Scott Dixon has been a serial winner in the NTT IndyCar Series for two decades but he may have just produced his best win to date.
The 43-year-old broke Tony Kanaan’s record for consecutive starts in the series, 319 to be exact, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Gallagher Grand Prix but the race did not start well for the New Zealander.
Dixon got caught up in a Lap 1 incident which saw him spin and fall to the rear of the lead lap. He and Chip Ganassi Racing opted to pit under the very early caution and fuel save like a madman to get back on track.
From almost nowhere, Dixon went from out of it to the leader by several seconds and he is a very difficult driver to beat when he gets a sniff of the lead. Nobody in the IndyCar field could have lapped that quickly while saving the fuel required in yet another argument to suggest Dixon is the greatest of all time in the championship.
Graham Rahal will wonder how on earth he didn’t take his first win in six years having qualified on pole and led the vast majority of the race and running Dixon down to just a handful of tenths in the final laps.
Pato O’Ward eased away from Christian Lundgaard, who backed up his Rahal Letterman Lanigan teammate’s pace, for third with the Dane in fourth. Alexander Rossi claimed fifth as Will Power chased down and passed Alex Palou late in the race.
The moment the title race ended
Josef Newgarden was already on the backfoot after a dismal qualifying saw him start right towards the back of the field but Lap 1 almost certainly ended his 2023 title hopes.
An incident between Marcus Armstrong, Palou, Dixon and Romain Grosjean left the Team Penske car with nowhere to go but on top of Armstrong’s Chip Ganassi car. He lost a lap there and then under caution and that was effectively his race over.
IndyCar still has to go to World Wide Technology Raceway where Newgarden and Penske have been sensational in recent history but the points gap is enormous and there are still trips to Portland and Laguna Seca to come, tracks where Palou has been exceptional in the past.
Unless the Spaniard suddenly can’t finish a race to save his life, he should have the gap he needs to become a two-time IndyCar champion, even though his 2024 future seems far from clear.
|1||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|2||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan|
|3||Pato O’Ward||Arrow McLaren|
|4||Christian Lundgaard||Rahal Letterman Lanigan|
|5||Alexander Rossi||Arrow McLaren|
|6||Will Power||Team Penske|
|7||Alex Palou||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|8||Scott McLaughlin||Team Penske|
|9||Kyle Kirkwood||Andretti Autosport|
|10||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing|