It was only a matter of time wasn’t it.
Scott Dixon led home Scott McLaughlin an incredible New Zealand 1-2 at Texas Motor Speedway today.
For Dixon, the win is his 51st.
For McLaughlin, today was his first-ever race on an oval.
Dixon dominated proceedings. He snatched the race lead from polesitter Alex Palou on lap three and went on to lead 206 of the 212 laps.
The final five laps saw Mclaughlin pressure Dixon, though he was never able to wrestle himself past.
The margin between the two at the chequered flag was 0.264s.
Speaking on the amazing Kiwi 1-2 result, Dixon says it was a ‘cool’ feeling racing McLaughlin.
“It was a bit of a crazy night for us,” said Dixon.
“It was kind of cool to be racing a countryman for the last few laps. He [McLaughlin] was fast.
“I had this thing on the dash that tells me the gaps of the cars. I had to take it off because it was stressing me out more than anything. I kept looking down and in the mirror as he was fast.”
Dixon is now one win shy of matching Mario Andretti on 52 career victories, which is second on the all-time record list.
“I never dreamed of that,” he said. “I feel so lucky and so privileged to do what I get to do.”
McLaughlin started his rookie oval encounter from 15th and only had 90 minutes of practice before the race.
A fortunate safety car after an early pit stop elevated the former Supercars champion to sixth, though he used his new track position as a springboard to launch into the podium placings.
He said racing against Dixon for victory in the closing laps was a boyhood dream come true, adding that he had always looked up to Dixon as a hero.
“I’ve never been this bloody happy second,” McLaughlin said. “I’m really stoked.
“I just couldn’t get Scotty at the end. But it was bloody cool battling with one of my all-time favorite heroes, Scotty Dixon.
“Two Kiwis 1-2 is fantastic. My mum and dad is watching at home for sure. Very proud.”
McLaughlin moved into second following a late caution when James Hinchcliffe collected the barrier.
He was then able to stay in the tow of Dixon and reel himself to within a car length over the remaining laps.
“During the last caution period, I was thinking ‘holy crap’,” he said. “I was looking at the crowd and getting all excited.
“I’m just so proud. I’ve worked so hard behind the scenes to make it feel good.
“We had some good strategy there from my team. They put me in the position and I’m just happy to bring it home for them.”
Dixon and McLaughlin will now turn their attention to tomorrow’s second race at TMS, which is set to start at 9.10 am NZT.