IRL Kansas: Dominant Dan wins again

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The Chip Ganassi team’s form is ominous for their rivals ahead of next month’s Indianapolis 500.

Dan Wheldon dominated the Kansas 300 and Scott Dixon would surely have made it a Ganassi one-two but for a careless pit lane infraction.

Hacing started fourth Wheldon immediately made his way to the front. He sliced past both Penskes in a single, dramatic move and hauled in leader Tony Kanaan. On lap nine he passed Kanaan for the lead, and then he simply drove away from the pack.

The first round of pit stops brought drama for the Andretti-Green crews and Danica Patrick’s car was waved out into Kanaan’s path. The two tangled, breaking the suspension on the front-right of Kanaan’s car. Both continued but Kanaan in particular had lost a lot of time.

It effectively removed the only serious opposition to Wheldon at the time and also delayed Sam Hornish Jnr, who had to manoeuvre around the two cars on the way to his pit box.

Shortly afterwards came a caution period due to debris on the track during which time Hornish pitted to have the suspension settings at the front of his car attending to – the American clearly deeply unhappy with the setup of his Penske.

Also unhappy was Marco Andretti, who retired his Andretti-Green car with handling problems just as he had in Homestead.

As the race went green again Wheldon led from Dixon and Tomas Scheckter. Dixon kept pace with his team mate more easily as Wheldon ran to conserve fuel – but still the two Ganassi cars were comfortably the class of the field.

But the last round of pit stops brought a surprise as Dixon came out of the pits an enormous two seconds ahead of Wheldon. But this was all down to the fact that Dixon had entered the pits from the final turn rather than using the entry lane, and he was swiftly called in for a penalty that dropped him to fifth.

This left Wheldon with a very comfortable lead of over ten seconds between him and second placed Dario Franchitti, with Helio Castroneves third.

The race effectively came to a close two laps early when Scott Sharp hit the barrier with no chance of the race being resumed before the chequered flag.

The result sees Wheldon stretch his lead in the championship he won in 2005.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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