IndyCar »

Hornish by nine thousandths in Chicagoland epic.

Panther Racing's Sam Hornish Jr beat Bryan Herta and Scott Dixon to the finish line by less than the length of a nose in what can only be described as a heart-stopping conclusion to Sunday's Delphi Indy 300.

After 199 laps of the 1.5-mile Chicagoland oval, Herta and Hornish Jr entered the final lap side by side, Hornish on his usual high line, the yellow Dallara-Chevrolet inches ahead of the multi-coloured Dallara-Honda.

Half way around the last lap, Herta had fought back and actually drew half a car length ahead of his adversary as the pair powered out of turn four, the shift in air flow at more than 220mph momentarily causing the two cars to interlock. A couple of centimetres either way and wheels would touch and the consequences would be unthinkable, but they judged it just right and the yellow car kept the momentum off turn and towards the flag stand and nearly 70,000 gasping fans.

But then, yards from the line, here was Scott Dixon's red and white Target G Force-Toyota, darting half a car's width below the white line after gaining a tremendous draft behind the leading pair. With Hornish already pinning Herta to the bottom of the racetrack and Dixon travelling faster than both of them, now all three cars interlocked as they crossed the line, centimetres away from disaster once again. But, once again, they judged it just right.

John Barnes and the rest of the Panther crew celebrated, with perhaps a little tinge of anger at their heroes decision to defect to Penske for next season. After all Gil de Ferran had only finished 12th and Helio Castroneves had suffered a gearbox failure 17 laps from home.

Dixon and the rest of the Target crew also celebrated, as their man had come within 0.0099-seconds of beating Hornish, and exactly one 0.0001 ahead of Herta, whose post race emotions were slightly less jovial after being the meat in a 220mph sandwich at the end.

Herta's Andretti-Green Racing teammate Dan Wheldon finished fourth and was the only other driver apart from Hornish who was able to stretch his fuel mileage long enough to allow him to pit under the third and final caution flag of the day on lap 186. Herta and Roger Yasukawa managed to scrape off pit road just as the final caution flag, to retrieve Castroneves' stopped car, flew. This elevated the American duo into the top two positions for the final restart of the day on lap 195 with Hornish and Wheldon third and fourth.

Dixon, and a host of others who pitted under green flag conditions, benefited from IRL series rules that insist the leader must be the first car to take the restart and were able to regain their lost lap, and this rule allowed the top 13 finishers to be covered by just 1.5-seconds at the fall of the chequered flag.

Behind Wheldon, Tomas Scheckter finished fifth after leading a bunch of laps with Tony Kanaan sixth, Alex Barron seventh for Eddie Cheever's Red Bull sponsored outfit, Yasukawa eighth, Tora Takagi ninth and Robbie Buhl tenth.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
AJ Foyt IV - AJ Foyt Enterprises G-Force-Toyota
Scott Dixon suring pre-season testing at Homestead. [IMS Photo Ron McQueeny]
Bryan Herta was named as Dario Franchitti`s replacement for the IRL events at Texas and Pikes Peak. [IMS Photo Ron McQueeny]
Ed Carpenter on track at Iowa (Photo by Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, races to a third-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, takes over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon won the pole and finished in fourth-place. Kanaan led for most of the race and finished third. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, took over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan lead the pack at the start of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Incident between Mikhail Aleshin and Takuma Sato bring out the first yellow flag of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Incident between Mikhail Aleshin and Takuma Sato bring out the first yellow flag of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan leads the field during the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The #28 Andretti Autosport team celebrates victory (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay gets a new ride (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The podium after the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The podium after the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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 - 2014 Crash Media Group

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