Dixon wins Indy Japan, Power reclaims points lead
Motegi, Japan (Sports Network) - Scott Dixon put on a dominating performance to win Sunday's Indy Japan, while Will Power reclaimed the championship lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series with a second-place finish at Twin Ring Motegi.
Dixon started on the pole and led all but one of the 63 laps around the 2.983- mile, 14-turn road course. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver finished 3.4 seconds ahead of Power for his second win of the season and the 27th of his IndyCar career.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Team Target; they gave me a fantastic car," Dixon said. "In some sections of the race, I was just cruising trying to save fuel. We had great pit stops and fuel strategy, and everything was flawless."
Dixon won on the 1.5-mile Motegi oval in 2009. This year's race was to be held on the oval, but the track sustained damage from the devastating earthquake that hit Japan on March 11, making it unsuitable for racing.
Power now holds an 11-point lead over two-time defending series champion Dario Franchitti. Kentucky and Las Vegas are the last two races on the schedule. Both of those tracks are 1.5-mile ovals.
"It was a good day for us points-wise in the championship, but I'm really not worried about points right now," Power said. "I just need to keep finishing in front of the 10 car [Franchitti] the rest of the way, and we'll be fine. We'll keep chipping away like we have been."
Power also captured the Mario Andretti Trophy for winning this year's road/street course championship. It's the second straight year the Team Penske driver has won the honors.
Franchitti came to Japan with a five-point advantage over Power. Just after a restart on lap 26, Franchitti swung to the right and made contact with the right-rear of Ryan Briscoe's car, triggering an accident in turn one. Graham Rahal was also caught up in the incident.
Race officials assessed an avoidable contact penalty against Franchitti, which put him 25th in the field at the time. The Ganassi driver rallied for an eighth-place finish. He started in the ninth position.
"The incident was totally my mistake," Franchitti said. "I did a lot hard work to get from ninth to fifth, and I had been saving fuel the whole first stint. I made a risky move on the restart. I thought there was a gap, and Ryan was going wide on the entry and that was that. It was just a stupid move."
Marco Andretti finished third, followed by Alex Tagliani and Oriol Servia.
Sebastien Bourdais took the sixth spot, and rookie J.R. Hildebrand was seventh. Mike Conway and Takuma Sato from Japan completed the top-10.
Danica Patrick finished 11th after starting 23rd on the grid. Patrick's first and only IndyCar win so far came at the 1.5-mile Motegi oval in April 2008.
09/18 07:58:34 ET