Pocono Sweep Ends Ganassi Team’s Drought

Scott Dixon takes the checkered flag to win Sunday's Pocono IndyCar 400 at Pennsylvania's Pocono Raceway. (Al Steinberg photo)
Scott Dixon takes the checkered flag to win Sunday’s Pocono IndyCar 400 at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway. (Al Steinberg photo)

LONG POND, Pa. — IndyCar’s return to Pocono Raceway for the first time since 1989 was a tale of two different Pennsylvania team owners — one who started the race with the top three drivers and another that ended the race with a 1-2-3 sweep.

It was a pretty safe bet that at the end of Sunday’s Pocono IndyCar 400 Fueled by Sunoco a team owner from Pennsylvania would be celebrating in victory lane.

That team owner certainly wasn’t expected to be Chip Ganassi of Pittsburgh.

After all his three drivers had been overshadowed by a team owned by another Pennsylvanian — Nazareth’s Michael Andretti, especially after three of his four drivers swept the front row in Saturday’s qualifications. But one-by-one, Andretti’s drivers would experience disappointment while Ganassi’s trio drove to the front when it counted.

In the end, it was a day of milestones as Scott Dixon scored his 30th career victory, which moves him to 10th on the all-time IndyCar victory list, the 100th win for Target as a motorsports sponsor and the 200th win for Honda in the IndyCar Series. He defeated teammate Charlie Kimball, who equaled his career high set one year ago Monday when he finished second at last year’s Honda Indy Toronto. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti was third giving his disappointing season a much-needed boost.

“When I got out of bed this morning, I wouldn’t have guessed this,” Ganassi said after finally getting to victory lane for the first time this season. “I actually forgot that the next win would have been our 100th; it’s been so long since we’ve had a win. It’s a really great place to do it. In Pennsylvania, in my home state. It’s great for the series to have a 1-2-3 (finish) and Honda. You know, Honda needed a boost, and they stepped up and did a great job. The drivers did a great job and the team did a great job.

“Hopefully, we’ve turned the corner.”

It was the first time Chip Ganassi Racing drivers have finished 1-2-3 in any form of competition — IZOD IndyCar Series, CART, NASCAR or Grand-Am.

While Ganassi hopes his team “turned the corner” Andretti’s team drove off the cliff.