IndyCar: Defending Champion Scott Dixon earns first win of 2019 in Detroit Finale

Scott Dixon earns first win of season
Scott Dixon celebrates his win at Detroit by taking a dip in the fountain. Photo by Chris Owens.

The five-time champion and defending NTT Data IndyCar Series winner Scott Dixon found himself back in victory lane for the first time in 12 races earning P1 in the second of back-to-back Detroit races.

Dixon started the race on the Firestone red alternative tires that are faster in short stints than the normal black tires, but fall off drastically.

Thanks to an early caution, Dixon got all he could out of the tires, pitting on lap 15 and using a two-stop strategy to stay out front and capture the ‘W.’

“The way the whole strategy played out,” Dixon said in the post-race press conference. “That first one, I saw the whole field pit. Oh, dear, I’ve seen this movie before, and it didn’t work out very well. We knew we had to kind of try and create the gap. We had to try and go as long as possible on the reds, so at least we had only one more stop to go.”

IndyCar: Defending Champion Scott Dixon earns first win of 2019 in Detroit Finale

The early caution happened about as early as it could have.

As the field entered the wide turn 3, Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud got collected with a few other drivers, sending himself and Tony Kanaan out of the race, at least for the time being.

Pagenaud would have finished in last place, but his crew got the back out and utilized other drivers exiting the race to move up and salvage a P17 result.

Spencer Pigot was on the same strategy as Dixon, however prior to his entry to pit road, he was clipped from the rear by Sebastien Bourdais, bringing his race to a close.

There was more drama to unfold later, though, when the pair of drivers that were so dominant Saturday in Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi got collected with James Hinchcliffe after the Canadian exited the pits.

The crash forced Newgarden out of the race and later would kill the power in Hinchcliffe’s car that diminished a promising result to his day as well. Rossi would get away cleanly.

“Whether that was right or not where he placed his car, I can’t blame anyone,” Newgarden said on the NBC broadcast. “It’s my fault. I should have made a better decision there.”

With six laps to go, Rookie of the Year contender Felix Rosenqvist lost control of his car through turn 1, setting up a late restart with three laps to go.

IndyCar held the field to a red flag while they got the incident cleaned up to ensure it.

“It’s pretty interesting how INDYCAR right now is stopping the races and making sure they get proper restarts,” Dixon said. “It’s definitely great for the fans. A bit nerve-wracking for the drivers, I think. You kind of just want it to be done. I would have been happy for it to end under caution. It wasn’t going to go that way.”

Though Dixon held on, holding off a striving Marcus Ericsson who played things safe and earned Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports’ first top five of the season.

Newgarden holds on to points lead after P19 finish

Even though Newgarden exited the race early, he held on to the lead in the points standings, which has grew much closer than it has been for several weeks.

Rossi moves up to second following Pagenaud’s troubles and Dixon leaves the weekend ultimately where he came in, in fourth place.

The series will return to the track for its longest race of the year, taking things to Texas for a 600-mile race.

IndyCar Dual 2 in Detroit Results
1. Scott Dixon
2. Marcus Ericsson
3. Will Power
4. Ryan Hunter-Reay
5. Alexander Rossi
6. Marco Andretti
7. Graham Rahal
8. Zach Veach
9. Sebastien Bourdais
10. Santino Ferrucci
11. Pato O’Ward
12. Colton Herta
13. Takuma Sato
14. Ed Jones
15. Max Chilton
16. Felix Rosenqvist
17. Simon Pagenaud
18. James Hinchcliffe
19. Josef Newgarden
20. Matheus Leist
21. Spencer Pigot
22. Tony Kanaan

IndyCar Series Standings
Position Driver Points Behind
1 Josef Newgarden 316
2 Alexander Rossi 301 -15
3 Simon Pagenaud 291 -25
4 Scott Dixon 264 -52
5 Takuma Sato 255 -61
6 Will Power 232 -84
7 Ryan Hunter-Reay 219 -97
8 James Hinchcliffe 179 -137
9 Graham Rahal 175 -141
10 Sebastien Bourdais 165 -151

 


Duals in Detroit Coverage
Scott Dixon earns first win of season (above)
Scott Dixon earns first win of season (above)
Rossi defeated again in Detroit 

Rossi defeated again in rainy Detroit Dual

 

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