LEXINGTON, Ohio – Scott Dixon is still the king of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion scored his sixth career victory at the 13-turn, 2.258-mile circuit during Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
It was Dixon’s 46th career Indy car win. He now pulls to within six of Mario Andretti’s total of 52, second on the all-time wins list.
Dixon defeated rookie teammate Felix Rosenqvist by .0934 seconds – the closest Indy car finish at Mid-Ohio and the third-closest Indy car finish on a road or street course.
Only races at Portland Int’l Raceway in 1997 and 1986 were closer than Sunday’s thriller.
“These days are huge,” Dixon said. “I think I understand and know what it takes to get something — I think the ones like this coming from eighth and being able to pass cars and make the strategy work and as a team effort and have a one-two finish for Chip (Ganassi, his team owner) I think is huge. It could have been a one-two either way there (on) the last lap with Felix Rosenqvist.
“But I’m just super proud of the team. It’s almost unheard of to have cars that were sixth and eighth on the grid come through and drive through the field like we did today to finish first and second.”
Dixon started eighth and raced his way to the lead on a set of Firestone red tires, that gave him the speed and advantage he needed.
He was involved in a brilliant side-by-side battle with Will Power that could be best described as a “man’s race” when the two champions fiercely fought for position in what would ultimately be the determining factor in getting Dixon to the lead.
That battle began on lap 32 after their first pit stops and Power was on black tires. The two drivers raced through the tight turns of the track, even bumping a time or two, before Dixon passed Power on lap 34.
At the time, it was a battle for ninth and 10th place, but with a mixed-up field of pit strategy, it ultimately allowed Dixon to drive to a huge lead once he took over first place on lap 46.
Dixon would ultimately build a 14.2908-second lead over his rookie teammate Rosenqvist.
“Honestly, from where I sat, he didn’t really give me any room, which I was kind of disappointed, especially on the approach,” Dixon said of Power. “When you’re coming in there at 185 miles an hour and he was giving me kind of a half a car width into turn four, I expected a little bit more from him on that. And then obviously when I got around him in five and then he just drove me off, obviously it’s good for a spectator, but for me it was not so good. I knew we were going to get him, it’s just – it added like another five- or six-second delay to what I had.
“But Will is going to drive tough. He’s racing for wins right now, and he’s a hell of a competitor, and as we’ve seen, the guy is super-fast. But I probably would have expected a little bit more (respect) from him in those situations.”