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article imageINDYCAR: Dixon wins in Houston, tightens title showdown

By John Duarte     Oct 6, 2013 in Sports
Houston - Scott Dixon was looking for a tall ladder and “a little bad luck on their part” if he was going to make up any ground on IZOD IndyCar points leader Helio Castroneves with three races left in the season.
That's exactly what he got on Saturday afternoon. Dixon won the first of two weekend races in the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston and moved within eight points of Castroneves. The series' points leader finished only 80 of the race's 90 laps after he had to park his car while undergoing repairs for a problem with shifting gears.
The Grand Prix of Houston was Dixon's fourth win of the 2013 season. He has been the model of consistency in IndyCar's two previous doubleheader weekends. He finished fourth in the two races in Detroit in June and won both Toronto races in July. Dixon's next win will tie him with Al Unser, Jr. for sixth on the all-time IndyCar list with 34 race victories.
He was cautiously optimistic about the second Houston race. “Hopefully, we can have another good race. It would be nice to be in the lead going into Fontana.”
The two drivers vying for this season's IndyCar championship are in reverse order of what they were five years ago. In 2008, Dixon led Castroneves by 43 points going into the final two races and won his second title by 17 points. A maximum of 50 points are awarded per race under IndyCar scoring rules.
Dixon had only a few words for the series' points leader.
“I hope they're worried,” he said.
Castroneves, who had been the only driver to complete every lap of every race this season, said he started having trouble early on in the race and he couldn't shift gears. He praised his crew for figuring out the problem and getting him back on the race track where he maximize his race effort.
“I tried to earn as many points as I could and really just focus on making the car better so we can be ready (for Sunday's race),” Castroneves said. “We still have the lead in the championship and I think we will be in good shape for Race 2.”
He said the afternoon's events were part of racing and “it's tough but it's something that's out of our control. We need to have a good qualifying and bounce back with a strong race (on Sunday).”
Race 1 of the Grand Prix of Houston was a milestone one for Simona De Silvestro. The Swiss driver, competing in her 63rd IndyCar race, posted a career-high second-place finish. She joins Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher as the only female drivers to have podium finishes on the IndyCar circuit.
“We've been waiting for this a long time,” said De Silvestro, whose contract with KV Racing Technology ends at the end of this season. “We've had a lot of momentum the last three races. I think that's really cool and I think it just shows that we can be up there and fight in the front.”
Justin Wilson finished Saturday's race in third place.
The second race in the Grand Prix of Houston will be held Sunday (Oct. 6) afternoon and the series heads for the Auto Club Speedway, in California, where the MAVTV 500 will be held and, for the eighth-consecutive year, the IZOD IndyCar Series championship will be decided.
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