Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon is now only one step away from helping secure American chassis manufacturer Panoz G-Force's 2003 IRL IndyCar Series 'double', having taken a second successive runners-up spot to Sam Hornish Jr.

The Georgia-based organisation set a target of winning the 2003 Indy 500 and IRL Championships prior the commencement of the season, and Dixon's second place at Fontana has moved him into a share of the points lead with Helio Castroneves with only race remaining.

With this year's Indianapolis 500 victory already secured thanks to Gil de Ferran and Team Penske's decision to run a G-Force as opposed to their regular Dallara, a strong showing by Dixon at the final round of the championship at Texas Motor Speedway on 12 October could clinch the 'double'.

"Scott did an outstanding job today and he really deserves the chance he has to take the title," Panoz G-Force sales director John Biddlecombe said, "Our car has always been strong at Texas - Tomas Scheckter took pole there for the night race earlier this year and the Ganassi team took a win last season with Jeff Ward.

"Anything could happen at the last race, but the aim for Panoz G-Force was always to win the 500 and the title. Now we could be only one race away from making it happen."

Dixon took the runner-up spot behind Hornish for the second time in two weeks, while Ganassi team-mate Scheckter took fifth place after leading more than 100 laps.

"Team Target did great stops - I think that's what sort of helped us toward the end," Dixon said, "We just sat at the back of the lead pack for most of the race, made sure we stayed in contact and saved fuel. I think it paid off toward the end when we were able to run those two extra laps and get some good speed.

"Things are still up in the air with the championship. Everybody is going to be pushing towards the end. It's going to be tough. Gil, I guess, is still mathematically in it, so he's still got a chance, but it's going to be tough, no matter what."

Dixon now shares the points lead with Castroneves on 467 points ahead of Tony Kanaan on 460, Hornish on 448 and de Ferran on 437.

 

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