Scott Dixon - 2008 IndyCar Champion

Galahad

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Congratulations to Scott, who sealed the IndyCar title at the final round at Chicagoland Speedway yesterday.

Title rival Helio Castroneves, driving for Team Penske, won the race by the second-smallest winning margin in series history - 0.0033 seconds, with Dixon's Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara finishing second.

However with Scott's substantial points lead built up over the course of the season, second was more than enough to give him his second IRL/IndyCar title. The championship win caps an extraordinary season for the 28-year-old New Zealander, who won six IndyCar races this year including the Indy 500 in May.

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/70414
 

cider_and_toast

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Also read on teletext that Dario Franchitti will return to the IRL with Chip Ganassi racing. Don't know when he's going to start. He said he didn't regret his brief spell in NASCAR and that he would do it all over again if asked.
 

Brogan

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Great news.

It's just a shame there isn't any decent coverage of this series on any of the standard terrestrial/freeview channels here in the UK.
I sometimes manage to catch the highlights show but that's always after the race has been run and hence it's not much fun watching as you already know who has won.
 

Galahad

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Dario is going to replace Dan Wheldon as Dixon's team mate at CGR for next season. Dan is moving to Panther Racing to replace Vitor Meira (funnily enough, going back to the team he started with in the IRL). Not a great move for Wheldon in all honesty.
 

Brogan

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I note that there is a final race to be held on October 26.
This however is not a championship race.

What's the reasoning behind having a final race which isn't part of the championship?
Surely there's no incentive for the teams & drivers and it is also a financial burden which they could do without?
 

Galahad

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Hi Brogan,

It's a hangover from the ChampCar series, like Long Beach, as part of the merger conditions Tony George agreed that the Surfers Paradise round would still go ahead.

Unfortunately Chicagoland have a long term contract to be the season finale. So the only way they could work it this year was to have a non-points race at the end.

Fortunately the Australian promoter is relatively flush, and will make it worth the teams' while going over there. Some of the smaller one-car efforts won't bother, but all the big boys are signed up.

What happens next year and onwards though, is another question. Chicago's contract still holds, and obviously the Australian climate isn't conducive to races in the northern hemisphere "summer".

Based on my natural distrust of TG I expect Surfers' will get the boot sooner or later. Which is a shame as it's a great place for a race, and as street circuits go, not too bad at all. Fortunately the Aussie V8 boys love it, so there will still be a race there with or without Mr. George.
 

Brogan

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Thanks GM.

I knew there must have been some kind of convoluted reason.
Nice to know it's not just F1 that suffers from a little bit of politics... ;)
 

Galahad

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"a little bit of politics"

ROFL

You could say that. Max and Bernie have got nothing on Tony George and Kevin Kalkhoven...
 

cider_and_toast

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How secure is Long Beach?

I wonder if the IRL race was dropped would it make a come back on the F1 callender?

:goodday:
 

Galahad

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Ah, now you're talking. But I think IndyCar will want to hang on to Long Beach, it was always one of the jewels in the crown of ChampCars and gets them exposure in the Los Angeles market which they haven't really penetrated much before.

I'm going to keep banging the drum for an F1 night race in Vegas! :cheer:
 

cider_and_toast

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I don't remember watching the last Vegas race but it wasn't the greatest in the world if I recall. I circuit around ceasers palace car park with a crumbleing surface and concrete walls everywhere. I seem to remember Keke winning. Mind you I expect if they did it again it would be a bit more polished.

Have they announced the IRL callender for next year yet ?? I hope they retain some of the champ car road circuits because the mix of oval and road works well, test all the drivers and certainy appeals to a market outside of the states (not that TG and friends are really bothered about that).
 

Galahad

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The provisional 2009 schedule is here: http://www.indycar.com/schedule/2009_schedule.php

The main change is that the Toronto street race (which Michael Andretti is now the promoter of) replaces Nashville Speedway. Toronto used to hold ChampCar races but was left out this year.

I'm surprised to see the changes to the end of the schedule. These things are always subject to change, it may be that a slot is found for Surfers' Paradise for example.

But the ratio of road/street courses to ovals is roughly 50/50, which is what Tony George has said he is aiming for.
 

cider_and_toast

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One of the best things to come out of all this is that the Indy 500's status has been restored as the pinicle of US open wheel racing.

As for foreign races, I don't think TG has any interest in them. Champ cars efforts in the past to broaden the market appeal with races at Rockingham etc were never that successful were they?
 

Galahad

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ChampCar was strong in Canada for a long time, and Mexico too (though NASCAR have stolen that market very rapidly).

But I don't think TG is too bothered about Australia, no, and probably won't work too hard to keep it.

The only possibility is, since Honda pay for everyone to fly out to Motegi, they might double-header it with Surfers' to save on airfreight etc.?
 

cider_and_toast

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Yeah, I should have said TG isn't too interested in races outside North America rather than just foreign races. I was first started watching the IRL when Mansell went over there (along with many other brits I expect). As you said Canada was always a popular place with the drivers and IRL/Champ car had some strong canadian drivers in it.

I wonder how Danica will do when she tests for Honda. I think it's still scheduled for November. She's not going to end up in F1 mainly because I don't think she is good enough. Her european F3 results weren't exactly great and even though she has won a race in IRL it wasn't the most convincing of seasons for her. If she did sign it would be great PR (and lord knows, F1 it needs it now) but I think she would just become another ex oval racer who struggled.
 

Galahad

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It'll be interesting to see. Katherine Legge was the last one I think, had a go in the dying days of Minardi and didn't do too well if I remember.

Unfortunately I think it may be the same story for Danica. Her determination is impressive but her road racing skills are a bit off, and the standard in the IRL isn't high compared to F1 I fear.

Whether she'd even be interested in doing F1 is another question, too. I think it's good PR for Honda but little else.
 

cider_and_toast

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Here's a question for you Gordo.

Is the Indy 500 still pretty much open house for entrants. Say for example I won the euro millions and fancied putting a car into the race is it still a case of buy car, pay for driver, pitch up at qualifying and attempt to enter ?? Obviously it's not one of the pinicals of the motorsport or not as much as it used to be any way. I expect rules on car design and the fact that IRL is a single make championship now (or as near as damn it) would make it fairly pointless for big manufacturers.

It would still be fun to see the Lotus built "Cider and Toast Special" entering next year. Maybe I could get Mario Andretti or Emerson Fittipaldi to drive it for me. :snigger:
 

Galahad

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I think it's still open c_a_t - anyone with a car and engine can have a go! A few years ago you'd have probably been guaranteed a starting slot too - they had trouble getting a full field of 33. Even this year there were only 37 entries though, so you might still have a chance...
 
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