Dixon completes Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader sweep

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Scott Dixon has his third straight win of the IZOD IndyCar Series season, and completed a sweep of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on the Exhibition Place street circuit. For the sweep, he also takes home a $100,000 bonus from SONAX, which created the “Perfect Finish Award” for a driver who could win both races of a doubleheader weekend.

The win is Dixon’s 32nd of his illustrious career, moving him ahead of a three-way tie between his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti, Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais for seventh all-time in American open-wheel racing.

“Once again, I want to thank everyone for coming out today,” Dixon said in victory lane. “Toronto fans are something special. A little hotter today. The race was a little faster pace today, so we were definitely trying to hang on there. I think it’s been since, ’03 or ’08, I don’t know, since we’ve had that kind of run. I’m just so happy for the team. Second place in the points now. What a turnaround in a couple of weeks. It’s a big difference.”

Dixon’s hot streak has propelled him into second in points, just 29 behind Helio Castroneves. Castroneves finished second for Team Penske while Bourdais took home his second podium of the weekend for Dragon Racing in third place.

“The car was better today. They were in a different league, Scott and Ganassi guys. I was pushing. Whatever he is taking for breakfast, I want it. Scott, tell me what you’re having for breakfast. Let’s be realistic: The guy was leading the whole race, 13 seconds ahead,” said Castroneves.

Dario Franchitti and E.J. Viso rounded out the top five. Charlie Kimball, Mike Conway, Justin Wilson, Marco Andretti and Alex Tagliani completed the top 10. That’s Tagliani’s first top-10 finish since the St. Petersburg season opener in March.

The race ended under caution after Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power made contact on the exit of Turn 1, with Power and RHR’s collision putting the American into the tire barriers. Takuma Sato, who seems to have a magnetic attraction to Hunter-Reay of late, had nowhere to go and went into the back of him.

After a successful first standing start, it had been a caution-free first 64 laps before James Jakes’ accident at Turn 5, and a later accident in the same corner by Ed Carpenter with five laps to go set up the final restart. Unfortunately, the Sunday race ended under yellow for the second year running with that final contretemps.

Teammates James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens earn top-fives at Barber

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For the first time this season, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammates James Hinchcilffe and Robert Wickens earned top-five finishes in the same race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

Hinchcliffe finished third in the Grand Prix of Alabama; Wickens was one spot behind in fourth.

Wickens had one previous podium at Phoenix with his second-place finish. Hinchcliffe’s best result was a fourth in the season-opener in St Petersburg, Fla., so this marked his first podium of the year.

Both drivers needed a little help from the rain.

As precipitation began to fall in the closing stages of the race, Hinchliffe asked his team on a couple of occasions if it was wet enough to pit for rain tires. He was told twice to stay out and was then called into to the pits at the optimal time.

“Solid weekend for us after coming here before – not a great test,” Hinchcliffe said. “Two cars in the top 10 qualifying; two cars, top five in the race. Pretty proud of these boys, everybody on the Arrow car.”

The rain helped Wickens’ race strategy come together.

“I was having to save a lot of fuel in that second stint,” Wickens said. “So once (Scott) Dixon starting getting close to me I was thinking ‘Oh God, I’m going to actually have to give this one up.’ And then the rain came, so the fuel mileage happened naturally. So, yeah, it saved us a bit.”

And while both were pleased with their top-five finishes, drivers are rarely satisfied unless they are standing on the top step of the podium.

Wickens’ top-five finish was hard-fought. After winning the pole at St Petersburg and starting sixth at Phoenix, he failed to advance to the Fast 6 in back-to-back races at Long Beach and Barber – qualifying 10th both times.

“I was a little gutted that we came out in a big bunch of traffic,” Wickens continued. “It made the race fun, but a little frustrating as well because of people off sequence and whatnot. We lost a lot of track position there. Both of us could have been fighting for higher steps on the podium, but we need to do a little better job in qualifying. “