Dixon Starts Last, Finishes First At Mid-Ohio
Publicly, at least, Scott Dixon didn’t seem all that distressed about having to start dead last in Sunday’s IndyCar Series race at Mid-Ohio. Perhaps during the race, he said after qualifying, he would catch some breaks and still have a shot at a decent finish.
Dixon’s finish in the Honda Indy 200 turned out to be more than decent. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver notched his 34th career victory and his fifth in his last eight starts on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course.
“Truthfully, I didn’t think it was possible,” said Dixon, who has now won in 10 consecutive seasons. “Great pit stops by everybody on Team Target and the strategy was spot on once we got that (Lap 37) yellow. Long, hard-fought day but huge thanks to Chevy and obviously we got fantastic fuel mileage there, too.”
Pole-winner Sebastien Bourdais finished second, 5.3864 seconds behind Dixon.
“That was tough,” Bourdais said. “Hats off to Dixie (Scott Dixon) and the (Chip) Ganassi guys. We didn’t have anything for them. They were clearly the class of the field and deserve it. It is a one-two for Chevy so I couldn’t be any happier with the Mistic boys. We will keep rolling.”
Dixon gave Chip Ganassi Racing its first victory of the season and is the 10th different driver representing seven teams to win this season.
“We had a couple close calls in Iowa (fourth place) and Pocono (fifth place) and finally came through,” team owner Chip Ganassi said.
James Hinchcliffe finished a season-high third in the No. 27 United Fiber & Data car and Andretti Autosport teammate Carlos Munoz placed fourth. Graham Rahal of New Albany, Ohio, earned his second top-five finish on a road/street course this season in the No. 15 National Guard Rahal Letterman Racing car.
“That start was pretty crazy,” Hinchcliffe said. “Going down into Turn 4 there, it was like the seas parted in front of me. I felt bad for the guys that got involved in that wreck, but it allowed us to get up there a little bit. The car was really fast, we were running off some really good lap times there. We got caught behind a couple of guys, and at some point we might have been able to pick one more spot up. I’m really proud of the United Fiber & Data guys.”
Will Power finished sixth to wrestle the Verizon IndyCar Series championship points lead from Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves. The door opened for Power before the green flag as Castroneves’ No. 3 Hitachi car pulled into its pit box with what was diagnosed as a stuck throttle. Castroneves joined the race four laps down and finished 19th.
Castroneves, who entered Round 15 ahead of Power by 13 points, heads to the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest on Aug. 17 four points back (548-544).
“At first, I thought the throttle issue was a quick fix because as soon as they started the car for ‘gentlemen, start your engines’ I knew there was something wrong,” Castroneves said. “Then, during the parade laps, I noticed that it was stuck. That could be a big problem and cause a big crash. When we came back down pit road we figured out it was a bigger problem. There was just a bit of a mistake in our fuel mapping. It was a tough race, knowing that I was on a lap by myself the entire time. We will just to rebound from this. We might have been knocked down but we will get back up. On to Milwaukee.”No Comment