INDIANAPOLIS — The Iceman turned the Ironman of IndyCar on Saturday. Capped it off with a win, too.
Scott Dixon overcame a first-lap spin after which held off hard-charging Graham Rahal over the ultimate 10 laps to win Saturday’s Indianapolis Grand Prix by 0.4779 seconds.
Dixon’s 54th profession win, second in sequence historical past, was a part of one other milestone day. He has received at the very least one race in 19 consecutive IndyCar seasons, extending his personal file, and it got here on the day he additionally broke Tony Kanaan’s earlier sequence mark along with his 319th consecutive begin.
“Loopy day for me, I believed I had a improbable begin, picked up about 5 spots after which acquired to (flip) seven and there was a little bit of a backup there and simply acquired spun round,” mentioned Dixon, who had his two hundredth podium end. “So now I can say a spin and win and which is fairly cool.”
It is one other outstanding chapter in Dixon’s unbelievable profession.
Solely A.J. Foyt has received extra races (67) or extra sequence crowns (seven) than Dixon, who has performed all of it with Chip Ganassi Racing over 22 seasons — the longest-tenured driver in staff historical past. And whereas the journeys to victory lane not often come simply for the six-time IndyCar champ, Dixon at all times appears to discover a artistic option to keep in rivalry.
It occurred once more Saturday after an early collision that despatched Dixon to pit highway on Lap 5. He spent the remainder of the race working a distinct technique than the opposite automobiles, a transfer that ultimately helped him keep in rivalry after qualifying fifteenth.
“We’re going towards one of the best ever, proper? I imply it is what 20 straight seasons or 19?” mentioned Rahal, who ended a six-year pole drought Friday however didn’t snap his six-year victory drought. “It is ridiculous, it is completely insane.”
Clearly, Rahal posed the largest impediment after he pitted with 23 laps to go, and Dixon took the lead. The 34-year-old Ohioan spent the remainder of the race chasing Dixon, steadily reducing the hole. With 10 laps remaining, Rahal trailed by 2.9084 seconds. With 5 to go, it was right down to 1.5078 and with two left, Rahal was inside 0.2687 seconds. Then Rahal bumped into bother.
“On the second-to-last lap, I wasn’t gaining floor, I used to be simply pulling lifeless even, and I could not make the lunge,” he mentioned.
That was the opening Dixon wanted and he managed to stop Rahal from ever getting an opportunity to cross. The victory moved Dixon forward of two-time sequence champ Josef Newgarden into second place behind Alex Palou, who prolonged his result in 101 factors with a seventh-place end.
“It’s totally laborious to win so that you’re consistently altering, chasing a shifting goal, which is enjoyable.” Dixon mentioned. “I feel that is what retains you impressed, particularly when you could have a terrific staff.”
Pato O’Ward, Christian Lundgaard, Rahal’s teammate, and 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi closed out the highest 5. O’Ward and Rossi each drive for Arrow McLaren.
BLISTER IN THE SUN
Rahal’s qualifying runs might have proved pricey Saturday, too. He mentioned one of many tires from Friday developed a blister, leaving him a set quick. That meant he went with the used pink tires for his last run.
“I used to be fearful a bit of final night time as a result of we did not have three units of pink [tires] as a result of we had a blister on the fitting entrance,” he mentioned. “Not likely certain why, there wasn’t a flat spot or something, however sadly that made it unusable right this moment. So we could not use that set right this moment, and I knew that meant the 2 center stints on black, I used to be going to must drive the wheels off.”
Newgarden didn’t advance out of the primary spherical of qualifying Friday and his struggles continued Saturday. IndyCar introduced an unapproved engine change would value Newgarden six beginning spots, dropping him to twenty fifth on the 27-car grid.
Then he acquired caught up in the identical first-lap pileup that brought about Dixon to spin. The consequence: Newgarden wound up twenty fifth whereas shedding much more floor to Palou, who began the day with an 84-point lead.
With three races left, Newgarden’s deficit is 105 factors.
O’Ward had his sixth podium end of the season Saturday, however he is nonetheless on the lookout for his first win and it is clear the shut calls are beginning to put on on O’Ward.
“There’s nothing extra I would like than to get wins,” he mentioned. “Clearly, there’s little issues right here and there that acquired us out of rivalry and out of having the ability to capitalize on that.”
Final week, an early crash ended Linus Lundqvist’s IndyCar debut. On Saturday, he was considered one of 17 drivers to finish all 85 laps on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile highway course. He wound up twelfth.
Lundqvist, the 2022 Indy Lights champ, has produced stable qualifying efforts in consecutive weeks and now has a top-15 end besides.
The IndyCar Sequence takes subsequent week off earlier than ending the season with three consecutive weeks of racing. The ultimate stretch begins Aug. 27 at World Vast Expertise Raceway outdoors St. Louis.