Nothing To Wine About – Franchitti Fourth, Dixon Fifth

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As Round 14 of the IZOD Indycar Series closed at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti finished fourth while his TCGR teammate Scott Dixon would finish close behind in fifth.

It would prove to be a difficult weekend for Franchitti as he qualified in fourth spot on the grid.  He would keep the No. 10 Target Honda within the top-four for the bulk of the race opening.  At lap 27, Franchitti came in for his first round of pit stops. Maintaining his top-four positioning, the incident-free Franchitti came in for his final pit stop with 25 laps-to-go.

A caution would provide an exciting restart with only six laps remaining and Franchitti would have to keep the No. 9 TCGR car of Scott Dixon at bay for a fourth place finish.  While not a podium finish, Franchitti did score his 11th top-five finish of the 2011 IZOD Indycar Series season.

Franchitti provided a terse comment on the events of the day in a TCGR release, “Tough day for Team Target.  The Penske guys were clearly better than we were and we have some work today before we head off to Baltimore and Japan. I spent a lot of time reading 'Penske Truck Rental' off the rear wing of (Ryan) Briscoe's car and just couldn't get close enough to get by him.”

Scott Dixon qualified in fifth position on the grid and maintained a top-five positioning through the first round of green-flag pit stops.  Through the second round of green-flag pit stops, Dixon and the No. 9 Target Honda Dallara would pressure the front four and close the gap to Franchitti.  Dixon, poised to strike after a restart with six laps-to-go, would fill Franchitti's mirrors in a bid for the lead while simultaneously defending his position from those whom would overtake him.  Dixon's fifth-place finish would net him his ninth top-five of the year and 10th top-ten in 2011.

Not attempting to hide his disdain at the end of the day, Dixon said, “We just struggled today.  I was thinking we would be better over a long distance, but we just got worse, as compared to the Penske cars. It was a tough day, it wasn't the best race as far as passing, but it was all action inside the car working the arms and elbows.  Overall, it was a tough day for Team Target and congrats to the Penske boys.”

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