As the second half of this year’s Verizon IndyCar Series season has progressed, Chip Ganassi Racing has been getting back toward its usual, front-running form.
Tony Kanaan has led CGR’s resurgence with three consecutive podium finishes (third at Iowa, third and second at Toronto). Now, the series heads this weekend for Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where CGR has been undefeated since 2009.
Just as Andretti Autosport practically owns the deed to Iowa Speedway, so it goes for CGR at the old-school road course in the Ohio countryside.
With the Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio coming up on Sunday (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra), now seems a good time to look back on CGR’s half-decade of dominance at this particular track.
2009 – Dixon makes history
Ganassi’s win streak at Mid-Ohio began in 2009, when Scott Dixon earned his 20th Verizon IndyCar Series victory and broke a tie with Sam Hornish Jr. for the series’ all-time wins record.
Justin Wilson had been in hot pursuit of Dixon in mid-race, but Wilson’s bid for victory halted when he stalled his car on a late-race stop. Dixon went unchallenged for the remainder of the race and won by 29.7 seconds over Ryan Briscoe (then with Team Penske).
2010 – Dario shuts down Power
After Dario Franchitti beat Will Power out of the pits on Lap 60 of 85, they engaged in a duel to the finish following a restart with 15 laps to go. But despite Power’s best efforts across the hilly circuit, Franchitti was able to hold on by just a little more than half a second.
The win was Franchitti’s first and only victory at Mid-Ohio throughout his legendary driving career.
2011 – Dixon wins from the pole
After James Hinchcliffe gave up the lead to pit on Lap 53, Dixon and Franchitti followed suit a few laps later. Then a caution involving Graham Rahal and Danica Patrick came out, setting up a restart at Lap 60 in which Dixon took the lead from Franchitti with an inside move.
That proved to be the turning point of the race, as Dixon went on to earn his second win in three years at Mid-Ohio.
2012 – Late pit stop all the difference for Dixon
On the tightest pit road in all of the Verizon IndyCar Series, Dixon was able to get by Power for the lead when they pitted together on Lap 57 of 85.
When Dixon got to the point, he pulled away to a gap of several seconds and retained it for the rest of the afternoon, beating Power by 3.4 seconds at the stripe.
2013 – Kimball scores his first IndyCar win
With 17 laps to go, American driver Charlie Kimball passed Simon Pagenaud for the lead and went on to earn his first IndyCar checkered flag one day after crashing his car in a practice session.
The win marked a breakthrough for Kimball, who had been the most unheralded driver in IndyCar’s rookie class of 2011 but had made steady improvements in his race craft leading up to his big moment.