MADISON, Ill. — Scott Dixon collected his 50th career win in the NTT IndyCar Series in the first of two races at the World Wide Technology Raceway on Saturday.
Dixon, who had run in the top five all day long, moved ahead race leader Pato ‘O’Ward thanks to a blistering pit stop by his pit crew with less than 40 laps to go.
“The wolfpack on the 9-car nailed it,” Dixon said of his crew members. “Another big day for points too so we’re happy about that.”
The win is Dixon’s fourth of the season out of eight races run so far, which extends his already large lead in the championship standings.
Dixon had to hold off Takuma Sato in the closing laps in a reverse battle from a week ago at the end of the Indianapolis 500, in which Sato was victorious.
Sato came home second and O’Ward would finish third.
“The team did a fantastic job,” Sato said. “From last week we carried a lot of momentum. It’s frustrating, but these boys did a great job two weeks in a row.”
O’Ward was aghast at how Dixon and Sato sped away from him in the end but pleased with the result nonetheless.
“We had a very strong pace the whole race,” O’Ward said. “In the end, I don’t what these guys did, by he left us. I didn’t think he had so much more pace than us. Still, a very solid push in the championship.”
The result is O’Ward second podium finish this season as a rookie.
It was another tough day for Team Penske with Simon Pagenaud getting caught up in a big wreck at the start of the race. It was a wreck that also took out three Andretti Autosport cars in Alexander Rossi, Marco Andretti, and Zach Veach.
Pole sitter Will Power could not get his strategy to work out and would end up 17th. Josef Newgarden, who is second in the championship standings behind Dixon, finished 12th; a result that hurts his pursuit of Dixon for the season title.
The win for Dixon is his 50th career IndyCar win, putting him just two wins behind Mario Andretti for second in all-time IndyCar wins. AJ Foyt is the winningest driver all-time with 67 wins.
“This is awesome,” Dixon said. “Last week at Indianapolis was a bit of a bummer, so it’s great to get a win. Number 50 sounds awesome!”
Teams have no time to waste as they prep for Race 2 on Sunday of a doubleheader weekend in St. Louis. They will have to run the same cars they ran in the first race on Saturday.
Sato will sit on the pole for the second race with Josef Newgarden joining him in second on the front row. Dixon will start sixth.
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