Scott Dixon’s Indy 500 campaign has taken a significant turn early in the 2021 edition of the race; the Kiwi dropping from the lead of the race to a lap down after a disastrous first pit-stop.
Dixon had sat in third position early on having started from the pole, then stayed out slightly later as the first phase of pit-stops began on lap 32. But the decision to stay out slightly longer was shot when Stefan Wilson crashed at pit-entry on lap 34.
The crashed car meant pit-lane would be temporarily closed off to the field. Dixon was among those to be concerned by the closure and whether they’d have enough fuel to stay out for long enough without running out of fuel under safety car.
Dixon came in for ’emergency fuel’ on lap 37 while pit lane was still officially closed, telling his team that he was completely out of fuel and had no choice. It was bad enough news already for the defending series champion.
Things went from bad to worse, with the PNC Bank machine failing to restart in pit-lane (a frequent issue with cars that run out of fuel). While Dixon’s team worked away to get the car restarted, those who stopped around Dixon flew by.
When Dixon eventually got away from the lane in a huff, he was a lap behind the pack. Andretti driver Alexander Rossi had the same issue; his car also stalling for a long period in pit-lane. The two former Indy 500 winners will now need to work together to get back onto the lead lap. They now sit 31st and 32nd.
With Dixon out of the picture for now, Connor Daly leads the race at the time of writing over Rinus Veekay, Colton Herta, Helio Castroneves, Alex Palau, Takuma Sato, Pato O’Ward, and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Scott McLaughlin sits poised in ninth spot as a benefactor of the pit-lane drama. The former Supercars ace had been 16th for much of the opening phase, but made a bucket of spots after successfully saving enough fuel to stay out until pit-lane re-opened.