Kelli Stavast travels to the Hendrick Motorsports shop in Concord, NC, to speak with Greg Ives, who was named yesterday as the replacement for Steve Letarte as crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #88 car, starting next season. Ives is currently crew chief for Chase Elliott, who is leading this season’s Nationwide Series
Current Dale Jr. crew chief, Steve Letarte, calls in from Pocono Raceway to discuss the hiring of his replacement Greg Ives. He’ll explain what input he had in the decision, the qualities he liked in Ives and how he expects Ives and Jr. to get along
Natalie Sather caught up with Darrell Wallace Jr. yesterday at the Kyle Busch Motorsports shop in Mooresville, NC, to talk about his Eldora win last Wednesday, the third Trucks Series win of his career.
Stavast also caught up with Kevin Harvick on Monday to discuss his season so far and he looks ahead to this weekend’s race in Pocono.
That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.
The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.
In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.
But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.
Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.
On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.
“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.
Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.
Also on this date:
1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.
2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.