Rewind: 2007 Honda 200

By: Spencer Neff
July 1, 2021

Following busy months of May and June, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will contest a single event during the month of July. On Sunday, 26 drivers will take part in the 80-lap Honda Indy 200 at the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course.

As we look forward to the 10th race of the 16-event season, take a look back at the 2007 edition of this race for this week’s edition of Rewind.

Dixon earns third consecutive win

For Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, Race Day of the 2007 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio brought multiple reasons to celebrate his 27th birthday.

Dixon had earned a victory in each of the previous two races, narrowing his points deficit to 34. Although Franchitti had seen his lead cut in half, the Andretti green Racing driver would start fifth, one spot ahead of Dixon.

Team Penske and Helio Castroneves would earn the pole for the 85-lap race, notching a best lap of 121.6 miles per hour.

Race Recap

The first open-wheel race at the Lexington, Ohio road course since the 2003 CART event got off to a vitiated start, with one team in particular bearing the brunt of it.

Andretti and Kanaan during the ill-fated start (Jim Haines/INDYCAR)

Heading toward Turn 4 after the traditional start on the back straightaway, Tony Kanaan pun and collided with AGR teammate Marco Andretti, sending the latter and his No. 26 Dallara-Honda upside-down toward the infield grass.

Their teammate Danica Patrick went off-course after making contact with Kanaan but they were able to continue. Meanwhile, Andretti’s day ended before completing a lap.

Castroneves would lead the first 28 laps before pit stops began. Dixon was able to pick up the lead as he looked to close the gap Franchitti had on him even further. Kanaan also logged two laps out front as he rebounded from the opening lap contact.

After staying out a lap longer than Castroneves and getting on track in front of him, Dixon was able to move to the lead of the race when the cycle of pit stops was completed on Lap 33. On Lap 46, Sam Hornish Jr. spun into the Turn 1 tire barriers. Although he avoided significant damage, the caution was brought out for the second time.

CGR’s pit stops and strategy helped put Dixon in a position to win (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Once the race restarted on Lap 51, Kanaan was able too pull away from the field as Dixon and Castroneves battled with Rahal Letterman Racing’s Scott Sharp. Castroneves and Franchitti also took the lead as the final stops cycled through, with Dixon leading a lap in between.

By taking on a smaller fuel load during his last stop, Dixon was able to beat out his competition. With nine laps to go, the No. 9 took the lead for a third time on the day and never looked back.

Dixon took his third consecutive win, finishing 2.692 seconds in front of Franchitti, cutting the points lead even further. He would leave Mid-Ohio 24 points back with five races remaining. Castroneves finished third after winning the pole and leading the most laps (37).

Analysis

Dixon celebrates atop the podium (Jim Haines/INDYCAR)

Dixon and Franchitti continued to battle through the remainder of the season. With two races to go, Dixon earned his fourth win and regained the points lead at Sonoma, only to fall behind in the wake of a late-race crash at Belle Isle in the penultimate round.

On the last lap of the season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel in Turn 3. Dixon’s misfortune allowed Franchitti to win the race and the championship.

A year later, Dixon earned his second title. By 2009, Franchitti rejoined IndyCar after a year in NASCAR and was paired with Dixon at CGR. The duo combined to win four championships in their five seasons together.

In 2012, Dixon earned his fourth win at Mid-Ohio, breaking a tie with 1989 Series Champion Emerson Fittipaldi for most at the track. Since then, he added victories in 2014 and 2019, bringing his Mid-Ohio record to six as he looks to make it a seventh win on Sunday.

Header Image By Jim Haines/INDYCAR

Published by Spencer Neff

I am a lifelong auto racing fan. Through IndyCar1909, I look forward to sharing my passion for the series and its illustrious history with you.

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