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June 26, 2019
 

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The Line


Tuesday
Jun242008

THE LINE #451

June 25, 2008

arrowup.gifDan Wheldon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Dan Wheldon (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/FIrestone) recorded his second win of the 2008 IndyCar season (and 15th of his career) by capturing the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer at Iowa Speedway last Sunday. Wheldon kept rookie Hideki Mutoh (No. 27 Andretti Green Racing Formula Dream D/H/F) and Marco Andretti (No. 26 AGR Blockbuster D/H/F) at bay after he took the lead out of a caution flag with 60 laps to go after his team made the decision not to pit. Wheldon's win gave Target Chip Ganassi Racing its fifth win in nine IndyCar Series events this season. Wheldon and teammate Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Commit D/H/F), who finished fourth, donated their combined winnings to the victims of Iowa's recent floods and tornados. "My wife and I drove from Chicago to here and we saw the flooding and it was just heartbreaking," Wheldon said. "I thought it was something that Scott and I should do and fortunately, we were able to.” Mutoh, the leader in the Bombadier Rookie of the Year standings, picked up his first top-five finish after a superb run. And Marco had his best finish since also placing third in the Indy 500. A.J. Foyt IV (No. 2 Lilly Diabetes/Vision Racing D/H/F) came home fifth, his best result of the season. Other notables? Will Power (No. 8 Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia D/H/F) finished ninth, his best finish on an oval this season, and Graham Rahal (No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps D/H/F) finished 10th, his first top-10 finish on an oval. Dixon still holds the IndyCar Series points lead with a 48-point edge over Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves. Castroneves led a race-high 92 laps, but a pit stop to replace a cut tire late in the race cost him two laps and resulted in a 14th-place finish. Next up for IndyCar is the SunTrust Indy Challenge June 28 at Richmond International Raceway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 8 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN.

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(Dan Helrigel/IRL)
Dan Wheldon gets a kiss from his wife Susie (and celebrates his 30th birthday) after winning the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, last Sunday.

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(Dana Garrett/IRL)
Dillon Battistini (No. 15 AlexP) passes Cyndie Alleman (No. 18 and a lap down) on his way to victory in the Jeld-Wen 100 Firestone Indy Lights series race at Iowa Speedway last Saturday. It was Battistini's third win of the season (he also won at Homestead-Miami Speedway and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway), and it was also Panther Racing's third victory of the season and 12th overall in Firestone Indy Lights competition. Arie Luyendyk Jr. (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc.) tied his career-best finish by coming home in second position, while the talented Ana Beatriz (No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports) finished third, tying her career-best finish. "I have to admit, when I first started driving at Homestead, it felt really quick," said Battistini, who took over the championship points lead by 27 over Richard Antinucci (242-215). "It felt quite dangerous running so close to other cars. Once you get into race mode, it kind of goes out the window. You just put your head down and drive. Because you want to go faster, you actually feel slower after awhile. It's just come to me naturally I guess. It helps when the car's great. The Panther team has given me a fantastic car at each of the oval circuits that we've been to." The Firestone Indy Lights series resumes with a racing doubleheader on the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International road course on July 5.

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(Autostock Photo)
David Gilliland (No. 38 Yates Racing Free Credit Report Ford) shown (above) heading to his best-ever finish in NASCAR - second - in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. But the real story was yet another dominating win by the dominant driver of the 2008 season, Kyle Busch. Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing M&M's Toyota) led 77 of 112 laps to capture his series-high fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the season. Road racing favorite Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Du Pont Chevrolet) finished a hard-scrabble third after having handling difficulties in the early going. “I am really impressed with Kyle,” said Gordon to the media afterwards. “I've been around him, and I didn't think he’s a really good road racer. So I think you've got to give that guy a lot of credit for his talent. To be able to get their car up front and maintain the position...I would not have bet on that. Obviously, he’s maturing and learning and that’s what it’s going to take for him to maintain that points lead.” Kyle could win ten races this year, maybe more. And at 23-years-old, he's just getting started.

arrowup.gifThe Atlantic Championship. Atlantic Championship President Vicki O’Connor and officials from the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) announced Monday that IMSA has agreed to sanction the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda events for 2008, its 35th anniversary season. “After a lengthy period of negotiations, we are delighted to announce that IMSA will now be the sanctioning body for the Atlantic Championship,” O’Connor said. “As a road racing championship in North America, it certainly makes sense to align Atlantic with North America’s premier road racing sanctioning organization. Atlantic has some previous history with IMSA and ­ in our 35th anniversary season ­ we are excited to begin a new chapter with IMSA.” IMSA previously sanctioned Formula Atlantic in the United States in 1976. The U.S. championship was contested in addition to the Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs (CASC)-sanctioned Player’s Challenge Series north of the border, and both championships were won by Canadian racing legend Gilles Villeneuve. Ironically, the 1976 season also featured an event at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., where IMSA is now based. Road Atlanta will also play host to the 2008 Atlantic season finale on the same weekend as the prestigious Petit Le Mans for the American Le Mans Series. While the Atlantic Championship will continue to be owned by Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe and will be operated by O’Connor and her staff, all races will be run under IMSA rules. The Atlantic Championship will be conducted under the IMSA Code, which establishes and oversees event, participant and safety parameters and conduct, as well as governing rules for each of its sanctioned series. The IMSA sanction takes immediate effect and will be in place for the next round of the Atlantic Championship on June 27-29 at Mont-Tremblant. The Atlantic Championship is the longest-running open-wheel driver development series in North America. Atlantic graduates include Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti, Jacques Villeneuve, Keke Rosberg, Jimmy Vasser, Sam Hornish Jr. and Dan Wheldon. Other Atlantic grads include Danica Patrick, Graham Rahal, Buddy Rice and Ryan Hunter-Reay; Patrick Carpentier, A.J. Allmendinger and Sam Hornish Jr.; American Le Mans Series competitors Johnny O’Connell, Luis Diaz, Simon Pagenaud, Alex Figge and Tom Sutherland; as well as reigning Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series champions Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney, among many others.


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(Copyright © 2008, John Thawley ~ Creative Communications Group All rights reserved.) 
Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty (No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley) raced through the rain at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to win the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank. Gurney passed Matt Plumb on the outside with nine laps remaining in the 76-lap (two hours and 45 minutes) event and went on to win his first Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 victory of 2008. Gurney and Fogarty, the defending Daytona Prototype champions, hadn't even been on the podium since finishing second in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. Darren Law finished second in the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley that David Donohue put on the pole. Plumb and Gene Sigal finished third in the No. 7 RumBum.com BMW Riley. Eric Lux and Leh Keen (No. 86 Farnbacher Loles Porsche GT3) won the GT class, Porsche's first victory of the season in eight races. The next Grand-Am Rolex Series race will be the July 3 Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway.