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Hinchcliffe started seventh, but fell far off the pace after he was forced onto the grass by Alex Tagliani on the very first lap. He moved up consistently until taking his first-ever IndyCar lead.
"I managed to keep Scott and Dario at bay while making the fuel mileage that we needed because obviously we were stretching it a little bit," Hinchcliffe said.
Dixon didn't even try to overtake him.
"I asked the team to see how many laps until James was going to have to pit," Dixon said. "They said, `You've got the option to either try and pass him or just save fuel.' I can't say I really attempted to pass him."
When Hinchcliffe finally pitted, Dixon jousted for the lead for the next few laps until taking control over Franchitti on the pivotal pass. From there he just stretched his lead, eventually winning by 7.6508 seconds.
"As hard as I could go, I wasn't going to catch Scott," said Franchitti, chasing his third straight drivers' title. "I tried and he was still pulling away."
Takuma Sato was fourth and Tony Kanaan fifth.
Danica Patrick led briefly after also putting off her first pit stop but faded to 21st.
No. 2 qualifier Ryan Brisco was 16th and Hinchcliffe spun out late to lose precious seconds and fell to 20th. Local favorite Graham Rahal, who started sixth, ended up 24th after running off the track once and stalling his car in the pits another time.
Dixon, who pocketed his 25th win in nine years in IndyCar, has three wins, a third and two fifths in his last six starts at Mid-Ohio.
"Sorry to make it so boring toward the end of the race," he said about cruising to the finish. "But I didn't mind."
And he didn't even wave goodbye.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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