Dixon Collects 50th IndyCar Series Victory

0
585
Scott Dixon claimed his 50th Indy car victory Saturday afternoon at World Wide Technology Raceway. (IndyCar Photo)
Scott Dixon claimed his 50th Indy car victory Saturday afternoon at World Wide Technology Raceway. (IndyCar Photo)

MADISON, Ill. – Scott Dixon’s latest victory is proof that 40 is the new 50.

Dixon’s victory in Saturday’s first race of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 doubleheader weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway was the 50th Indy car win for the 40-year-old driver from New Zealand.

He is the third driver in Indy car history to win 50 races in his career. A.J. Foyt is the leader with 67 wins and Mario Andretti won 52 races during his career.

Dixon, who turned 40 on July 22, was able to get out of the pits ahead of Pato O’Ward during the final round of pit stops on lap 162 of the 200-lap race.

In a flip from last Sunday’s 104th Indianapolis 500, Dixon was able to hold off a charging Takuma Sato. Six days ago, it was Sato who won his second Indianapolis 500 when he was able to fend off Dixon prior to a late-race caution.

The end of the race featured a thrilling duel between Dixon and Sato, with Dixon finishing .1404 seconds ahead of Sato. It is the second closest finish in NTT IndyCar Series competition at World Wide Technology Raceway, following only last year’s finish between Sato and Ed Carpenter.

Sato was attempting to become the first driver since Juan Pablo Montoya to win the Indianapolis 500 and another race on back-to-back weekends. Montoya did it in 2000 when he won at Indianapolis and at the Milwaukee Mile on consecutive weekends.

“That was a textbook Scott Dixon race today,” team owner Chip Ganassi said after Dixon won his fourth race of the season. “It was steady, nothing fancy.”

Dixon’s points lead increased to 117 points over defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden with six races remaining, including Sunday’s second race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Dixon was the 11th different Indy car winner in as many races at the 1.25-mile short oval.

“It’s awesome,” Dixon said. “That was a superb race all day. Sato was coming strong at the end and we were in reserve mode with the engine and he was coming at a full head of steam.

“It’s nice to get a win. Fifty sounds awesome, but we need to get a few more. This is awesome.”

After falling short of winning the Indianapolis 500 last Sunday, it didn’t take Dixon long to bounce back.

“That’s what is so cool about the NTT IndyCar Series, you go from one race to the other. Usually, it’s Detroit the week after Indy; but this time it’s St. Louis,” Dixon said. “It’s another big day for points.”

Dixon is attempting to claim his sixth NTT IndyCar Series championship this year. He’s won four of the eight races so far this year.

Sato said it was a strong effort by the team and he thought he might have had a shot at Dixon.

“My boys have done a great job the last two weeks and I’m very proud of them,” said Sato, who moved up to fourth in points.

Pato O’Ward, who led 94 laps, finished third for Arrow McLaren SP.

“I thought we had very strong pace all race,” O’Ward said. “We rolled out of the gates very strong. In the end, I don’t know what these guys did, but Dixon got in front of us in the pits and then Sato had so much more pace than us.

“When he passed us, he left us.”

Colton Herta was fourth with Marcus Ericsson rounding out the top five.

There was a major crash as the field rolled to the green flag to start the race that was triggered when rookie driver Alex Palou jumped out of line during a slow start. That stacked up the field, with several drivers having to slam on the brakes.

Oliver Askew drove his Honda into the back of Simon Pagenaud’s Chevrolet, which sent Pagenaud into the back of Alexander Rossi’s Honda, sending both into the wall.

Three Andretti Autosport cars were taken out in the wreck including Rossi, Zach Veach and Marco Andretti. There were six cars involved.