INDYCAR NEWS AND NOTES – July 15, 2013

By Official Release On Tue, Jul. 16, 2013

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Today’s IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:

 1.      Toronto sweep nets Dixon big pay day, points haul

 2.      Briscoe has successful surgery on injured wrist

 3.       Inside the numbers – Honda Indy Toronto 2 in T.O.

1. Toronto sweep nets Dixon big pay day, points haul: Becoming the active Indy car leader with 32 victories is something that Scott Dixon will reflect on after the IZOD IndyCar Series season.

Through the finale Oct. 19 at Auto Club Speedway, he’ll be focused on securing his third series championship.

Dixon, who was seventh in the standings (92 points behind front-runner Helio Castroneves) following the June 23 race at Iowa Speedway, has vaulted into second (29 points arrears of Castroneves) courtesy of victories at Pocono on July 7 and sweeping the July 13-14 Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader.

The run tied Mario Andretti’s streak of three race wins in eight days (July 30 to Aug. 6, 1968, which included Langhorne, Pa., and a doubleheader at St. Jovite, Quebec). Al Unser won four consecutive races in eight days in July 1969 (a doubleheader at Indianapolis Raceway Park and a doubleheader at Langhorne), and the total was five in a row with a win July 13 at Nazareth, Pa.

“It’s nice to put a little pressure on Helio, and hopefully we can keep that going,” said Dixon, whose next opportunity to gain on the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner is Aug. 4 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Dixon has won the past two years at the 2.258-mile road course and four times overall.

“Helio has had a pretty stress-free year as far as not being involved in accidents or having mechanicals,” continued Dixon, who also had a three-race winning streak in 2007 (Watkins Glen, Nashville and Mid-Ohio). “Ryan Hunter-Reay, every time I kept seeing him this weekend, he was in some kind of altercation. He lost a lot of points over the weekend.

“I think it’s still going to be a tough battle. I like the look of the tracks we have coming up. I think we are in the hunt. I think some tracks we’ll be at a slight disadvantage to the Chevys, some we might have an advantage.”

Dixon won Race 1 by 1.7 seconds over Sebastien Bourdais and won under caution to complete the sweep and earn the $100,000 SONAX Perfect Finish Award.

“It’s nice to give the boys a bonus after our rough start to the year,” Dixon said of the prize that will be $50,000 for the Houston doubleheader in early October. “That’s fantastic.”

Dixon’s 32nd Indy car victory overtook Dario Franchitti, Bourdais and Paul Tracy for seventh on the all-time list. He’s won three races since Franchitti won his last in the 2012 Indianapolis 500. Bourdais’ last Indy car victory was Nov. 11, 2007, in Mexico City. Tracy, who is retired from Indy car racing, last won on June 24, 2007, at Cleveland.

Al Unser Jr. is next up with 34 victories (nine on ovals, 25 of road/street courses).

Of Dixon’s total, 17 have been on ovals and 15 on road/street courses. Dixon made his first Indy car start at Monterrey, Mexico, on March 11, 2001, and picked up his maiden victory at Nazareth less than two months later in a PacWest Racing car. He’s been with Target Chip Ganassi Racing since ’03.

“I’m very fortunate to have 31 of those wins with this team, 12 years with this team,” Dixon said. “I think me and Helio are probably the longest active drivers with one team, which I think says a lot for the wins we’ve had and what we’ve achieved together.

“I would have wished some of those were a couple more ‘500s’ and a few more championships. But that’s the way it’s gone. We’ll keep digging, trying to improve on that. It’s cool to be on that list and moving up it.”

2. Briscoe has successful surgery on injured wrist: Panther Racing driver Ryan Briscoe had successful surgery to his broken right wrist today at Indiana Orthopedic Hospital in Indianapolis.

INDYCAR orthopedic consultant Dr. Kevin Scheid performed the surgery, which included the fitting of a small t-plate and screws into the fracture on Briscoe’s distal radius bone. Briscoe will be evaluated in two days and then again on July 30,, at which point he is expected to be fitted for a carbon fiber splint.

“Big thanks to everybody at the Indiana Orthopedic Hospital for the great hospitality and speedy surgery,” Briscoe said. “Everybody at the hospital, and all of the INDYCAR medical staff, have done a great job taking good care of me and I can’t thank them enough. I’m feeling good and can’t wait to get back behind the wheel.”

Briscoe’s availability for the IZOD IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 4 will be announced at a later date.

3. Inside the numbers – Honda Indy Toronto 2 in T.O.: Some numbers to note from the Honda Indy Toronto 2 in T.O., the 12th and 13th races of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

Consecutive front-row starts for Dario Franchitti.

2.059 Average running position of Scott Dixon during the 170 laps of racing.

4 – Positions gained by Mike Conway in the final eight laps of race 2 (11th to 7th).

6 - Positions gained by Justin Wilson in the final eight laps of race 1 (17th to 11th).

8 – Points separating Carlos Munoz and Sage Karam in the Firestone Indy Lights standings.

9 - Consecutive top-10 finishes for Helio Castroneves.

29 Positions improved by Mike Conway over the two races, the most gained by any driver.

32 - Wins for Scott Dixon in his Indy car career, 7th on the all-time list and the most be any active Indy car driver.

42 - Laps that Mike Conway improved his position over the 170 laps of competition, most of any driver.

63 - Points gained by Scott Dixon over the last three races. Helio Castroneves leads Dixon by 29 points in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings.

92 - Wins as a car owner by Chip Ganassi, which ranks third all-time among Indy car team owners.

151 - Consecutive Indy car starts for Scott Dixon dating to the 2004 race in Michigan. Dixon ranks seventh on the all-time list.

209 - Consecutive Indy car starts for Tony Kanaan dating to the 2001 CART race in Portland. Kanaan is second to Jimmy Vasser’s 211 straight starts.

1,753 - Laps completed by Helio Castroneves. He is the only driver to complete every lap of every race.

***

The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 4 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be televised live at 3 p.m. (ET) by NBC Sports Network and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211, www.indycar.com and the INDYCAR 13 App for most smartphones and tablets. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Mid-Ohio 100 on Aug. 4 at  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 2 p.m.

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