Scott Dixon holds fourth place in two all-time statistical categories in Indy car history. One he likes immensely. The other one? Meh.
Dixon finished second today in the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for the 35th runner-up finish in his career. That ranks fourth all-time. He also has 40 victories in his career, which also rank fourth.
But this particular second-place effort carried more promise than frustration. Dixon is second in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings, the top Honda-powered driver, and his reputation for victories late in the season bodes well for his chances to win the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series championship.
“It’s been a strong start for everybody at Chip Ganassi Racing and with the NTT Data car,” Dixon said. “There’s always a couple races that you think about maybe losing the win and the victory, but today we got the most out of it.”
Dixon fought a loose condition in the No. 9 NTT Data Honda that became more pronounced the further he got into each stint of the 85-lap race on the 2.439-mile road course. He couldn’t catch eventual winner Will Power, but held off Ryan Hunter-Reay’s late charge for the critical second-place finish.
“We had good pace, but we just couldn’t hold on to the rears,” Dixon said. “I think the Honda was just too much for the (Firestone alternate) red tires for the most part and we could close the gap. But then definitely the last sort of five laps, eight laps of the stint, we just couldn’t put the power down and were very loose.”
Dixon is already well established as one of the best – if not the best – of his era. Only A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and Michael Andretti rank ahead of him in career victories, and he already has four championships and a victory in the 2008 Indianapolis 500 to his credit.
But this quiet runner-up finish was a touch less “meh” than most.
“It was nice to get some good points,” Dixon said. “(We’re) second in the championship and only 10 (points) out (of the championship lead). So it’s valuable points when we can take them, and hopefully we can get on a roll here soon and start getting some wins.”
Dixon and the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers turn their attention now to the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Practice begins Monday leading to the race on May 28 (11 a.m. ET, ABC and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network).