Scott Dixon, one of the IRL’s most talented drivers at just the age of 32, has now won as many IndyCar races as driving legend Rick Mears; an amazing 29 career wins!
But considering No. 29 for Dixon came in yesterday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where he has won two straight and a record four at the event in six years, he seems to have an extraordinary feel for the 2.258-mile, 13-turn track.
“It’s the rhythm, Scott enjoys rhythm race tracks, I think maybe it’s that simple,” said Mike Hull, managing director of Dixon’s team, Chip Ganassi Racing. “He can chase (the changing grip levels of the) race track. And whenever we race a track that has a lot of timing with it, he just really, really comes on.”
Dixon, who passed Emerson Fittipaldi for the event record, reiterated that he and his team have been pretty good in most races, but there is no doubting he is the maestro of Mid-Ohio, not after yesterday’s 3.4619-second win over polesitter Will Power in a race run with no caution periods.
“I wish I was this happy to come to all the tracks,” Dixon said. “When you see it coming up on the calendar I’m excited for it because I know we do well.
“That’s why I was so disappointed yesterday (when he qualified a mere fourth). It was like we really lost it here.”
Dixon and his team rediscovered the magic yesterday, and they did it with his determined driving and some great pit stops. Dixon got past the first two cars in front of him on the first stop, and passed Power on the second stop.
With Power just in front of him entering the pits, and with Power’s pit stall just in front of his stall, Dixon “slithered into” his stop, he said, while Power had to make a sharp left turn to get around the tires set out by Dixon’s crew before pulling to a stop.
“I hit the marks even before he did,” Dixon said. “That’s just how it goes now and then. … It’s just one of those perfect moments.”
Power led the first 57 laps, but Dixon beat Power out of the pits. Barring calamity in the last 28 laps, that was the race, because they were the class of the field.
“Today, the circumstances made it difficult,” Power said of the pit situation. “It would be unfair to say that they didn’t do a good job, because I think they did. It just happened to be that Dixon, the guy we’re fighting, was right behind us, he’s laid out as we’re coming in. Nothing you can do about it.”
Power wasn’t bitter. Besides, due to the engine problems suffered by Ryan Hunter-Reay, Power parlayed his second-place finish into the points lead, 379-374 over Hunter-Reay, with three races to go.
“We’ll keep chasing after it. We’ll get a win here soon and keep going after that championship,” Power said.
Graham Rahal, meanwhile, had the drive of the race. He started 21st after he and his arm of the Ganassi team had a poor qualifying effort, but he rose to an 11th-place finish, tough to do in a caution-free race, the first at Mid-Ohio since 1985.
“It’s good, because we did move up as far as we did, but it’s not enough,” Rahal said. “We want to win.
“We’ve just got to do a better job as a team for these last three races, and we can do it.”