Scott Dixon has kept his IndyCar title chances alive with a third-place finish in the Grand Prix of Portland.
The Kiwi is now 49 points behind championship leader Alex Palou, who collected his third career win today.
“I cannot believe it,” Palou said. “The race we did today was just amazing.”
Palou and Dixon were involved in a lap one, turn one calamity that meant both somehow ended up at the back of the field.
Polesitter Palou led the run to the chicane while Dixon made a fast start to be in second.
However, Dixon bailed out of a move on his teammate and was shoved from behind by Felix Rosenqvist.
Dixon missed the corner, as did Palou, while further back, there was more drama as one car spun and several others came to a stop.
The race was put under yellow and race control punished the drivers who did not make the first corner by putting them at the back of the restart queue.
“It was just one of those situations. But the call by race control to put us at the back was interesting,” Dixon said.
Palou was also confused about the decision.
Still, he and Dixon opted to use the caution period to pit. Doing so would mean they wouldn’t have to save fuel during the race.
They wouldn’t cycle to the front until later in the race, as those drivers running one less pitstop extended each of their stints.
A mid-race safety car for two stricken cars regrouped the pack and everyone was counting down the laps until their final pitstop.
After the final sequence of stops played out, Palou regained control of the lead over Dixon and Alexander Rossi.
Rossi was showing solid pace and he soon got past Dixon for second.
Will Power made contact with Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud on lap 86, resulting in more yellow flag running.
But a composed Palou fended off Rossi at the restart and the race ran cleanly until the chequered flag.
“Huge congrats to Alex and the Chip Ganassi team,” Dixon said.
Scott McLaughlin claimed his fifth top ten of the season by coming home in P9.
McLaren’s Pato O’Ward came into the race as the championship leader but slipped behind Palou after a disappointing 14th-place result.
Palou is 25 points clear of O’Ward with two races remaining.
Laguna Seca plays host to the penultimate round next weekend.
|21||Simon Pagenaud||1 Lap|
|22||Romain Grosjean||15 Laps|
|23||Helio Castroneves||19 Laps|