2009 marked the fourteenth season of the IndyCar Series and the second year of the reunification between the Indy Racing League and Champ Car World Series. Seventeen rounds would be contested to determine titles for teams and drivers.

The season opened in early April at Saint Petersburg, Florida, and ended in October at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Florida. In between these two weekends, there were races held at Long Beach, Kansas Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, The Milwaukee Mile, Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Richmond International Speedway, Watkins Glen International, Toronto, Edmonton, Kentucky Speedway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Infineon Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway and Twin Ring Motegi.

There were some newsworthy stories for the 2009 season:

  • Schedule changes included the addition of Long Beach and Toronto – with the Nashville Superspeedway and Detroit’s Belle Isle being removed from the 2009 calendar.
  • After a year of competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Dario Franchitti returned to IndyCar, driving for Chip Ganassi Racing.
  • Helio Castroneves was charged with tax evasion and his place on the team was taken by Will Power. When Castroneves returned to the series, a third Penske entry was added for Power.
  • Honda was supposed to end their relationship with the IndyCar series as the only engine supplier at the end of the 2009 season - but the deal was extended until 2011.
  • As a result of the popularity and demand from teams for the Dallara IR-05 chassis, Panoz stopped producing a car for the series.
  • Series management signed a ten-year television contract with the Versus TV Network.

Teams continued to use the Dallara IR-05 chassis and the Honda engine. The Honda HR7R-HR11R used by entrants is a 3.5-liter aluminum-alloy V8 engine. The fuel-injected normally-aspirated motor produces 650-horsepower at 10,300-rpm.

Round nine of the 2009 IndyCar championship was held at Watkins Glen International. Competitors would race around the 3.337-mile eleven-turn road course for sixty laps in an event titled the Camping World Indy Grand Prix at the Glen.

Justin Wilson grabbed his first series win at Detroit last year, but his victory at Watkins Glen International this season was of greater significance. For his team owner, Dale Coyne, this was his first win in North America’s top open-wheel championship in nearly twenty-five years and in 558 attempts. In addition, it broke the ten-race streak of either a Penske or Ganassi driver collecting the victory.
Finishing in the runner-up position was Ryan Briscoe, driving the No. 6 Team Penske prepared Dallara IR-05. Briscoe was seeking redemption at Watkins Glen for a couple of reasons. Last year at the Glen, he made contact with a spinning Scott Dixon while contending for the win and finished twelfth. Most recently, Briscoe retired due to hitting the wall in the previous round at Richmond International Raceway.
Despite his back luck at Watkins Glen International last year, Scott Dixon has three victories at the track in four starts. Dixon also entered round nine in a tight battle with Dario Franchitti for the championship lead. He trailed Franchitti by a single marker. At Watkins Glen, Dixon qualified third fastest in the No. 9 Ganassi Racing Dallara IL-05. He would finish in the same position and lead the title chase by nineteen points.
Like his teammate Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves also retired after an accident at Richmond International Raceway. Castroneves was fourth in the standings after victories at the Indy 500 and Texas Motor Speedway. He drove the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara IL-05. A miscue during the qualifying session saw Castroneves gridded thirteenth for the sixty-lap contest. Strategy during the race resulted in fourth place.
Andretti Green Racing’s Marco Andretti had an exciting weekend at Watkins Glen International. Andretti qualified eighth fastest in the No. 26 Venom Energy Drink sponsored Dallara IL-05. On lap-6, he was battling with E.J. Viso when contact between the two resulted in a flat tire for Andretti. Andretti pitted and went down a lap. During the remainder of the race, he battled back to get on the lead lap and finish fifth.
The No. 24 Dreyer and Reinbold Racing Dallara IL-05 with backing from Dad’s Root Beer was driven by Great Britain’s Mike Conway. The rookie had an impressive racing record, including winning the 2006 British Formula 3 championship. In his first eight rounds of the series, he had five accidents. More comfortable on the road courses, Conway qualified and finished sixth at Watkins Glen International.
Perhaps the driver with the highest-profile in the series was Danica Patrick. Patrick joined the Indy Racing League in 2005 with Rahal Letterman Racing and moved to Andretti Green Racing before winning her first event. This season she was piloting the No. 7 Boost Mobile / Motorola-sponsored Dallara IL-05. Entering round nine, Patrick was fifth in the standings. She qualified seventh at Watkins Glen and finished eleventh.
It was a bad weekend for the points leader Dario Franchitti. Franchitti left IndyCar in 2008 to compete in the NASCAR series. After one season, he returned to the open-wheel series and collected wins at Long Beach and Iowa. Franchitti was fifth fastest in qualifying at Watkins Glen when he had heavy contact in turn eleven. The car was repaired and he finished fifteenth, dropping him to second in the standings.

12Justin WilsonDallara IR-05 / HondaDale Coyne Racing60-
21Ryan BriscoeDallara IR-05 / HondaTeam Penske60-
33Scott DixonDallara IR-05 / HondaTarget Chip Ganassi Racing60-
413Hélio CastronevesDallara IR-05 / HondaTeam Penske60-
58Marco AndrettiDallara IR-05 / HondaAndretti Green Racing60-
66Mike ConwayDallara IR-05 / HondaDreyer & Reinbold Racing60-
710E.J. VisoDallara IR-05 / HondaHVM Racing60-
89Tony KanaanDallara IR-05 / HondaAndretti Green Racing60-
917Robert DoornbosDallara IR-05 / HondaHVM Racing60-
1011Dan WeldonDallara IR-05 / HondaPanther Racing60-
117Danica PatrickDallara IR-05 / HondaAndretti Green Racing60-
1218Raphael MatosDallara IR-05 / HondaLuczo Dragon Racing60-
1315Graham RahalDallara IR-05 / HondaNewman Haas Lanigan Racing60-
144Mario MoraesDallara IR-05 / HondaKV Racing Technology60-
155Dario FranchittiDallara IR-05 / HondaTarget Chip Ganassi Racing59-
1621Ed CarpenterDallara IR-05 / HondaVision Racing59-
1719Milka DunoDallara IR-05 / HondaDreyer & Reinbold Racing58-
1812Hideki MutohDallara IR-05 / HondaAndretti Green Racing51Accident
1920Richard AntinucciDallara IR-05 / HondaTeam 3G47-
2014Paul TracyDallara IR-05 / HondaKV Racing Technology29Accident
2116Ryan Hunter-ReayDallara IR-05 / HondaA.J. Foyt Enterprises0Accident

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