Scott Dixon had an eventful drive to fourth place in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
The 40-year-old Kiwi has made the 13-turn, 2.258-mile natural terrain road course his personal playground over the years, scoring six of Chip Ganassi Racing’s 11 wins there. On Sunday, however, Dixon could only turn a fifth-place starting spot into a fourth-place result, with teammates Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou, finishing directly ahead in second and third, respectively.
In fact, the only fireworks Dixon was able to present on the Fourth of July was a clash with Will Power. On Lap 4, the pair were in a spirited wheel-to-wheel battle for fourth, with Power on the primary (black sidewall) tire compound and Dixon on preferred alternate (red sidewall) tires.
Dixon pushed to the outside of Power as the pair charged through Turn 4 and 5, with Power getting pinned to the curbing momentarily before ultimately spinning just over the crest of the hill and subsequently being collected by Ed Jones. While Dixon continued on, Power and Jones retired from the race, with the latter also exiting Mid-Ohio with his right hand and wrist wrapped.
“We just had to get past Will,” Dixon said. “At no point do I want to take anybody out. I think it was just a racing incident. You know, we were pushing hard. If you give too much room on the outside, last year I gave Will a bunch of room on the outside and he kind of ran me off the track. I didn’t do anything on purpose. Sorry for his day not turning out.
“Definitely a tough race for us. The rear of the car we couldn’t hold on to throughout the race. It was definitely very frustrating. We couldn’t push at any time. We tried to adjust it during the race. But good job to the Ganassi crew. Good job to Marcus and obviously, Alex and to Josef (Newgarden) for the win there. But, we’ve got some work (to do).”
With 10 races down and six to go, IndyCar heads into a summer break and won’t return until August 8 for the inaugural event on the streets of Nashville. As it stands, Dixon sits third in the championship with 328 points, trailing Palou who sits atop with 384. Patricio O’Ward sits second with 345, and with the win, Newgarden is fourth at 315. With his runner-up result, Ericsson climbs into fifth with 280 to put three CGR drivers in the top five.
Knowing how quickly things can change in IndyCar, Dixon remains level-headed over his current position in the championship.
“I had a 130-point lead, I think, at some point last year and it went down to 17 or 15 or something,” Dixon said. “It’s going to be tight. Josef is going to be strong. I know Alex is going to be strong. There’s going to be a lot of strong cars. So, keep our heads down. We’re going to keep working hard. We’ve got some interesting tracks coming up towards the end of the season. A bit of a four-week break here, which is going to be interesting for a lot of us, too. So we’ll see how it goes.”