Dominating Day for Dixon but Major Controversey for Rest of Ganassi Drivers

Eric SmithCorrespondent IIISeptember 18, 2011

MOTEGI, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 18:  Scott Dixon driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda celebrates winning the IZOD IndyCar Series Indy Japan The Final, on the road course at Twin Ring Motegi on September 18, 2011 in Motegi, Japan.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Scott Dixon made the Indy Japan 300 look easy early this morning in claiming his second win of the season.

Dixon led 62 of the 63 laps in the race.  The only lap he didn't lead was early in the race on the first pit stop sequence, when he pitted and Will Power stayed out and led a lap.  Power came to pit lane on the next lap and Dixon regained the lead and never looked back.

This was the second time this season Dixon started and won from the pole.  The other was in Mid-Ohio in early August.

It was also Dixon's 10th career road course win and 27th career win in the series.  That ties Johnny Rutherford for 11th all-time.

He was the only Ganassi driver who can say they had a great day.

All four qualified in the top 10 and were running in the top seven until a restart on lap 26, when Dario Franchitti made a bonehead move to try and pass Ryan Briscoe in turn one and took out not only himself and Briscoe, but his teammate Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball.

All four ended up continuing on, but all had to pit due to some form of damage on their machines.  Even team owner Chip Ganassi was furious that Franchitti took out three of his cars.

Instead of all of them finishing in the top ten, it left Franchitti as the only driver to finish there.  Franchitti ended up a controversial ninth, Rahal finished 13th and Kimball was 22nd.  Briscoe ended up finishing 21st in the race as well.

The wreck caused a huge stir of controversy, though.

All season Brain Barnhart has penalized a driver for making unavoidable contact.  They penalty was to go to the back of the field and do a drive through penalty on the restart.  This time he only gave Franchitti a penalty of going to the back of the line and no drive though.  The problem was he already was at the back of the field.

The reason it's a penalty is because after you're drive through you will be a good 30 seconds behind the field.  Dario was able to start with the field and work his way back up to ninth.  He lost the points lead to Will Power, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Will Power finished 3.5 seconds behind Dixon in second and passed Dario for the points lead.  Power now leads Franchitti by 13 points heading into the race in Kentucky in two weeks.

Power also took home a little bit of hardware as well. 

He won the Mario Andretti trophy for the Road Course Championship for the second consecutive year.  Japan was the last race on the schedule that's a road course.

Power beat Dario Franchitti by 32 points to claim the title.

The other bit of controversy for Brian Barnhart was his call not to penalize Sebastien Bourdais for his wreck of Ryan Hunter-Reay, which caused a caution with six laps to go.

Again, it was avoidable contact on the situation that sent Hunter-Reay into the sand trap.

The weird coincidence is the two that have been penalized the most this season for avoidable contact—Ryan Briscoe and Ryan Hunter-Reay—both were victims and the guys that got into them weren't penalized.

Outside of those controversies, the race was pretty tame.

There were only three yellows on the day.

The next race is October 2nd at Kentucky Speedway.  You can view it live at 2 P.M. on Versus.

Finishing Order:

1. 9 Scott Dixon

2. 12 Will Power

3. 26 Marco Andretti

4. 77 Alex Tagliani

5. 2 Oriol Servia

6. 19 Sebastien Bourdais

7. 3 Helio Castroneves

8. 4 J.R. Hildebrand R

9. 10 Dario Franchitti

10. 27 Mike Conway

11. 5 Takuma Sato

12. 7 Danica Patrick

13. 38 Graham Rahal

14. 18 James Jakes R

15. 78 Simona de Silvestro

16. 06 James Hinchcliffe R

17. 22 Simon Pagenaud

18. 82 Tony Kanaan

19. 17 Hideki Mutoh

20. 24 Ana Beatriz

21. 6 Ryan Briscoe

22. 83 Charlie Kimball R

23. 59 E.J. Viso

24. 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay-1 lap

25. 14 Vitor Meira OUT

26. 34 Joao Paulo De Oliveira R OUT


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