Another sign of how parity has taken hold of the IZOD IndyCar Series this season: Today’s first race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit marked the first time this year that both Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers have collected Top-10 results in the same race.
Scott Dixon had to overcome an early incident with A.J. Allmendinger in order to grab a fourth-place finish, while Dario Franchitti was steady in a sixth-place effort.
Dixon, who led wire-to-wire in last year’s shortened race on Belle Isle, found trouble on the opening lap when Allmendinger climbed over the side of his No. 9 Honda en route to hitting the Turn 4 tire barriers. Dixon was forced to come to pit road for a new rear wing, and he returned to the pits again just two laps later for a fuel-only stop.
It helped make for a long day for Dixon, but he was still able to come away with his third Top-5 of the season after hounding third-place finisher Justin Wilson for the last spot on the podium all the way to the finish.
“I got to the back of the field there twice and had to drive through it,” said Dixon, who goes off ninth in tomorrow’s second Dual race. “…The pace of the race was very high. It felt like it was qualifying all over again almost every lap.
“Earlier on, it was a bit funky in the middle there with people trying to set a pace, but the front runners were definitely going. I’ll definitely be getting plenty of rest tonight.”
Franchitti had a good first stint, jumping three positions on the first lap of the race and moving up to fourth by the time he made his first stop on Lap 25. But on a restart at Lap 39, Franchitti fell from third to sixth in one lap and was unable to move any farther for the rest of the afternoon.
“Helio [Castroneves] got down the inside of us and locked up his tires and I had to go wide to avoid him,” Franchitti said about that particular restart. “From there, it was just a case of coming back through the field. The team did a bit of strategy and I was trying to make some passes there.
“I have to say the car was very fast. It was just a matter of getting some clear track to make things happen. It was a good team effort today. We need to make a few changes for tomorrow to see if we can improve things.”
Franchitti’s sixth-place effort is his best since finishing fourth in April at Long Beach.