ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Scott Dixon isn’t getting older, he’s getting better.
The NTT IndyCar Series legend proved that by winning Saturday’s REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR at Road America, the first race of a weekend doubleheader.
Dixon has won all three races to open the NTT IndyCar Series season. It was career win No. 49 as the five-time champion is now three victories away from matching Mario Andretti’s 52 wins, which is second on the all-time Indy car win list. A.J. Foyt is the all-time victory leader with 67.
Dixon defeated Will Power by 2.5386 seconds. Rookie driver Alex Palou finished third for Dale Coyne Racing Team GOH, followed by Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay and Colton Herta.
The last time Dixon won three-straight races was in 2013 when he won at Pocono Raceway, followed by a sweep of the doubleheader weekend in Toronto, Ontario.
“It was a good drive,” team owner Chip Ganassi said. “We didn’t start where we wanted to today, but he persevered. It was about the in laps and the out laps. I would like to start a little better on Sunday, that would be best.”
Dixon finished Saturday morning’s practice 15th, fastest but improved to ninth in qualifying with a time of 1:45.9324.
Saturday’s race was the first time spectators were allowed to attend an NTT IndyCar Series race in 2020 and a sizable crowd was in attendance at Road America.
Dixon took the lead during a round of pit stops during a caution period when Power, then the leader, had a slow pit stop. Dixon got off pit road first and never gave up the lead for the remainder of the race.
“We came out of the pits, and they said, ‘You and Power are first and second.’ I was like, ‘How? How?’ I know we had huge out laps and a big in lap, as well. Definitely proud to be powered by Honda here,” Dixon said. “It’s a huge weekend for us, with a doubleheader. The car is difficult to drive. Huge thanks to everyone on the PNC crew. We dialed it in a bit during the race but still really tricky on the rears. Hard to keep them under you. But it looked like a lot of other people were struggling, as well. That was awesome, man.”
Power started fifth, but finished second in his battle with Dixon, who beat him out of the pits on the final stop.
“Unfortunately we had to pit under yellow. Oh, man. I don’t know what to do anymore. We had the wrong gears in the car, as well. Unfortunately, that kind of hurt those restarts,” Power said. “I don’t know what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to sit down as a team and try to understand how we can execute a bit better, especially when we let wins like that go.
“I don’t know what happened on the pit stop there. I think we had Dixon covered. He was pretty good, but I don’t think he would have got by us.”
Palou started 14th and was impressive in his third IndyCar start to finish third.
“It’s amazing. It feels so good. It took time to be here. We’re still not there. We need more practice. But we’re getting there. I feel more comfortable with the car, with the team,” Palou said.
Team Penske driver and 2018 Road America winner Josef Newgarden started on the pole and led by as much as 9.9772 seconds before he stalled on his second pit stop on lap 28. Newgarden’s lengthy pit stop dropped him back to 16th. He finished 12th.
It’s a quick turnaround for the NTT IndyCar Series drivers as they qualify Sunday morning at 10 a.m., followed by the race that begins at 12:30 p.m. EST. The NBC broadcast begins at Noon EST.
Although the crowd at the race did not approach the 50,000 or so that have attended in the past, Road America officials said it was the largest crowd to attend a sporting event in the United States since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down began in mid-March.
For complete results, advance to the next page.