No Beating Dixon as Champ Wins Sets Records at the Great American Speedway
There was a time Scott Dixon wasn’t a big fan of racing at Texas Motor Speedway but you would never know it now as the six-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion earned his second consecutive and fifth overall victory at No Limits, Texas by taking the checkered flag in the Genesys 300.
The New Zealander’s No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda crossed the finish line 0.2646-of-a-second ahead of fellow Kiwi Scott McLaughlin, the three-time Australian Supercars champion and NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie who was making his oval track debut in the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet. San Antonio resident Patricio “Pato” O’Ward finished third in his No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
“It was a bit of a crazy night for us,” Dixon said. “Definitely very tense there at the end. It was kind of cool to be racing a countryman for the last few laps. Fifth win at Texas, baby! That was awesome.
“It feels amazing to be in this position. You just never want it to end. We want to go back-to-back and try to tie Mario tomorrow. I'm sure that's not exactly what he wants to see. We'll keep our heads down. It's extremely tough. This season has been one of the toughest starts, I think, for a lot of us just with how tight the competition is.”
The victory is Dixon’s 51st, putting him just behind Mario Andretti (52) and A.J. Foyt (67) all-time in the series. His fifth Texas Motor Speedway victory breaks a tie with Helio Castroneves for most wins as well as being the first repeat winner in the series’ 33-race history at The Great American Speedway. Dixon’s other three wins came in 2018, 2015 and 2008. The Genesys 300 victory also made it 19 seasons Dixon has earned at least one NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory, breaking a tie with Foyt.
The balance of the top 10 finishers were Alex Palou (No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet), Graham Rahal (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda), Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet), Jack Harvey (No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda), Alexander Rossi (No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda), Takumo Sato (No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda), and Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet).
Damp conditions throughout the morning and early afternoon cancelled qualifying, setting the starting grid based on the entrant point standings. That put Palou on the point, the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet of Will Power to his right and Ganassi teammate Dixon directly behind, with the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda of Colton Herta on the outside of Row 2.
Palou, who came to Texas with the point lead after two races, led the first two laps before Dixon grabbed the top spot. Dixon maintained a 0.4-of-a-second lead over his teammate after 15 laps and slightly less than that by the time green-flag pit stops began on Lap 53.
The day’s first caution waved just four laps later when Sebastien Bourdais made hard contact with the outside retaining wall after a tap from behind by Newgarden. Newgarden was able to continue but INDYCAR officials deemed the incident to be avoidable and penalized him with a restart at the back of the field.
Dixon continued his run out front before relinquishing the lead back to Palou on Lap 125 during another round of green-flag pit stops. But the No. 9 Honda returned to where it was most comfortable just four laps later.
The evening’s second and final caution slowed the field on Lap 160 when the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet of Felix Rosenqvist and the No. 29 Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport Honda of James Hinchcliffe made contact in Turn 2, forcing Hinchcliffe hard into the outside wall. It was nearly a mirror image from last year when the two tangled, sending Rosenqvist into the wall and out of the race.
The field returned to green on Lap 175 of 212. McLaughlin lined up directly behind Dixon, with O’Ward and Palou in tow. As the laps counted down, McLaughlin hung tight to the leader but was not able to make a final charge before the checkered flag wave.
There were three lead changes among two drivers and two cautions for 29 laps.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES point standings (after three races): Dixon 118, Palou 100, Power 81, O'Ward 80, Harvey 77, McLaughlin 75, Newgarden 75, Pagenaud 74, Rahal 71, Herta 70
Dixon again celebrated the victory in traditional Texas Motor Speedway fashion, wearing a cowboy hat and firing a pair of Smith & Wesson 629 Deluxe six-shooters while accepting the Genesys 300 Foyt-Rutherford Trophy produced by Jostens.
Next up on the Texas Motor Speedway schedule is the second race of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader weekend, Sunday’s XPEL 375. Live coverage begins May 2 at 4 p.m. CT on NBCSN, The INDYCAR Radio Network and 95.9 The Ranch.
Tickets for Texas Motor Speedway’s 2021 major event season, including the June 13 NASCAR All-Star Race, are on sale now at texasmotorspeedway.com.
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