The “Iceman” remained cool in the heat of Texas. Scott Dixon bided his time and notched yet another accomplishment in his legendary career when he won the DXC Technology 600 under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway.
For the four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion, it was career win No. 43, moving Dixon ahead of Michael Andretti and into sole possession of third place on the all-time victory list. Only fellow greats A.J. Foyt (67) and Mario Andretti (52) have more Indy car wins.
“It’s really cool,” Dixon said. “Obviously, I have massive respect for a lot of these drivers, but when you look at those names – A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, the Unsers – to me it still seems very strange that ‘Dixon’ is on that list, too.
“I love the Verizon IndyCar Series. I think it’s the best racing on the planet, one of the most difficult with all the disciplines. For me, man, I just hope it continues. I hope we can keep a winning style, pick up wins.”
Starting seventh in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Dixon didn’t even lead until the 130th of 248 laps on the high-banked superspeedway oval. But once he assumed first place, Dixon never surrendered it, leading the final 119 laps and winning by 4.2943 seconds over Simon Pagenaud.
It was Dixon’s second win in a week – he took the checkered flag on June 2 in the first race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear – and pushed the 37-year-old atop the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings for the first time since the Toronto race in July 2017.
“All-around great team effort,” Dixon said. “Everybody at the PNC Bank crew was good. Car setup was obviously phenomenal, strategy was perfect, so it’s nice to have one of those nights. It’s not too often you get sort of a runaway, especially in the series at the moment.”
Pole sitter Josef Newgarden and Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud dominated the early going, leading 85 of the first 95 laps, as Dixon slowly climbed through the field. He made his second pit stop of the night on Lap 123 and cycled into the lead seven laps later as others made their stops.
From there, Dixon took control and built a lead of as much as 12 seconds in winning for the third time at Texas Motor Speedway. The previous two times Dixon won at Texas – in 2008 and 2015 – he went on to capture the season title.
Pagenaud led 26 laps in the No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet and was pleased to record his best finish of the season.
“It was a pretty fast-paced race, quite physical,” said Pagenaud, the 2016 series champion. “I was just trying to manage the (car) balance. It was quite fun, actually. We had to keep up with the tires, keep up with the balance of the car throughout the stints and also relay to the pit what you needed for the next one.
“It was fun. I had a lot of good battles, especially with Alexander (Rossi) at the end. Gave me some gray hair, the last 30 laps. But we managed to hold him off.”
Alexander Rossi led seven laps in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda and finished third. Rossi moved up one position in the standings and is now 23 points behind leader Dixon after nine of 17 races on the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.
“Simon did a good job defending,” Rossi said. “We tried to go up high, and I would have taken it if it was an easy one, but I couldn’t force the issue. We came home third. The NAPA AUTO PARTS car was awesome from the get-go. We were able to pass some cars and go long on fuel. The tire life was great, so all-in-all a great effort from the (No.) 27 team. We’ll just take another podium and focus towards Road America.”
The race saw a total of nine lead changes and 686 on-track passes, along with three caution periods. Matheus “Matt” Leist pulled off track with flames shooting from the back of his No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet on Lap 7. There wasn’t another yellow until Lap 173, when the cars of Robert Wickens and Ed Carpenter touched in Turn 3, sending both into the SAFER Barrier.
The final caution flag waved on Lap 205, when Will Power and Zachary Claman De Melo collided exiting Turn 4, ending the night for both drivers. All drivers involved in incidents were cleared by the INDYCAR medical staff, though Power did sustain a minor chest wall contusion.
Race results (top 10)
1. (7) Scott Dixon, Honda, 248, Running
2. (2) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 248, Running
3. (8) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 248, Running
4. (15) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 248, Running
5. (10) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 248, Running
6. (20) Graham Rahal, Honda, 248, Running
7. (9) Takuma Sato, Honda, 248, Running
8. (5) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 248, Running
9. (13) Ed Jones, Honda, 248, Running
10. (12) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 247, Running
Verizon IndyCar Series point standings:
Dixon 357, Rossi 334, Power 321, Hunter-Reay 308, Newgarden 289, Rahal 250, Wickens 244, Pagenaud 229, Bourdais 218, Andretti 213.