Dixon Bags Fifth IndyCar Win At Texas

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 2 2021

Scott Dixon dominated at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

FORT WORTH, Texas _ Scott Dixon and fellow-New Zealander Scott McLaughlin collaborated to turn Saturday night’s NTT IndyCar Series Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway into the Kiwi Invitational.

Dixon, the six-time/reigning series champion, schooled the field by leading a race-record 206 of 212 laps for his first victory of the 2021 season. Dixon wheeled his No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to a margin of victory of 0.2646-seconds over McLaughlin, the three-time Australian V8 Supercars champion making his oval-track debut.

“It was a bit of a crazy night for us,” said Dixon, who scored his record fifth INDYCAR victory at TMS. “Definitely very tense there at the end. It was kind of cool to be racing a countryman for the last few laps. Fifth win at Texas, baby! That was awesome.”

Dixon had shared the TMS open-wheel record for wins with Brazilian Helio Castroneves of Team Penske. Ironically, McLaughlin now drives the No. 3 car “Spiderman” made famous with a trio of Indianapolis 500 victories.

The win also drove Dixon further into domestic open-wheel racing’s record book. Dixon now has 51 career victories, one short of tying open-wheel legend Mario Andretti for second. That list is topped by native Texan A.J. Foyt Jr.’s 67 wins.

“It feels amazing to be in this position,” said Dixon, 40 and in his 21st series season. “You just never want it to end. We want to go back-to-back and try to tie Mario (Sunday). I’m sure that’s not exactly what he wants to see. We’ll keep our head down.”

Race 2 of this doubleheader, the XPEL 375, is scheduled for 248-laps on Sunday. Live coverage starts at 5 p.m. (EDT) on NBC Sports Network and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

And there’s more “Dixie.” The victory marked Dixon’s 19th season with at least one win. He also took the championship points lead from CGR teammate Alex Palou via his third victory in the last four seasons on TMS’ high-banked/1.5-mile oval.

Dixon started third on points after wet weather prompted INDYCAR officials to cancel two-laps of qualifying _ one for each race. Dixon built comfortable leads of three to five seconds at various points during the race, which went the distance despite the threat of rain in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. But McLaughlin applied steady pressure after final pit stops for most of the field under caution on Lap 165.

McLaughlin, 26, displayed the tactical sense of an oval racing veteran, staying within about half- a-second of Dixon during the closing laps. Dixon approached lapped traffic with two laps to go, with the turbulent air from those cars slowing his pace. But he held off McLaughlin long enough for the victory, averaging 173.036 mph.

“I have this thing on the dash that tells me the gaps to cars,” Dixon said. “I probably need to take it off because it was stressing me out more than anything. I kept looking down, looking in the mirror. He (McLaughlin) was fast.”

McLaughlin was asked if his runnerup result in his first oval track race felt like a victory. “I’ve never been this bloody happy to finish second in my life. I’m really stoked,” McLaughlin said. “I just couldn’t get Scotty there at the end. But I’ll tell you what _ it was bloody cool battling with my all-time favorite hero, Scotty Dixon. Two Kiwis, 1 and 2. My Mom and Dad are watching at home (in New Zealand), for sure.”

Meanwhile, it was a night of mixed results for the winners of the season’s first two races. Palou, winner of the season-opener April 18 on the Barber Motorsports Park road-course, finished fourth in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda after starting on-pole.

Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta, winner on the Streets of St. Pete last Sunday in Florida, placed 22nd after a mechanical problem in the right rear wheel of his No. 26 Gainbridge Honda ended his night after 190 laps.

Four-time INDYCAR champ Sebastien Bourdais and James Hinchcliffe were unhurt in separate Turn 2 spins-and-crashes that triggered the only two caution periods.

Bourdais hit the SAFER Barrier hard in Turn 2 in the No. 14 ROKiT/A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet after he was nudged into a spin by contact from the No. 2 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet of two-time series champion Josef Newgarden on Lap 56. Newgarden was moved to the back of the lead lap on the restart as a penalty.

Hinchcliffe made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2 after spinning on Lap 160 in the No. 29 Genesys Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport.

Results Saturday of the Genesys 300 NTT IndyCar Series event on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

  1. (3) Scott Dixon, Honda, 212, Running
    2. (15) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 212, Running
    3. (11) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 212, Running
    4. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 212, Running
    5. (13) Graham Rahal, Honda, 212, Running
    6. (10) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 212, Running
    7. (6) Jack Harvey, Honda, 212, Running
    8. (16) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 212, Running
    9. (12) Takuma Sato, Honda, 212, Running
    10. (5) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 212, Running
    11. (23) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 212, Running
    12. (19) Ed Jones, Honda, 212, Running
    13. (18) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 212, Running
    14. (2) Will Power, Chevrolet, 212, Running
    15. (14) Pietro Fittipaldi, Honda, 212, Running
    16. (21) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 212, Running
    17. (17) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 212, Running
    18. (22) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 212, Running
    19. (9) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 211, Running
    20. (8) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 211, Running
    21. (24) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 211, Running
    22. (4) Colton Herta, Honda, 190, Mechanical
    23. (20) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 158, Contact
    24. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 55, Contact

Race Statistics
Winner’s Average Speed: 173.036 mph
Time of Race: 1:45:51.3417
Margin of Victory: 0.2646-seconds
Cautions: 2 for 29 laps
Lead Changes: 3 among 2 drivers

Lap Leaders: Palou 1-2, Dixon 3-124, Palou 125-128, Dixon 129-212

Point standings: 1, Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing, 118; 2, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing, 100; 2, Will Power, Team Penske, 81; 4, Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP, 80; 5, Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing, 77; 6, Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske, 75; 7, Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, 75; 8, Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske, 74; 9, Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, 71; 10, Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport, 70.


Sunday, April 18 _ Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala. (Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing)

Sunday, April 25 _Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. (Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport)

Saturday, May 1 _ Texas Motor Speedway Race 1, Fort Worth (Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing)

Sunday, May 2 _ Texas Motor Speedway Race 2, Fort Worth (NBCSN)

Saturday, May 15 _ Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road-Course (NBC)

Sunday, May 30 _ The 105th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (NBC)

Saturday, June 12 _ The Raceway at Belle Isle Park Race 1, Detroit (NBC)

Sunday, June 13 _ The Raceway at Belle Isle Park Race 2, Detroit (NBC)

Sunday, June 20 _ Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis. (NBCSN)

Sunday, July 4 _ Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio (NBC)

Sunday, July 11 _ Streets of Toronto (NBCSN)

Sunday, Aug. 8 _ Streets of Nashville, Tenn. (NBCSN)

Saturday, Aug. 14 _ Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road-Course (NBCSN)

Saturday, Aug. 21 _ World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Madison, Ill. (NBCSN)

Sunday, Sept. 12 _ Portland (Ore.) International Raceway (NBC)

Sunday, Sept. 19 _ WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif. (NBC)

Sunday, Sept. 26 _ Streets of Long Beach, Calif. (NBCSN)


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 2 2021
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