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Dario Franchitti wins IRL title at Homestead

Briscoe and Dixon then pulled away from the Scot over the next 35 laps, with Australian leading New Zealander by 0.1850secs on lap 187. Franchitti was the only other car on the lead lap, but was by now some 23.8841secs behind Briscoe.

However, both frontrunners were forced to pit for fuel in the last eight laps - Dixon on lap 192 and Briscoe on lap 194 - while Franchitti was able to stretch his fuel over the last 50 laps for his fifth victory of the season, a career best. His average speed was 201.420mph, the second-fastest race in series history, as IndyCar enjoyed its first ever caution-free race.

"I can't believe it," Franchitti, who becomes only the third driver to win multiple IRL-sanctioned championships after Dixon and Sam Hornish Jr, admitted, "Like 2007, I just had to try to save some fuel and stay on strategy - and it just worked out.

"The Target car wasn't great early that first stint, but [crew chief] Chris [Simmons] and the boys made some changes. From the second stint on, we were right there, but we had lost so much ground. We were saving fuel, sticking to our strategy, and the car was really good at the end.

"A win is a win but, on the cool-down lap, I was thinking of my buddy Greg. I was in a championship fight ten years ago, but it didn't matter because we lost him. This one is for him. It's been a hell of a year for the Target boys - and I've got to thank Chip [Ganassi] for giving me a job."

It's the third time in series history that team-mates have finished 1-2 in the series standings, after AGR twice achieved the feat, in 2004 and '05. The margin between Franchitti and Dixon, at eleven points, was the third-closest margin, while twelve points separating the top three finishers is similarly close.

"At the start of the race, I didn't think it would be wise to go out and burn a lot of fuel - it ended being the fact and coming true," Dixon sighed, "You just have to take it on the chin and come back and try again next year. At the end of the year, you'd think the fastest car is going to win but, several times, it hasn't been. I think Briscoe and I had a pretty good race going on, but we got what we got."

"It's pretty frustrating," Briscoe echoed, "It was one of the best races I've ever run, and I just hate that it came down to fuel strategy. It's a whole championship. Dario has been great all year long, so congrats to him, but it's hurts. I thought it was going to be between me and Scott, definitely, but I guess the #10 car had the advantage."

Almost unnoticed, Tony Kanaan came through to claim fourth place, ahead of Helio Castroneves, Hideki Mutoh, Mario Moraes, leading rookie Lloyd, Tomas Scheckter and Justin Wilson.

"It was a long race, and it looks like those three guys were in another league," Kanaan said of the championship contenders, "We did what we could, the car was okay, but it was just not fast enough, so I guess we'll take the fourth place. After the season that we had, to finish up with a top four, it is what it is."



Related Pictures

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Dario Franchitti - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IRL/Jones]
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)
Tony Kanaan celebrates with Chip Ganassi after winning the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan takes a selfie with his Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew in Victory Lane following the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Chip Ganassi congratulates Tony Kanaan on winning the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday August 30 2014 (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon and the #9 Target Chip Ganassi team celebrate after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 24, 2014, winning the IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 24, 2014, winning the IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag Sunday, August 24, 2014 to win the IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 24, 2014, winning the IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power (center), driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 with second-place finisher Juan Pablo Montoya (left), driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, and Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Huggies Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon (right), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 3, 2014 during the IndyCar Series race at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio. Sebastien Bourdais (left), driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, finished second. It`s Dixon`s first victory of the season. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 celebrates his victory Sunday, August 3, 2014 during the IndyCar Series race at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio. It`s Dixon`s first victory of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 celebrates his victory Sunday, August 3, 2014 during the IndyCar Series race at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio. It`s Dixon`s first victory of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon and the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing team celebrate victory in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course on Sunday August 3 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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stephen - Unregistered

October 11, 2009 12:22 AM

Fantastic news for Dario, superb, so happy for him. The boy done Scotland good. Nice to see him pay tribute to another great driver Greg Moore, one of my favourites, can't believe it's ten years already



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