Defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon kept his title defense alive with a fantastic drive on Sunday to take his sixth win at the Mid-Ohio Sportscar course. The Iceman who started the race from eighth place on the grid made a great start and soon found himself upfront challenging polesitter Will Power of Team Penske for the lead.
Power was a little aggressive pushing Dixon on the grass however the five time series champion got the better of the 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner and managed to get by and take the lead.
The Iceman dominated the latter part of the race but had a fast charger Felix Rosenqvist in the No.10 Clover Honda on his tail with the pair giving each other plenty of room as they fought for the lead of the race. Speaking following the event, Dixon who is now a six time winner at Road America said:
Oh, man, that was crazy,” said Dixon, who drives the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda. “(I was) just a sitting duck … and if I wasn’t his teammate I think he would have (knocked) me off.”
The Iceman went on to say:
I think it was, honestly, with about 15 to go, I started moaning to the team. ‘I’m like, man, I think we’re going to have to pit again.’ A lot of it, I think, was just bad choices from my front. I think after the race, Chip (Ganassi, team owner) said that he had decided that we should have gone to blacks (Firestone primary tires). And I said, ‘Well, how did you and the team — how did we not go to blacks?’ But I said, ‘It looks like the reds (Firestone alternate tires) are holding on pretty well,’ but we made adjustments to the first set of sticker reds and had quite a bit of understeer. We made those changes for the used second set that already had four laps on it from qualifying and they just couldn’t take it. It was too aggressive. Luckily, I used them early to try and get past some of those (lapped) traffic cars that did help us later on, I think, at least (to) delay Felix (Rosenqvist, teammate) getting to us. But ultimately, had we gone to the black tires, we would have maintained our eight- or ten-second gap, but it definitely made it exciting for me and I’m sure everybody else. And huge respect for Felix. He drove clean, and ultimately, I don’t know, it was going to be hard for any car to come past, even though we were about three seconds slower a lap than anyone else.”
How did Rosenqvist feel about challenging his team mate and championship contender for the win? The Swede said:
A bit of a mixed (message). “He’s always on the right level of aggression and safety,
Rosenqvist went on to say:
(About if he had mixed emotions after almost winning the race): “Yes and no. I think we have to keep the perspective. Had our first podium today and also a one-two finish for Chip Ganassi Racing. Obviously tough when I think we really had the right strategy and the pace to win the race. With those five (lapped) cars in front of us it was going to be difficult, and I was really frustrated on the radio. Barry (Wanser), my strategist, tried to really keep me calm and (we) tried to pick off (the lapped cars) one by one, so I used a lot of push-to-pass to get through (Max) Chilton and Marco (Andretti) and whoever was in front of me. I think it’s a bit of a shame because maybe at times we were missing out on a good battle when you had to race cars that were fighting for P24. But anyways, that’s what it is. I really want to credit Chip (Ganassi, team owner) for letting us race. The last lap, I think everyone really enjoyed that. We were enjoying it. We were banging wheels in Turn 2 there, (it) was a bit exciting. But Scott (Dixon) is always going to fight you hard, but fair, and I think I did the same, and maybe one more lap we could have got him. But yeah, it was awesome.”
The win was Dixon’s 46th of his NTT IndyCar Series career and he has now closed to within 62 points of championship leader Josef Newgarden with just four races remaining.
Team owner Chip Ganassi took to Twitter saying:
WINS Mid Ohio
Ganassi also congratulated Felix Rosenqvist saying:
I’m really proud of you! Congratulations on your 1st podium.