2008 IndyCar Series season

2008 IndyCar Series season

IndyCar seasons
year = 2008
races = 19
start_date = March 29
end_date = October 26
season_champ = flagicon|NZL Scott Dixon
champ_team = flagicon|USA Chip Ganassi Racing
rookie_of_year = flagicon|Japan Hideki Mutoh
most_popular = "Season in progress"
indy_winner = flagicon|New Zealand Scott Dixon
previous = 2007
next = 2009
The 2008 IndyCar Series [ [http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/article/121089 IndyCar Series Hoping New Excitement Will Attract Title Sponsor] , sportsbusinessdaily.com, May 23, 2008] season is the 13th season of the series. Its premier event was the 92nd Indianapolis 500 on May 25. The first race was held March 29 at Homestead. It is the 97th recognized season of top-level American open wheel racing.

All races were televised on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPN Classic. All IndyCar Series broadcasts continued to utilize the popular Side-By-Side format in their first year of HD. Races were also broadcast on the IMS Radio Network and XM.

On February 26, 2008, the managements of IRL and Champ Car came to an agreement to become one entity. The move effectively ended a twelve-year split and reunited American Open Wheel racing.cite news
title=REPORT: Champ Car/IndyCar Deal Done
] cite news
title=Champ Car and IRL confirm merger

2008 IndyCar Series schedule

Round 2: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

*Sunday April 6, 2008 - 2:30 p.m. EDT
*Streets of St. Petersburg - St. Petersburg, Florida (1.8-mile temporary street course)
*Distance: 100 laps / 180 miles (shortened to 83 laps / 149.4 miles due to 2-hour time limit)
*Race weather: 78°F, rain & clouds
*Television: ESPN (Marty Reid, Scott Goodyear, Jack Arute, Vince Welch, Brienne Pedigo)
*Rating: 0.42
*Attendance: 45,000 (race day) cite news |url=http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/miller-rahal-white-and-blue/
title=MILLER: Rahal, White and Blue
*Pole position winner: #11 Tony Kanaan - 1:02.5322 sec, 103.627 mph (166.771 km/h)
*Race Summary:Heavy rain in the morning soaked the track, and left considerable standing water. The race was started under 10 laps of caution as the track dried. At the start, Tony Kanaan assumed the lead, but soon was passed by Justin Wilson. The early part of the race saw several spins by several cars, including Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti and Mario Moraes.

:On the 37th lap after a restart, rookie Graham Rahal was hit from behind by Will Power while running 3rd. He was able to continue. Several cautions slowed the race, including a crash by Ryan Briscoe, and a multi-car incident involving Vitor Meira, Franck Perera, and Townsend Bell. On the restart that followed, Rahal-Letterman Racing driver Ryan Hunter-Reay led Graham Rahal. Rahal got the jump and took the lead into the first turn. With time running out before the two-hout time limit, the race was poised to end before the scheduled distance. On the final restart, just under 4 minutes of racing remained. Rahal held off a charging Helio Castroneves and won his first race.

:At 19 years, 93 days old, Rahal became the youngest driver ever to win an Indy-style race, as well as the youngest winner in IndyCar Series history.cite news
url =http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080406/SPORTS0107/80406006
title =Rahal's victory sets open-wheel record
publisher =IndyStar.com
date = 2008-04-06
accessdate = 2008-04-08
] He broke Marco Andretti's record from 2006. He also became the fourth driver to win an IndyCar Series race in his first start, joining Buzz Calkins, Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Dixon.

Round 4: RoadRunner Turbo Indy 300

*Sunday April 27 - 4:00 p.m. CDT / 5:00 p.m. EDT
*Kansas Speedway - Kansas City, Kansas (1.52 mile oval)
*Distance: 200 laps / 304 miles
*Race weather: Mostly Sunny, 59°F
*Television: ESPN2 (Marty Reid, Scott Goodyear, Jack Arute, Vince Welch, Brienne Pedigo)
*Nielsen Ratings: 0.74 [ [http://thescore.ibj.com/content/?p=217 The Score » TV ratings up for Sunday’s IRL race ] ]
*Attendance: 70,000 (estimated) [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4179/is_20080428/ai_n25374138 Wheldon wins] ]
*Pole Position winner: #9 Scott Dixon 213.496 mph (343.589 km/h)
*Race Summary:At the start, Scott Dixon took the lead from the pole position. Meanwhile, Enrique Bernoldi spun and headed to the pits. On lap 23, Will Power crashed in turn 2. While the field pitted under the caution, Justin Wilson stayed out and took the lead.

:Dixon took the lead back on the restart, and maintained the lead through the next series of pit stops. On lap 98, the caution came out again for a crash involving E. J. Viso and Tomas Scheckter. After another long green flag segment, Buddy Rice brought out the yellow on lap 153 with a heavy crash in turn 2. In the pits, Danica Patrick retired from the race with a broken wheel hub. Meanwhile Scott Dixon, who had dominated most of the race, was shuffled back to seventh place.

:The race resumed after a long yellow with Dan Wheldon leading. Wheldon pulled away and led the final 49 laps to record his first IndyCar Series victory since April 2007.

Round 7: Bombardier Learjet 550

*Saturday June 7 - 9:00 p.m. CDT / 10:00 p.m. EDT
*Texas Motor Speedway - Fort Worth, Texas (1.455 mile oval)
*Distance: 228 laps / 331.74 miles (533.884 km)
*Race weather:
*Television: ESPN2 (Marty Reid, Scott Goodyear, Jack Arute, Brienne Pedigo)
*Nielsen Ratings: 1.0 "(highest rated IRL race broadcast on ESPN2 and second-highest rated IRL race on any ESPN station)"
*Attendance: 83,000
*Pole Position winner: #9 Scott Dixon 1:37.5063 214.878 mph (345.813 km/h) (4 laps)
*Race Summary:In the first half, three single-car incidents involving Mario Dominguez, Justin Wilson, and Oriol Servia slowed the race. The lead changed hands between Helio Castroneves, Bruno Junqueira, and Scott Dixon for the first 100 laps.

:Two sequences of green flag pit stops occurred under a long strech of green flag conditions. A caution for debris came out on lap 165, sending the leaders to the pits once more. Vitor Meira stayed out to take over the lead.

:With 21 laps to go, Meira was forced to pit for fuel, giving up the lead to Marco Andretti. Moments later, Enrique Bernoldi crashed in turn four. Andretti led the field back to green on lap 219.

:With six laps to go, Scott Dixon slipped by Andretti to take the lead. On the next lap, down the backstrech, third place Ryan Hunter-Reay dove below Andretti heading into turn three. Hunter-Reay pinched his left wheels onto the apron, lost control, and touched wheels with Andretti. Both cars spun and crashed hard into the wall. The race finished under caution with Dixon the winner, and Helio Castroneves slipping by the accident to finish second.

Round 10: Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix

*Sunday July 6 - 3:30 p.m. EDT
*Watkins Glen International - Watkins Glen, New York (3.40 mile permanent road course)
*Distance: 60 laps / 204 miles (328.3 km)
*Race weather:
*Television: ABC (Marty Reid, Scott Goodyear, Jack Arute, Brienne Pedigo)
*Nielsen Ratings: 1.1
*Attendance: 30,000 [Miller, Robin. [http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/miller-open-wheel-notebook1/ Open Wheel Notebook] , July 8, 2008]
*Pole Position winner: #6 Ryan Briscoe 1:29.3456 135.787 mph (218.528 km/h)
*Race Summary

:Polesitter Ryan Briscoe led from the start, but Scott Dixon, who qualified fourth, quickly passed Justin Wilson and Ryan Hunter-Reay to move into second for most of the first half of the race. Dixon was unable to pass Briscoe, but posed a serious challenge and posted comparable lap times.

:The start of the race was relatively attrition-free, expect for incidents involving two championship contenders. Dan Wheldon made contact with Darren Manning on the first lap, leading to suspension damage for Wheldon. On lap 6 Hélio Castroneves, who had started last after being unable to post a time in qualifying due to a broken throttle, snapping his streak of three consecutive poles at Watkins Glen, had a gearbox problem and stopped just shy of pit lane. With few other drivers dropping out in the first 40 laps, Dixon was poised to massively increase his points lead.

:After a brief interlude when Vitor Meira led during a pit stop cycle, Briscoe and Dixon returned to the top two positions and thoroughly dominated the race, leading third-place Hunter-Reay by over 20 seconds. However, Meira and E. J. Viso made contact in turn 8 and the ensuing caution period allowed the other lead-lap cars to catch up to Briscoe and Dixon. All drivers pitted on this caution period except Manning, who stayed out of the pits in an attempt to stretch his fuel mileage. Dixon beat Briscoe and Hunter-Reay out of the pits, but Manning took the lead.

:A brief green-flag period on lap 44 ended when Enrique Bernoldi crashed in turn 1, and then the race took a rather unusual turn, with two wrecks occurring under the caution period, before the race returned to green. A restart was waved off when A. J. Foyt IV and Milka Duno crashed in turn 9. Once that was cleaned up, and the IRL officials attempted to restart the race again, Dixon, who was swerving his tires to clean them, unexpectedly spun out and collected Briscoe. Hunter-Reay, who avoided the wreck, suddenly found himself second to Manning.

:On lap 51, the race returned to green, with Manning ahead of Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay, who had no need to conserve fuel, newer tires, and a stronger car, easily dispatched of Manning in a short green-flag period before another caution came out for Jaime Camara's crash in turn 6. This was the final caution of the race, and Hunter-Reay won easily, claiming his first win in IndyCar, his first American open wheel win since 2004, and the Rahal Letterman Racing team's first win since 2004, with Buddy Rice. Manning did not come close to running out of fuel with all the cautions and finished second, his best career finish. With Castroneves, Wheldon, and Dixon's trouble, Tony Kanaan, who finished third, was the big gainer in the points standings, but Dixon still held a lead of 48 points on Castroneves, and 51 on Wheldon.

=Round 13: Rexall Edmonton Indy=

*Saturday July 26 - 3:00 p.m. MDT / 5:00 p.m. EDT
*Edmonton City Centre Airport - Edmonton, Alberta (1.96 mile temporary airport course)
*Distance: 95 laps / 186.2 miles (299.669 km) (shortened to 91 laps / 178.36 miles due to 1-hour 50-minute time limit)
*Race weather:
*Television: ESPN (Bob Jenkins, Scott Goodyear, Jon Beekhuis, Brienne Pedigo)
*Nielsen Ratings:
*Attendance: 60,000
*Pole Position winner:#6 Ryan Briscoe 1:00.7311 116.955 mph (188.221 km/h)
*Race Summary:

=Round 16: Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone=

*Sunday August 31 - 2:30 p.m. CDT / 3:30 p.m. EDT
*The Raceway on Belle Isle - Detroit, Michigan (2.07 mile temporary street course)
*Distance: 90 laps / 186.3 miles (shortened to 87 laps / 180.09 miles due to 2-hour time limit)
*Race weather:
*Television: ABC (Marty Reid, Scott Goodyear, Jack Arute, Vince Welch, Brienne Pedigo)
*Nielsen Ratings:
*Pole Position winner: #9 Scott Dixon 1:12.2861 sec, 103.090 mph (165.907 km/h)
*Race Summary:The finish to this race was not without controversy. Late in the race, Castroneves led Wilson by less than a second, and Castroneves appeared to make an illegal block, causing IRL officials to penalize him, allowing Wilson to move past and take the win by more than 4 seconds.

Bold - Pole
* - Most Laps Led (3 bonus points)
"Note 1:" Motegi and Long Beach run on same day (Motegi for IRL and Long Beach for ChampCar).
"Note 2:" Surfers Paradise is a non-championship round.
"Note 3:" As Tracy drove for Vision at Edmonton, he scored no points for his Long Beach appearance.
"Note 4:" As Tagliani drove for Conquest at Detroit, he scored no points for his Long Beach appearance.
"Note 5:" Orange background signifies driver running for Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year.

*Ties in points broken by number of wins, or best finishes.


See also

* 2008 Atlantic Championship season
* 2008 Champ Car World Series season (cancelled)
* 2008 Indianapolis 500
* 2008 Indy Lights season
* 2008 in sports

External links

* [http://www.indycar.com Indy Racing League- official site]
* [http://www.indy500.com Indianapolis 500 - official site]
* [http://www.indystar.com Indianapolis Star]

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