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.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.