Scott Dixon fell just shy of the podium but continued his impressive points streak with a fourth-place finish at Mid-Ohio this morning (NZT).
An early race clash and troubled pace on the alternative red tyres hindered Dixon’s pursuit of the win, which would go to Josef Newgarden.
Newgarden fended off Marcus Ericsson to claim his 19th career win and the first for Team Penske this season.
For Dixon, the race had its highs and lows.
The race was almost immediately slowed under caution when Romain Grosjean and Ryan Hunter-Reay were tipped into spins on lap one.
Off the restart, Dixon then became embroiled with Will Power for fourth.
The Kiwi and the Aussie traded places twice in a matter of seconds before Dixon deked Power to go around the outside at turn five.
Dixon then squeezed Power onto the kerb, and the Penske driver spun and was hit by an unsighted Ed Jones.
“Super disappointed to be out that early,” Power said.
“[Dixon] squeezed me down, and I had nowhere to go. I was on the curve. I should have known he would be aggressive.”
A disastrous pitstop for Colton Herta due to a refuelling problem then gifted Dixon a free position, and he ran third, behind race leader Newgarden and teammate Ericsson.
At the midway point of the race, Dixon opted to run the slower primary tyres and could not chase down Ericsson.
Instead, he became the lead driver in a small train of cars, all within a shot of the final podium spot.
One of those drivers was championship leader Alex Palou, who was sitting just behind Dixon and Alexander Rossi.
Lap 55 saw Dixon and Rossi transit the pitlane for their final stop, while Palou went one lap longer.
The overcut worked brilliantly, and Palou jumped ahead of Dixon for net third.
Up front, Newgarden’s once-comfortable advantage over Ericsson was quickly threatened by lap traffic, and the Chip Ganassi driver began closing the gap.
A nearly seven-second lead was down to 1.5 with two laps in hand, and the margin at the chequered flag was a measly 0.879s.
Scott McLaughlin enjoyed a clean race and made up two places to finish 12th.
Dixon is still third in the driver’s standings. The gap to leader Palou extended slightly as the Spaniard finished ahead of the Kiwi on track.
The next round of the IndyCar championship will be its inaugural race in Nashville on August 8.
|20||Ryan Norman||+1 lap|
|21||Dalton Kellett||+1 lap|
|22||Jimmie Johnson||+1 lap|
|23||Felix Rosenqvist||+2 laps|
|24||Ryan Hunter-Reay||+2 laps|