May 26, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
With cars decked out in silver to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Target’s alliance with Chip Ganassi Racing, defending Indy 500 champ Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon went racing for another bit of silver on Sunday: The Borg-Warner Trophy, annually presented to the winner of the ‘500.’
But the 98th Running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing proved rough for the vaunted TCGR duo.
Kanaan, whose ‘500’ victory one year ago was one of the most popular in race history, suffered a 43-second pit stop on Lap 66 and then returned to the pits a short time later for a longer period.
He would eventually rejoin the race 18 laps down and his ‘500’ reign ended with a 26th-place finish.
“Our day was pretty much over before it started with the issues we had on pit lane,” Kanaan said. “When you go that many laps down, you simply cannot recover.
“I always say this place chooses the winner and unfortunately, today, she didn’t choose us.”
It was left to Dixon, the 2008 Indy winner, to carry the Bullseye banner. As usual, the New Zealander was steady for much of the afternoon and embedded himself firmly in the Top 5.
But on Lap 168 of 200, Dixon lost control of his No. 9 Target Chevy and slammed into the outside wall in Turn 4. After the yellow came out for the Dixon crash, ‘500’ rookie Martin Plowman then got into the back of Josef Newgarden, ending the latter’s afternoon.
“All of a sudden, it just started to slide [mid-apex],” 29th-place finisher Dixon said of his wreck. “I tried to catch it and there was no catching it.”
Another Ganassi pilot, Charlie Kimball, also found the wall on Sunday. After the race ran its first 148 laps under green-flag conditions, Kimball spun in Turn 2 and made contact; he was credited with 31st place.
In the end, it was Ryan Briscoe with the Ganassi camp’s best finish – 18th. And that could have been a Top-10 result if not for a run-in with Will Power shortly after the race went green with six laps to go.
“I got a run on Power and he just completely drove me to the grass and chopped me and broke my front wing,” said Briscoe, who had charged toward the front late after going a lap down early.
“It was dangerous driving, and I just can’t believe he didn’t get a penalty or anything. It was just absolutely stupid driving on his part and ruined our race after we did such a good job.”
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