Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dixon Escapes Mid Ohio with Indy Racing League Win - Marco's World Upside Down Again

Scott Dixon managed to snag his third Indy Racing League win in a row, missing Marco Andretti's first lap tumble and prevailing with crafty pit work over Dario Franchitti. Dixon continues to chip away at Dario's season points lead and one DNF by Dario coupled with a strong run at Michigan could vault Dixon into the series lead. It was obvious to me that Dario was running conservatively, but after seeing three of his teammates almost take each other out at the start, who wouldn't?

Speaking of vaulting... Poor Marco. On his head for the second time this season, and neither time was his fault. I heard him say in the post-wreck interview that Danica had bounced Kanaan into him but my photos show TK's left front wing under Danica's right rear tire, lifting her off the ground and sending her into the grass in the esses. I stayed on Kanaan as he started to get sideways and Marco dove to Kanaan's right and got launched into a wild ride. Dixon and everyone else skated by and Tony stormed back through the field from there, passing more cars than anyone else to take 4th. Helio was fast early and took third while Danica recovered from her off for 5th. Darren Manning showed he was in his element and really benefited from the first lap mess for 6th and Ryan Hunter Reay had a really nice drive to 7th in his first race since replacing Jeff Simmons, even considering his trip through the sand trap in the morning warmup.

It was a beautiful weekend at Mid Ohio with perfect weather conditions and huge crowds both Saturday and Sunday. Corner workers were saying it was the biggest crowd Mid Ohio had seen in quite some time and it was clear that the combo of the American LeMans Series and Indycar brought the road race fans out in droves. I'm sure Honda buying 15,000 tickets for employees and their families (as the rumor at the track went) helped also. Who cares? Saturday the Acura banners were everywhere. Sunday they all said Honda. If more manufacturers supported racing like that, we'd all be the better for it. I've been going to Mid Ohio for years and the crowd reminded me of the old days before the split, as the motor homes were plentiful, the camping area by the keyhole was full, and families were on every hillside. And what a gorgeous track it is. Having gone through the Acura high performance driving school there last summer, I especially like shooting there now since I can remember the feelings I had going through the corners (albeit much slower) as I frame each shot through my Canons. I can't wait to go back.

This weekend I'm tied up at the Brickyard 400 at Indy and then go to Michigan for the Indy Racing League 400-miler next weekend. Michigan is another track I love as it shows the true form of the Indycars where two- and three-wide racing is common and the speeds are high. I'm an oval fan at heart, but from a photographer's perspective, road courses are lots of fun as the vantage points are numerous and you can really see the drivers working the steering wheel. So this season has been great for shooting a wide variety of cars, tracks and series. I'm thankful that American Motor Journal has been giving me the opportunity - you all should subscribe!

I'll be back with comments and pix from the ALMS race soon so check back. See you at the races!


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