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Dixon wins race, Franchitti wins appeal at Toronto

Sunday - 7/14/2013, 12:02am  ET

New Zealand's Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the IndyCar auto race in Toronto on Saturday, July 13, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Michelle Siu)

JENNA FRYER
AP Auto Racing Writer

TORONTO (AP) -- Long after Scott Dixon raised the winner's trophy for the second week in a row, controversy and comedy hung over the first of two races through the streets of Toronto.

What was certain was that Dixon's win Saturday at Exhibition Place was the 31st of his career and moved him into a tie for seventh all-time with teammate Dario Franchitti, Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy.

It was also official that Bourdais finished second for his first podium since the 2007 Champ Car season. He didn't get much of a celebration, though: His trophy slipped off the pedestal and smashed into thousands of pieces.

So he raised the biggest chunk he could find in triumph on a podium shared with Dixon and third-place finisher Franchitti.

Then right before the traditional champagne spray, the party turned serious: IndyCar had stripped Franchitti of his finish for blocking Will Power on the final restart. Franchitti's Target Chip Ganassi Racing appealed the penalty, and the driver was summoned before series officials at least an hour after the race.

It left the final finishing order undecided for two hours as the Ganassi team presented data from the incident.

The end result? Almost two hours after the race, Franchitti was returned to his third-place finish.

And to think, IndyCar gets to do it all over again Sunday in the second of three doubleheader weekends on this year's schedule.

Dixon will be trying to make it three in a row, just a week after picking up his first win of the season at Pocono. There's a $50,000 bonus out there if he can sweep the Toronto doubleheader.

"Yeah, you know, it sounds simple, right?" Dixon said. "But it's not going to be. There will be people trying to mix it up; people who had a bad day today will be trying to make it up in race two."

Things got hairy right at the start of Saturday's race, which was supposed to be the IndyCar debut of standings starts. But race control aborted the procedure when Josef Newgarden's car stalled on the track and the drivers couldn't line up in the proper formation.

The drivers were pulled off the grid and brought back around the track for the traditional rolling start as the crowd howled its displeasure in being denied the highly anticipated standing start.

IndyCar wasn't scheduled to try a standing start on Sunday to the delight of most of the drivers who feel they haven't had enough practice to execute it correctly. But Marco Andretti said IndyCar should reconsider after Saturday's failure.

"It matters what the fans want at this point, I think," he said.

IndyCar announced after the Franchitti appeal that it will attempt a standing start on Sunday. It's wasn't high on the list of things to do for the drivers.

"I could take it or leave it," Dixon said. "I have a feeling if they do do it, it may result in the same thing that happened today."

Following the aborted start were warnings from race control to several drivers about jumping over the curbs. Told they had to keep two tires on the track at all times early in the race, race control later reversed the decision and said drivers could jump the curbs.

As the race continued, Tristan Vautier was penalized for avoidable contact with Graham Rahal, and Justin Wilson was penalized for his role in an accident with Charlie Kimball and Ryan Briscoe, who broke a bone in his right wrist that will require surgery.

Panther Racing didn't immediately announce a replacement driver Saturday night, but Carlos Munoz tweeted he will replace Briscoe in Sunday's race. Panther said Briscoe could be back in the car by Mid-Ohio next month.

Dixon emphatically believed Bourdais jumped the restart with 16 laps remaining and demanded a penalty be called on Bourdais over his radio. No penalty was called and Bourdais believed he did nothing wrong, hitting the gas when team owner Jay Penske told him the flag was green.

"Jay called the green and I saw it move, I just went," Bourdais said. "He braked because he saw I was getting a run. He basically tried to get it aborted."

Dixon team strategist Mike Hull implored the driver to stay composed. He pulled himself together and went on to pass Bourdais with nine laps remaining, but he still believed Bourdais had an illegal start.

"I hate dwelling on bad things, but I think it's a point that needs to be addressed," Dixon said.

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