Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 9 team and Scott Dixon took down Team Penske and Will Power in the final of the Pit Stop Challenge, ahead of Sunday’s 107th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Round 1 saw the No. 9 CGR crew and Dixon set the fastest time, eclipsing Callum Ilott and Juncos Hollinger Racing by 2.4s. CGR’s 12.066s was almost half a second up on the previous best, set by Power and the No. 12 Penske crew.
Poor Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, running the No. 24 now piloted by Graham Rahal, produced a pit stop time while losing to Power that would have eclipsed all but Dixon in Round 1. Then in Round 2, Power rubbed it in by defeating the other DRR car of Ryan Hunter-Reay, which had already beaten Arrow McLaren and Pato O’Ward.
Rinus VeeKay and Ed Carpenter Racing took down Kyle Kirkwood and Andretti Autosport, but was then defeated in Round 2 by Jack Harvey of Rahal Letterman Lanigan, when he slid through the artificial pitbox. Harvey had already had his dramas in Round 1, when he struck the wheelnut from Simon Pagenaud’s Meyer Shank Racing car as it departed the No. 60 car.
Scott McLaughlin and the No. 3 Penske crew was another Round 1 winner by default, when Colton Herta beat him out of the pitbox but his Andretti Autosport car grazed his recently removed rear tire and he was penalized. But McLaughlin didn’t survive Round 2, despite setting a 12.008s, as Felix Rosenqvist’s Arrow McLaren crew, after defeating Alex Palou, delivered the first sub-12s stop, an 11.933s.
Dixon’s crewmembers excelled themselves in Round 2, their 11.582s easily defeating RLL/Lundgaard’s 13.924s.
RLL had another car in the fight, but Harvey’s fine 12.293s in the semi-final wasn’t enough to beat Power’s 11.336s. Rosenqvist was then defeated by Dixon (11.411s), setting up a battle between Penske and Ganassi — perhaps to be expected.
It was decided by best of three, with both cars getting to start in each lane. Dixon won the first encounter from the less-favored right lane, 11.561s vs Power’s 12.047s, but when Power took over that lane, he and the Penske No. 12 crew delivered an 11.829s to Dixon’s 11.947s.
Dixon’s faster time in the first encounter gave the team choice of lane for the decider, and they went back to the left, inside lane. That wasn’t what decided it, however. Dixon’s crew were flawless with a startling 11.012s, and Power’s were less so, resulting in a 12.552s.
.@scottdixon9 wins the Pit Stop Competition!#INDYCAR // #Indy500 pic.twitter.com/aFhzvf9NJK
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) May 26, 2023
It is Dixon and the No. 9 CGR crew’s fourth win in this challenge.