Dixon Owns Indy


More than four weeks ago, the best open wheel drivers in the IndyCar Series descended on Indianapolis, Indiana for the 92nd running of the Indy 500. This race is unlike any in sports, with four weeks being spent at the same location to do time trials in determining the pole positions, practice runs and smaller races leading up to the grand daddy of them all.

Week two of the month-long event saw Oakley’s Scott Dixon take his first ever pole position at Indy, with an insane speed of 226.366 MPH. Rounding out Oakley’s presence were Graham Rahl qualifying 13th, Bruno Junqueira in 15th and Ryan Hunter Ray in the 20th position.

When Memorial Day weekend finally rolled around, everyone was ready for the hot action to kick into place. Friday was your typical spring day in Indy with rainy skies and cool temps, which gave way to sunny skies for Saturday’s parade and warmer temps on race day. Oakley had an overwhelming presence from Bruno Junqueira’s Oakley race suit, to young gun Graham Rahl sporting Oakley’s new Half-Wire sunglass to Scott Dixon’s custom Oakley racing boots and gloves. Everywhere you looked, there we were.

Off the track, Oakley had the Rolling O Lab set up on Georgetown and 16th Street, “the” intersection for the Indy 500. And once again the crew of the Rolling O Lab crushed it at another top event. This year’s location on 16th Street saw some insane foot and car traffic, with close to a million people passing by over the three-day weekend. The masses were educated on Oakley’s superior products. Also, the ESPN camera crew came through the Lab to shoot a segment on Saturday. Look for this segment to air at the next Indy Race in the coming weeks showcasing Oakley’s testing demo by Micah Murray.

Additionally, through the great work of Oakley filmier Mark Shonka and Oakley 4-Wheel Sports Marketing Manager Todd Hayes, we were able to utilize ESPN’s studios for our video interviews with Bruno, Ryan and Scott. Look for these interesting interviews to hit Oakley.com in the coming weeks, including some action footage shot on race day with the “Red” camera.

On Sunday, race fever was at an all-time high with more than 400,000 people in attendance and a 5 point TV rating – one could tell the unification had brought back the Indy 500 mania. One of Oakley’s top MotoGP driver’s, Nicky Hayden (2006 MotoGP Champ) made a few laps around the legendary Indy Motor Speedway to pump the crowd up for the forthcoming inaugural MotoGP race at Indy in September.

As 1:11pm crept closer, Scott Dixon seemed calm throughout, even as he got ready on the bricks starting line, he joked around with Hayes and several friends. But as soon as the announcer spoke the magic words (“Drivers Start Your Engines”) it was game on for everyone.

Throughout the next three hours Scott Dixon would dominate the majority of the race, holding the number one position for the first few laps and then letting his Target teammate take the lead for a short while as he felt out the field. For a brief two laps Bruno lead the race, but would skip a costly pit stop that would eventually cost him a top ten finish. From that point on Dixon would trade the top position a half dozen times before taking the lead on lap 172, where he would never relinquish that lead. Finishing almost a full two seconds ahead of the runner-up driver of Vitor Maira, Dixon dominated the number one event in all of sports.

Not since Juan Pablo Montoya’s win in 2000 has Oakley put a racecar driver on the winner’s podium at the Indy 500. Dixon lead the race seven different times for a total of 115 laps, earning him $2.98 million dollars, the largest purse ever.

Other top highlights included Ryan Hunter Ray winning the Chase Rookie of the Year Award by finishing sixth at his first Indy 500. Starting in the 20th position, Ryan had a lot of ground to cover to finish sixth including seven major crashes. He climbed into the top 10 by Lap 80 and stayed there the rest of the race. Hunter Ray comes over from the unification process, where he formerly dominated in the ChampCar Series for the past two years.

Bruno Junqueira made his first appearance since crashing hard in the 2005 race that resulted in a broken back and a long road to recovery. But after a few surgeries and strong work ethic Bruno climbed back into his Indy Car and was racing again. Look for Junqueira to do well in the upcoming road courses, such as Watkins Glen in July.

Big thanks go out to Todd Hayes, Mark Shonka, the Rolling O Lab Crew, Indy Sales Rep Scott Skelton, Scott Betty and of course our drivers at the Indy.

Click on the image below to view a 37 photo flash gallery, and make sure to scroll over the photos to read the captions.

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Matt Murray


May 27, 2008