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Dixon leads Ganassi sweep in Pocono IndyCar race

Pocono IndyCar winner Scott Dixon, middle, leads an all-Ganassi podium with runnerup Charlie Kimball, left, and Dario Franchitti. “I love this place. Pocono, the fans, just everyone has been fantastic,” Dixon says. “I hope we race here for many, many, many more years.”

Associated Press

Pocono IndyCar winner Scott Dixon, middle, leads an all-Ganassi podium with runnerup Charlie Kimball, left, and Dario Franchitti. “I love this place. Pocono, the fans, just everyone has been fantastic,” Dixon says. “I hope we race here for many, many, many more years.”

LONG POND, Pa. — Scott Dixon felt like his losing streak had stretched as long as IndyCar's absence from Pocono Raceway.

So Sunday's trip to Victory Lane felt as welcome as the triangular track's return to the schedule for the first time since 1989.

Dixon, who hadn't won since August, led a monster day for Chip Ganassi Racing, which earned a 1-2-3 podium sweep in the Pocono IndyCar 400. Charlie Kimball finished second and Dario Franchitti third.

"I said to (Ganassi), 'This morning I didn't think we'd be sitting here,' " Dixon said. "To say the least, it was a little bit of a shock."

This was the first time Ganassi swept a podium in any form of racing: IndyCar, CART, NASCAR or Grand-Am. It was also Honda's 200th IndyCar victory and the first for Ganassi this season.

Andretti Autosport qualified three drivers on the front row. But James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay were involved in early accidents, and pole-sitter Marco Andretti, who led a race-high 88 laps, battled fuel woes over the final laps and was 10th.

"We were just so dominant," said Andretti, who hails from nearby Nazareth. "I'm just absolutely gutted."

Hunter-Reay, the defending series champion, lost ground when he was hit in the pits by Takuma Sato, who later admitted he entered pit lane too fast. "We were just … minding our own business, and we get creamed from behind," said Hunter-Reay, who finished 20th. "It's unfortunate. We've come from further back to win the championship."

Helio Castroneves was eighth and padded his points lead over Hunter-Reay from nine points to 23.

Formula One: Three-time defending series champ Sebastian Vettel led from the start of the German Grand Prix in Nurburg, then held on for his 30th victory and his first on home soil. His Red Bull car fended off the Lotus duo of Kimi Raikkonen (second) and Romain Grosjean. "I am happy the race was 60 laps and not 61 or 62. The Lotus (cars) were incredibly fast … and Kimi was putting a lot of pressure on me at the end," said Vettel, who extended his points lead to 34 over fourth-place finisher Fernando Alonso of Ferrari. Red Bull was fined $38,650 for releasing Mark Webber too soon on a pit stop. Webber's right rear wheel came off and rolled down pit lane, hitting a cameraman, who remained conscious and was treated at the track before being hospitalized for observation.

NHRA: Johnny Gray won his fourth Funny Car title this year at the Summit Racing Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. Gray and Ron Capps had identical times of 4.103 seconds in the final, but Gray had a quicker reaction time. Khalid alBalooshi (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won their classes.

Sprint Cup points

After 18 of 36 races. The top 10 in points plus two wild cards after 26 races make the Chase for the Championship:

Driver Points Back

Jimmie Johnson 658—

Clint Bowyer 609 49

Carl Edwards 587 71

Kevin Harvick 585 73

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 548 110

Matt Kenseth 540 118

Kyle Busch 533 125

Greg Biffle 516 142

Kurt Busch 501 157

Tony Stewart 499 159

Note: After Saturday's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway

Dixon leads Ganassi sweep in Pocono IndyCar race 07/07/13 [Last modified: Monday, July 8, 2013 12:55am]
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