowa


Dario Franchitti went some way to restoring the reputation of Chip Ganassi's alternate livery cars by winning the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at the wheel of the TomTom-backed Dallara.

The Scot is now two-for-two at Iowa Speedway - having won the inaugural race there in 2007 and finding his way back to victory lane by winning Sunday's race by 5.0132secs over Ryan Briscoe - and gave the credit to his crew, which turned in a quick pit-stop on lap 196 of 250 as the leaders cycled through green flag stops.

Franchitti trailed Briscoe by less than a second as the stops began and led by more than a second when they were completed. As the drivers worked through lapped traffic over the final 50 laps, Franchitti was able to build his lead to a comfortable margin.

"I like driving here," the Scot admitted, after making up for his failure to win in Energizer colours in Texas, "We tested at Iowa last Wednesday, and the Target guys did a really, really good job coming up with a set-up - and they were awesome in the pits. I just went out, did my job and hung on, made some good moves in traffic and here we are. More than anywhere, today is a team win because those pit-stops moved us up in track position."

The 2007 series champion's second victory of the season moved him to within three points of Briscoe, who remains the IndyCar Series points leader but, for the third consecutive race, the Australian had to content himself with lead the most laps after a potential victory went elsewhere.

"It was a great day for Team Penske, but Dario had a bit more than us when on cold tyres," said Briscoe, who becomes the first driver to retain the points lead for more than one race at a time, "On the restarts, he was a bit better than us, but we were quickest throughout the middle of the stint, and I was hoping I would be able to catch him in traffic, but he just got a bit more luck with those guys and actually opened up the gap. It was a tough one, but a great day. The car was awesome. We had to make a bit of changes on the first pit-stop, but from there the car was great."

Andretti Green Racing's Hideki Mutoh finished third, one spot lower than his career-best finish at the same track last year, but better off than all his more vaunted team-mates, who either ended up a lap down or, in Tony Kanaan's case, in the wall.

"I was hoping to be one step up on the podium, and this is one step down, but it's still a podium finish, so I'm happy," the Japanese ace admitted, "The Formula Dream team gave me a very good car, and it seems like Iowa is my favourite track because of the results. Maybe it should be."

Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon finished fourth as the top four finishers came from different teams, the Briton fending off a determined challenge from reigning series champion Scott Dixon.




Related Pictures

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Indy Racing League. 20-21 June 2009. Iowa Corn 250.  Iowa Speedway. Newton, Iowa USA. Race winner, Dario Franchitti.
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)
Ryan Hunter-Reay sits in his car during a rain delay at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay waits on pitlane prior to practice at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay with an early pit stop during the Pocono INDYCAR 500 (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves leads Ryan Briscoe (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag as he races to victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Race winner Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates with Helio Castroneves and Carlos Munoz on the podium after the Pocono IndyCar 500. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
The damaged front wing of the race-winning car. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Race winner Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after the Pocono IndyCar 500. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Race winner Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after the Pocono IndyCar 500. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Race winner Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after the Pocono IndyCar 500. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

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