It was Dixon’s third-straight victory in a double-header format after sweeping the doubleheader at Toronto in July.
“Mechanical grip and the way we use the tires is fairly similar,” Dixon said. “We struggled a little bit in qualifying on Saturday. We’ve still got some speed to find and we can always keep improving but our car over 30 laps on tires seems to hang on better than the others.”
Dixon’s Dallara/Honda was out front twice for 44 laps – the most of any other driver in the race. Power led two times for 40 laps. The pole winner, Sato, led the first six laps before fading and ultimately ending up in the turn three tire barrier on Lap 73.
When Mike Conway crashed in turn nine with just three laps remaining, Dixon cruised to the checkered flag behind the pace car.
The victory ended six week’s worth of frustration from calls that went against him at Sonoma, Calif., and the Grand Prix of Baltimore and put a major dent in his championship race.
“I think the last two races it could have been a lot better,” Dixon said. “Yeah, it’s been strong. The car, the guys have not given up. They’ve been working hard. We had a couple of good tests, one in Sebring and one in California to try and improve, and the development has still been strong on the team side and with Honda, as well.
“Coming here we probably liked the chances just for the fact that it’s a street course, and both the 9 (Dixon’s car) and the 10 (Dario Franchitti) have been strong at the street courses just recently. We struggled a little bit in qualifying. The car felt pretty good, started to get up to speed on the reds and then Pagenaud came out and trying to get back up to speed on the reds was a bit of a tough run for us, so I think we got the maximum that we could have maybe got out of it then. Hopefully we can slightly improve tomorrow in qualifying. Should be interesting.
“Going into this race after the last two, the points deficit was big. It was 49 points. We talked about the scenarios and the scenario that we needed was for the 3 car (Castroneves) to have a bad day and us to have a good one, and that would make a big difference in the championship fight. It was nice to see that today.
“Sunday is another day. It could be the opposite, and we could be in the hole tomorrow. It’s a nice move for us today, and hopefully we can build on that.”