Verizon IndyCar Series: Scott Dixon takes first win of season at Road America

By The Sports Xchange
2017 Indianapolis 500 Pole Sitter Scott Dixon poses at the Front Row photo shoot, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 22, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. File photo by Edwin Locke/UPI
2017 Indianapolis 500 Pole Sitter Scott Dixon poses at the Front Row photo shoot, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 22, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. File photo by Edwin Locke/UPI | License Photo

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Scott Dixon's winless season is no more.

The Verizon IndyCar Series points leader finally secured his first race victory of the year, cementing a bid for a fifth season championship.


Dixon won Sunday's Kohler Grand Prix at the Road America circuit, using a stellar pass around the outside of Josef Newgarden on a mid-race restart to get the lead he effectively never relinquished.

The victory was the 41st of Dixon's career, pulling him within one of Michael Andretti for third place on the sport's all-time list. A.J. Foyt leads with 67 wins and Mario Andretti is second with 52.

Besides being winless through the season's first three-plus months, Dixon's season has included being robbed at gunpoint at an Indianapolis Taco Bell drive-thru in May, then having his Ganassi Racing car fly some 350 feet through the air in the Indianapolis 500 before being split in half by wall contact.


Not even Sunday was smooth for Dixon. His car had a fuel pressure problem during the morning practice, and he got only a single lap to do a systems check and never got up to full speed.

"We didn't even know if (the engine) was going to run in the race," Dixon said afterward. "We had to use the warmup laps to see if (the fixes) were even good. Thank goodness they were."

Dixon led a race-high 24 laps, crossing the finish line 0.5779 seconds ahead of Newgarden. It was Dixon's first win at this track the drivers all love. He now leads the standings by 34 points with seven races to go.

"We've come close (to winning) this season and probably should have won a couple early on," Dixon said. "I can't thank the crew enough. They had to replace the whole fuel cell and the front engine (before the race). Without them we wouldn't be here."

Dixon's win prevented rival Team Penske from a perfect weekend. Roger Penske's four cars took the first four qualifying positions, with Helio Castroneves edging Will Power on the last lap. Newgarden started third, with reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud fourth.


The Penske cars finished second, third, fourth and fifth with Newgarden, Castroneves, Pagenaud and Power, respectively.

"It's disappointing a Team Penske car didn't win this race," Pagenaud said.

Dixon also became the eighth driver in 10 races to win this season.

The race's most significant incident started with Tony Kanaan initiating a pass on Alexander Rossi. Kanaan said Rossi moved over on him, and the contact between them broke Kanaan's left front wing.

Without the aerodynamic piece necessary to negotiate that fast kink in the straightaway, Kanaan couldn't keep the car from drifting into the grass and slamming the left-side barrier in Turn 11. The damage to the Ganassi Racing car was significant, and Kanaan appeared to escape injury, although he was none too happy with Rossi.

Kanaan wasn't available for comment after the race.

The only other caution came when Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato spun on Lap 28.

NOTES: Helio Castroneves' pole was the 50th of his career, pulling him within three of second place in IndyCar history. Mario Andretti had 67 poles, A.J. Foyt 53. Castroneves had been tied with Bobby Unser (49). For all of Castroneves' qualifying prowess over the years, this was his first pole at Road America, a road course which has hosted IndyCar races 26 times since 1982. This was the Brazilian's sixth race here. ... Takuma Sato sat out the Sunday morning warm-up session with a sore neck. He lasted 28 laps before trouble found him. He slid off course in Turn 6, bringing out the race's first caution. He finished 19th of 21. ... IndyCar drew its second consecutive large crowd to Road America after not racing here for nine consecutive years. Attendance figures were not released, but track officials are expected to host the event in 2018 on the same corresponding weekend (June 22-24). ... Honda won only three races last season. Sunday's victory already was its sixth this season.


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