Ganassi team burned by collisions and strategy

While in the first race of the Detroit weekend it was Team Penske left wondering what might have been, today’s second race went against Chip Ganassi Racing in a big way.

Ganassi team burned by collisions and strategy
Charlie Kimball, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet pit action
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Charlie Kimball, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Although Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball started fourth, sixth and 11th respectively, they finished fifth, seventh and 16th. Meanwhile their rookie teammate Max Chilton failed to complete a lap, after skidding into the wall at the start while avoiding other drivers wrecking.

Dixon, who is closest challenger to runaway championship leader Simon Pagenaud, was left fuming by another Penske driver, Helio Castroneves at the start of the race, as the #3 swung hard left on the run to the start/finish line as the green flag waved.

Said the four-time and reigning IndyCar champion: “The first collision was pretty big and I don’t know if anybody caught it. I was complaining pretty hard to race control, because as we went green, Helio just swerved left and smashed the side of my car and bent the front suspension.

“After that I could turn right pretty well, but I just couldn't turn left and it's hard to move up in the race like that. So I was just trying to hang on.

As the first stint ended, the #9 car was assaulted by another Penske, this time Juan Pablo Montoya’s, after he tried a late and overambitious move at Turn 7, that broke the silver car’s front wing, and sent Dixon to the pits with a puncture.

Said Dixon: “I’ve still got to look at what happened with Juan and I. I tried to give him a little room but realistically I’m not sure where he was going there, but it cut down our right-rear tire and that hurt our pit sequence.

“Then with about 10 or 15 laps to go, I actually hit the wall going through Turn 7 [which lost him a place to Josef Newgarden’s Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet].

“So the car was pretty damaged today. But ultimately in terms of points, not so bad a day considering the weekend we had. But Pagenaud’s been doing a fantastic job and we have to start eating into that.”

Kanaan, meanwhile, was committed to a three-stop strategy but suffered with the timing of the full-course caution following Montoya’s shunt. The 2004 champion said: “Today was just another race where a yellow really screwed up our strategy. Right when we were planning on coming in for our second stop of the race, the yellow came out and we weren't able to make it in. We ended up having to come in under yellow which put us toward the back of the field and we had to take the restart in 17th.

“We did catch a break on the last yellow when we were already in the pits when the yellow came out, but it wasn't enough to cycle us back through to the top. I thought the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet definitely had a chance at a podium.”

Kimball, who started on the black-tire compound and was hassling eventual winner Will Power through the opening stint said: “We were definitely better than a 16th-place finish. We got caught out by a yellow on that last stop. It's really unfortunate with the pits closed - you're just kind of racing to the luck of a yellow flag.”

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