Saturday, October 10, 2009

Indycar: Dario Franchitti wins Homestead, becomes 2009 Indycar Champion

The third leader in the Indycar championship through the past three races, Franchitti struck just in time to snatch the lead spot in the 2009 standings.

In a race that lasted just under 1 hour and 29 minutes, the Firestone Indy 300 ran caution free. As the green flag fell, the top 3 qualifiers, who are also the top 3 in the Indycar championship, set a blazing pace early to lap the entire field before the 1/3 distance mark. The fight was between Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, and Ryan Briscoe as they jockeyed through the podium positions. Franchitti's race-winning move was conserving his ethanol fuel throughout the race. While Dixon late with Briscoe in tow, both cars needed late race fuel refills allowing the #10 car of Franchitti to victor in the crucial battle to win by 4.78 seconds over his Target Chip Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon. The win by Franchitti allowed him to score 15 points over Dixon to win the 2009 IRL Indycar series championship by 10 points. Ryan Briscoe finished just one point behind Dixon in his Team Penske race car likely to be haunted by the mishap at the Twin-Ring Motegi round in Japan.

Without any cautions, the circuits around the Homestead-Miami Speedway oval made this short race seem extremely long driver and teams 4th place on back. Marco Andretti had has #26 car running respectably enough to hold 'the best of the rest' honours through the early stages of the Homestead event. Holding fourth place, mechanical misfortunes bit the third-generation Andretti racer at lap 58. His Andretti-Green teammate Danica Patrick also had a rough outing scored 19th and 15 laps down in her #7 car. Following the act of the fierce championship fight, Tony Kannan and Helio Castroneves crossed the line one lap down.

In another season-totaling championship, Rookie of the year was given to Raphael Matos. Arriving from the Firestone Indy Lights as the 2008 points winner, the talented Brazilian displayed remarkable potential on both ovals and road courses. The be crowned Indycar's lead rookie for 2009 with a 14th place finish in Homestead, Matos overran his nearest freshman rival Mike Conway.

In the end, this scenario played closely to Dario Franchitti first Indycar championship in 2007. On the final lap, Franchitti (than driving for Andretti-Green Racing) inherited a win and the championship from, ironically enough, Scott Dixon.

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