Scott Dixon suspects that sluggish restarts were the reason he was unable to capitalize on a gamble to go off-strategy at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
Dixon had spent most of the afternoon camped within the top 10 when the Ganassi team opted to take advantage of a caution – triggered by Sage Karam hitting the wall – to bring him in for an extra stop and top him up with fuel. He was the only front-runner to do so.
“We tried to be first in that scenario,” he said. “We knew that there were probably three or four others trying. But we really struggled on restarts. The first and second gear seemed to be way out of sync to the pace of what everybody was restarting [at]. First to be on a limiter; second I was a sitting duck – wouldn’t accelerate, gear was way too long. We lost a lot of positions in that scenario.”
A later yellow for a crashing Tony Kanaan made getting the No. 9 to the end without a final stop viable, but the trade-off was a need to save more fuel than the cars around him. Unable to match the late-race pace of Will Power and Ed Carpenter, Dixon ultimately finished third.
“Obviously we got lucky with that caution with T.K., which was enough to give us a bit of a window to get to the end,” he said.
“We tried to figure out whether to keep going and hope for a yellow or try to save a bit of fuel. That’s why I let Will pass. Obviously on restarts we had a few guys that couldn’t make it [to the end] at all. It was definitely interesting. Honda did a superb job – we just missed it a little bit today.”