Oct. 10 IndyCar Championship Plot Thickens


Briscoe edges Dixon in the fourth closest finish in IndyCar history sending the points battle to Japan before the Championship round at Homestead-Miami Oct. 10 (photo courtesy: Donald Miralle, Getty Images Sport)

Heading into the race at Chicagoland, the gap between Ryan Briscoe, Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon was just 20 points, the third-closest three-man battle in the history of the IndyCar Series while Castroneves was lurking just behind in fourth-place.

The first event in the Championship stretch run – to be decided at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 10 - began at Chicagoland Speedway with title hopes hanging in the balance.  The IndyCar Series Championship will culminate with the Firestone Indy 300 Oct. 10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Coral Gables resident Castroneves qualified second to his Team Penske teammate and IndyCar Championship points leader Briscoe.  Franchitti and Castroneves were the only two of the quartet  - seeking a Championship at Homestead-Miami Oct. 10 - to have won at Chicagoland and only Dixon has won at Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of the Championship finale Oct. 10 – the Firestone Indy 300. Dixon captured last year's race at THE Championship Tracksm.

South Florida’s own Castroneves suffered a suspension failure and clouted the Turn 4 wall while running third with just 16 laps remaining which effectively ended his Championship title run.  Castroneves will still be considered a contender to become the first South Florida IndyCar resident to win at Homestead-Miami in the Firestone Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 10.  In Round 1 of the three race Championship title fight – to be settled at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 10 - Ryan Briscoe won by a nose over Dixon in one of the closest finishes in IndyCar history.  Briscoe understands that Dixon and Franchitti will not go go away quietly despite Briscoe’s hard-fought victory in Chicago.

"The Target cars are going to be there in Motegi and Homestead,” said Briscoe from Victory Lane.  “We just have to stay focused.  We've had good cars on all the mile-and-half ovals this year.”

Only a trip to Japan remains before the IndyCar Series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway to settle the Championship Oct. 10.  The remaining tracks, including Homestead-Miami Speedway, are 1.5-mile oval tracks, but each is different.  Motegi is known for on-track contact which could end title hopes in an instant; and now -- as the season's finale  – Homestead-Miami Speedway will carry the most pressure for the eventual Champion.
Dixon, the reigning IndyCar Series champion and Homestead-Miami Speedway race winner, had some ground to make up after the race at Infineon Raceway.  With Franchitti and Briscoe finishing first and second, Dixon wound up 13th after Marco Andretti sent him spinning with contact in the final corner of the race.  Andretti was penalized, but it still cost Dixon three points, which could dethrone him despite his second place finish at Chicagoland.

Dixon lost the 2007 championship to Dario Franchitti when he ran out of fuel in the last corner of the last lap of the season at Chicagoland.  Ironically, Dixon finished second to Briscoe in the fourth closest finish in IndyCar Series history (.0077 second margin of victory) at Chicagoland in 2009 setting up a two race duel to the Championship to be decided at Homestead-Miami.

Great seats are available for the Oct. 9-10 NextEra Energy Resources SpeedJam Championships, featuring the series-crowning Championship finales of the Firestone Indy Lights, Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car and IndyCar Series.
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