Skip to comments.Patrick Takes First Victory At Motegi
Posted on 04/19/2008 9:10:58 PM PDT by John W
Danica Patrick used a fuel gamble to take a historic victory in the delayed Motegi round of the IRL IndyCar Series.
The Andretti Green Racing driver took the lead with just two laps to go as the rest of the front-runners had to pit for fuel and became the first woman to win a major American open-wheel race.
Patrick had run towards the foot of the top ten for most of the race, as Ganassi's Scott Dixon and Penske's Helio Castroneves dominated the event.
But AGR's decision to bring Patrick in for an additional fuel top-up at the end of the final full course yellow paid off spectacularly, allowing her to take a remarkable last gasp victory.
Castroneves led the first half of the race, before being jumped by Dixon during the mid-race pitstops. The Ganassi driver then pulled away from the field - leading by as much as six seconds - and looked set for victory until having to pit from the lead with six laps to go.
Fellow leaders Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan and Castroneves then had to follow suit, allowing Patrick to come through and snatch the win. Castroneves and Dixon completed the podium.
YAHOOO go baby go
She’s not even smiling during her victory lap nor on the victory lane platform.
Way to go, DP!
“allowing Patrick to come through and snatch the win. “
Who writes this stuff? Ha!
I agree, great for her and great for the IRL or whatever it is these days.
It’s RACING!!!! “Snatch the win”, what a crock.
More detail from The Sports Network http://www.sportsnetwork.com/default.asp?c=sportsnetwork&page=auto/news/BHN4145867.htm
Patrick makes history with IndyCar win
Motegi, Japan (Sports Network) - Danica Patrick finally answered her critics by capturing the rain-delayed Japan Indy 300 from the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan. The No.7 Andretti Green Racing driver passed Helio Castroneves with three laps to go and crossed the finish line a comfortable 5.8594 seconds ahead of the field.
The victory was Patrick’s first and the first by a woman in the IndyCar career. It was her 50th IndyCar start.
“It’s a long time coming,” said a crying Patrick. “Thank you to Andretti Green and to all my teammates...finally.”
“I’m so happy for her, I’m so proud of her,” said team owner Michael Andretti. “It was always a question of when not if she was going to win. She did a really good job sticking to the numbers and keeping up her speed...I love this girl, she’s a first-class individual.”
Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan completed the top-five.
After a 22-hour wait, Castroneves finally got to lead the 18-car field to the green flag. But before the first lap had been completed, Marco Andretti was already out of the race having spun his car into the Turn 1 wall.
“Driver error,” said Andretti, taking complete blame for the spin on cold tires.
The race restarted on lap eight and by lap 22 Castroneves was approaching the rear of the field getting ready to begin lapping the slowest cars. Only two cars could stay with the Team Penske driver - Target Chip Ganassi teammates Dixon and Wheldon.
The first of the green flag pit stops began, but were interrupted by a Hideki Mutoh spin. Ryan Briscoe was the big winner on the first round of stops finding himself in second place as they went back to green on lap 56.
Castroneves was the leader, with a one-second margin on Dixon after 60 laps. He was still the leader at lap 80, but Dixon had chopped the gap in half. Then Vitor Meira slapped the outside wall to bring out the caution flag on lap 91.
On the pit stop, Dixon beat Castroneves out to grab his first lead, when the No.3 pit crew had trouble with one of the right-side tires. Dixon, winner of the season opener at Homestead, also a 1.5-mile oval, quickly built his lead to around one second. By lap 122 the margin was 2.4009 and climbing. The gap was 6.3439 seconds at lap 135.
Was Castroneves trying to save fuel or was Dixon that much faster than everyone else?
On lap 142 Roger Yasukawa spun out hitting the frontstretch inside wall to bring out the caution flag. All the leaders stopped, but it was still short of the point at which anyone could reach the checkered flag on the fuel in the tank. They would all likely have to stop again for a “splash and go.”
They would restart with Dixon leading Briscoe, Tony Kanaan and Wheldon. Castroneves was fifth, but ducked back in the pits to top off his tank. Also topping off were Ed Carpenter and Patrick.
Would they now take the gamble that he could go the distance without stopping?
Kanaan got underneath Briscoe and went after Dixon. Meanwhile, Castroneves, with more fuel than the other leaders, was up to sixth with 45 laps to go. But the No.3 Penske machine wasn’t pushing it - indicating that he was going for the fuel mileage win.
Dixon had a one-second lead, but unless there were more caution flag laps would need to stop for fuel. Dixon relinquished the lead on lap 195 to get more fuel, giving the lead to Wheldon. But Wheldon and Kanaan came in on the following lap giving the lead to Castroneves.
However, Patrick was hanging with Castroneves and with three laps to go she flew around the outside of the Penske driver for the lead. She saw the white flag with a three-second lead. Patrick charged into Turn 3 and came out of Turn 4 with the engine still going strong.
Patrick took the checkered flag with more than five seconds to spare, winning her first IndyCar Series event.
Castroneves’ second-place finish helped him maintain the championship lead. He holds 12 points over Dixon and 14 points over Patrick.
The next race is scheduled for Sunday, April 27th at the Kansas Speedway.
Twin Ring was coined by joining the English word twin and the German word ring. The name indicates the two racing courses: Super Speedway, an American-style oval course, and Road Course, a European layout.
Patrick shows the trophy she earned with the victory.
Are these the guys who all use the same Ford engine or the guys who all use the same Honda engine?
I, a male, am THRILLED!
For me, this is one of those classic sports moments. It’s nice to see the hard work of her and those around her finally pay off.
Let's also remember that the IRL has forced her car to carry extra weight because she small size is a disadvantage.
It looks like one of DSPN’s social causes has come through.
I don’t believe Kim Green and the man behind the quote below hired Danica as a social cause. Not either one’s style.
“I’m so happy for her and so proud of her. It’s always been a question of when — not if — she was going to win, and I’m so proud of the way she did it.
“I love this girl. She is just a first-class individual and I’m so happy that monkey is off her back. You’ll see — there is going to be more of this to come.”
— Michael Andretti, co-owner
Andretti Green Racing
I agree with you and I don’t have a problem with any body winning.
I had a problem with the way ABC/ESPN overly promoted her over winning racers such as Dan Weldon. After every race it was like, “Danica Patrick finished 12th, oh by the way Dan Weldon won.”
It is sort of a kin to the way the press treats Tiger excepts Tiger actually wins on a regular basis.