Leaving the June 8 race at the Texas Motor Speedway, everyone thought that Scott Dixon was down and out for this year’s championship. He went from scoring four podiums in the first five races of the season including three of which being runner-up results to three finishes of 17th or worse in a four race span after. He also went from six points out of the championship lead to fourth, almost 100 points down in a month as a result of that.
Dixon, finished only 17th in the Indy 500. He made a rare mistake in the first race in Detroit and crashed for a 22nd place finish. One week later in Texas, he made another rare mistake and crashed with 20 laps-to-go with Colton Herta and finished 17th.
From then on though, it’s been all Dixon.
Scott Dixon pits his No. 9 Honda during the 2018 ABC Supply 500 at the Pocono Raceway
He spun on the opening lap of the race on June 23 at Road America but without a caution to help him, he drove up to fifth in the end. The next two races, he finished runner-up in each. Then, the last race at Mid-Ohio, Dixon led 38 of 90 laps en route to his second win of the season.
Now, on the heels of three straight runner-up finishes and consistently beating Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi and Simon Pagenaud in the finishing results, he has a shot. Yes, he’s 62 points down but that can be made up quickly.
Dixon, made up 38 points in Mid-Ohio alone. But, these next two weeks will let us know if Dixon is a contender or pretender.
On ovals in 2019, Dixon has scored just 82 points. That’s good enough for 11th in the series. Meanwhile, Pagenaud has scored 174 which is best in the series. Newgarden, has scored 171 with Rossi 151. They’re 1-2-3. Dixon, needs to improve on ovals or his title chances may evaporate again.
Rossi, has finished second on each of the two superspeedway’s run in 2019. He was also sixth in Iowa.
Newgarden, was fourth, first and first respectively on ovals this year.
Pagenaud, was first, sixth and sixth respectively himself.
Dixon, hasn’t fared well this season but he’s been good at Pocono and Gateway in the past. He’s a past winner at Pocono before and finished third last year. He has two straight podiums in the next race at Gateway. If he can stay within striking distance, then all bets are off.
Where Dixon has lacked in 2019 on ovals, he’s been great on natural road courses. In fact, no one has scored as many points on them than that of Dixon. 184 of his 442 points in 2019 were on natural road courses. The next best is Rossi with 144. Newgarden, is third at 140. That’s a 40+ point advantage on the competition. With the final two races on natural road courses and the final one being a double points race, all Dixon needs to do is maintain and he can close that gap quickly over the final two races.
“The Tricky Triangle… Pocono is really fast and produces great Indy car racing,” Dixon said. “It’s such a unique challenge to get everything right. The team swept the podium in 2013 and that is a perfect example of things going your way here when you get everything right. It’s a long race and it’s now time to roll the dice and take chances. Race wins are all that matter at this stage in the season if you want to have a shot at defending this championship title. I hope we come ready to race in the PNC Bank car and fight for the win.”