A typical ‘Dixon-like’ drive from Kiwi IndyCar star Scott Dixon had him climb from 13th to finish fourth in the latest round of the series at Road America.
Following a lowly qualifying result, Dixon opted to start the race on the favoured primary tyres, which meant he would save a crucial set of the faster red ‘alternate’ tyres for the final stint.
Progress was slow over the first half of the race as Dixon circulated for 15 laps before making his first trip to the pitlane, still on the cusp of the top ten.
The first of four cautions came out a lap later when Jimmie Johnson spun and failed to get moving again.
A second yellow came out not long later as Marcus Ericsson also spun and stalled. His yellow triggered the second round of pitstops for the entire field.
Remarkably, Ericsson would end up finishing the race in sixth.
The two cautions did not play into the hands of Dixon as he had donned a set of quicker red tyres for the stint.
“We didn’t get much out of that first set of reds because of the caution and we had only just pitted,” Dixon said.
“So, that would have been nice to run them in full distance.”
Dixon elevated himself to seventh by the time of his final stop, again swapping the primary tyres for the reds.
By being one of the first to make his last change of tyres, Dixon undercut Alexander Rossi to put him in contention for a top-five result.
Dixon found himself in fifth when the handful of ‘two stoppers’ made their last bid to the pits.
A late yellow with three laps remaining bunched up the field, and off the restart, race leader Josef Newgarden suddenly slowed.
Newgarden’s Penske Chevrolet had experienced a gearbox drama, robbing him of winning and gifting everyone a free spot.
No one was more fortunate than Alex Palou, who inherited the race lead on the penultimate tour and held on to claim his second IndyCar win.
Colton Herta was second, with Will Power finally getting a much-needed break to claim third.
Dixon crossed the line fourth, bagging another decisive tally of points and keeping his championship ambitions alive.
“I think if we start a little further up then we should be ok,” Dixon said.
“So, I got to work on that with the team, and we will get it going.
“But good recovery for points.”
Scott McLaughlin, the second New Zealander in the race, finished on the lead lap in 14th.
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