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Monday, May 2, 2016

Dixon wins at Kansas Speedway

Sunday, April 26, 2009

By JOHN MARSHALL

AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Scott Dixon took advantage of Ryan Briscoe's tough-luck pit stop with 47 laps left, then held off Helio Castroneves down the stretch to win the Road Runner Turbo Indy 500 on Sunday.

Briscoe led for 54 laps when he decided to go into the pits for tires and fuel. Just as he crossed into the pits, Dario Franchitti slammed into the wall, sending up the caution flag. Track officials didn't allow Briscoe to stop and he lost position, returning to the track in fourth after pitting with the rest of the field.

Dixon took advantage of Briscoe's bad break, using a quick stop to beat Castroneves out of the pits for the lead. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver kept up the momentum, cruising to his 17th career IndyCar victory and first at the 1.5-mile oval at Kansas Speedway.

Tony Kanaan finished third and Briscoe ended up fourth, leaving team owner Roger Penske furious.

"He went into the pits before it went yellow, then they said we couldn't work on the car," he said. "I've never seen anything like it in my life. We were in the pits before it went yellow, so I think the officials really have to take a look at that. It may have cost us the race."

Dixon had a tough start to the season, finishing 16th and 15th on the road courses in St. Petersburg and Long Beach after decent qualifying runs in the IRL's first two races. He qualified fourth at Kansas and was steady all day, leading 138 laps in windy conditions to win 11th career oval race.

Now, he figures to be one of the favorites in next month's Indianapolis 500.

Weather was an issue all weekend.

Strong winds hampered practice and qualifying, and a strong line of storms Saturday afternoon wiped out the NASCAR trucks race and produced a tornado a few miles from the track.

Another line of storms moved toward the track Sunday afternoon, but didn't arrive until after the race. The wind was still a factor, steady at 25 mph, gusting to 35 to make the drivers feel like they were trying to maneuver big rigs around Kansas Speedway.

Castroneves didn't seem to be bothered by the wind, making the biggest move of the race.

The Andretti Green Racing driver had the third-fastest qualifying speed on Saturday, but was sent to the back of the field for dipping below the white line. Castroneves worked his way through the field early in the race, only to suffer front-end damage from slamming into the back of Vitor Meira, who had to lift off the gas to avoid another car.

The Brazilian needed two pit stops to fix the damage during the caution, then started working his way toward the front. Castroneves moved into second after Franchitti's wreck, but couldn't ever catch Dixon.



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