Scott Dixon was rueing a combination of fading handling and an unlucky yellow after finishing an unrepresentative 17th in today’s Indianapolis 500.
Starting from a disappointing 18th, the 2008 Indy 500 winner methodically worked his way to the front of the field, taking the lead just past half distance, and leading again from Lap 138 to 142. Dixon’s strong suit was fuel mileage; at one point his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda went more than a dozen laps farther between pit stops than the race-winning Chevrolet of Simon Pagenaud. The car was also strong at the end of those stints, as reflected in the fact that Dixon posted the fastest lap of the race (226.006 mph) shortly before pitting on lap 40.
“The car was very fast,” he told RACER. “We could have used a little more downforce; I’m not sure if it was the sun heating the track or what, but the car fell off some toward the end of the race.”
However, an untimely yellow on lap 138 cost Dixon much of the ground he’d gained.
“We had 15 laps over Simon, fuel-wise, we were leading, and would have had to make one less stop,” he said. “Had that caution not come out, it would have been interesting.
“But, plain and simple, we have some work to do. We’ve got to qualify better than we have here the past couple of years. I think we’re at a bit of a deficit to the other manufacturer when everyone turns things up and it comes down a straight fight.”
In the end, whatever chance Dixon had of a good finish evaporated when his car suffered a litany of collateral damage amid the multi-car shunt triggered by the Sebastien Bourdais and Graham Rahal coming-together.
“I’d slowed down, but then I got hit in the back and pushed into Charlie Kimball,” Dixon explained. “That not only broke a front wing and damaged the right side of the floor, but it also got the gearbox, so I was stuck in sixth gear for the rest of the race.”