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Franchitti wins Toronto Indycars.

Dario Franchitti held off Ryan Briscoe to claim his third win of the 2009 IndyCar Series season at the Honda Indy Toronto as the 'old guard' survived to ensure that there was no repeat of Justin Wilson's surprise victory from a week earlier.

While Franchitti appeared the most likely winner in the early stages, a botched pit-stop seemed to have doomed him to a mere points finish, while the likes of local favourites Alex Tagliani and Paul Tracy stepped up to hint at a second successive shock result. When things shook out, however, the top two had a familiar look, with second and third both recovering from early-race tyre problems to reach the podium.

In an 85-lap race that included something for everyone - passing, crashing, cheers and jeers - Franchitti led comfortably from pole, but front row partner Will Power found Graham Rahal too close to comfort on the run to the green, slicing his rear tyre and breaking the American's front wing. With one likely contender reduced to bringing up the rear, and Briscoe's challenge dented by picking up a puncture on the debris, Franchitti headed Tagliani and Robert Doornbos through the first round of pit-stops, with the second half of the field opting to stop early when Dan Wheldon and Richard Antinucci tangled.

However, when the leader came to make his stop - under green on lap 25 - the left rear refused to seat properly, dropping the Scot down to 15th and making the first possible upset more plausible, as Tagliani made his fuel last a further eight laps. The Conquest driver had the second Ganassi car on his tail initially but, when Scott Dixon peeled off for fuel and tyres, ran at the head of a 'home' 1-2, with Tracy having rattled off the passing moves - including seven on the opening lap alone - to rise from a disappointed 15th on the grid.

Tracy's KVRT team-mate Mario Moraes hit the front for a lap when Tagliani finally pitted, before his open stop allowed Tomas Scheckter - one of those to pit under yellow on lap ten - to assume control of the race for six laps before his strategy caught up with him and dropped him to 13th, allowing Helio Castroneves to give Penske a taste of the lead.

The Brazilian made his fuel stretch to lap 48 before having to stop, at which point Tagliani returned to the front for another dozen tours, again with Dixon and Tracy providing the closest opposition. The Conquest car made it to the next yellow before pitting, but the timing was wrong and 'Tag' was made to wait until the field had lined up behind the pace car before being able to peel off.

Franchitti, on the other hand, had received the break he was looking for, having already arrived on pit-road at the point when Rahal and Carpenter tangled, the Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver being pinched into the wall as he attempted to lap the wayward Vision car. Franchitti emerged in second place, behind Castroneves and retook the lead by capitalising on a rare mistake from the Brazilian at turn one on lap 65. From there, the Ganassi car was never headed again, Franchitti posting his fastest lap just two tours from home to emphasise his pace.

The victory was Franchitti's third of the season - and the eleventh of his IndyCar career - as well as Ganassi's sixth in the ten races run so far in 2009.

"I guess we timed it right with strategy," the winner admitted, "We really struggled towards the end in that first stint, as we really used up the reds. Then I got stuck behind some really slow cars in the middle stint - Moraes, in particular, didn't do the same thing twice in any corner. I just stayed out of his way, but I couldn't get past him.




Related Pictures

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Indy Racing League.10-12 July 2009. Honda Indy Toronto. Toronto, Ontarios, Canada. Race winner, Dario Franchitti.
Will Power celebrates with his team after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his team owner Roger Penske after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his wife Liz after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, makes a quick pit stop while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Brian Cleary/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by posing with the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by hoisting the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by kissing the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship with his wife Liz Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan celebrates with Chip Ganassi after winning the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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