Dixon Finishes Runner-Up After Grueling IndyCar Season Opener In St. Pete

ST. PETRESBURG, Fla – Imagine spending most of your offseason in the cold yet snowy Midwest region of the United States. See, Scott Dixon took some travels this offseason but his base remains on the north side of Indianapolis. Now, imagine how your body feels when you go to sunny Florida for the first time from a cold region.

The weather feels amplified right?

Well, imagine working out in the Florida sun for over 2 hours and putting such a load on your body that you’re pulling more g loading than what astronauts feels when taking off into space and doing so without taking a drink.

That’s what happened to Scott Dixon on Sunday. The drink in his car wasn’t working as he went all 110 grueling Laps in 85 degree heat in Sunday’s NTT IndyCar Series season opener without being able to quench his thirst.

Despite that, he still finished runner-up and was at his strongest at the end. We don’t call him the iron man for nothing.

“Kept pushing the button a lot thinking it was going to work at some point,” said Dixon after a hot and steamy race. “It was kind of annoying. It was definitely a physical race, lots of green laps. It was pretty hot out there and the car is moving around a lot, especially on a slight downforce situation, and you have to push the whole time, right, to try to close these gaps. For me it was physical. I think I’ve had about six bottles of water, so nice to finally get some water.

“But yeah, that happens occasionally. Hopefully doesn’t happen again.”

Dixon has never won back-to-back IndyCar championships. He’s 0-for-4 in his efforts. But, he’d like to end that in 2019 and follow up last year’s title with a second straight. It’s rare that a driver with the second most championships in Indy Car ever has never won two straight.

His first came in 2003 but it took five years for his next in 2008. It took another five years for his third in 2013. He’s won three now over the past six years. Can he get a fourth in seven?

If so, he’s off to a great start.

While he’s 0-for-15 now in St. Pete, he did earn a runner-up finish on the 1.8-mile street circuit. Sunday’s second place finish in his No. 9 Honda was his fourth in the annual season opener (2006, 2007, 2012, 2019) as he now has four straight top seven finishes to his credit at St. Pete. In comparison, Dixon finished sixth last year.

This weekend, Dixon was fairly quiet. He was fourth, 13th and seventh respectively in practice saying he had a top three car in his opinion. He spun in qualifying on Saturday but got lucky in a missed penalty from IndyCar on him but a penalty called on Takuma Sato for a similar spin. That moved Dixon up into the top six which advanced him from the first round to the second. Dixon, called that a Christmas present.

He could have started 14th. Instead, he advanced easily through the second round and started 10 spots better in fourth. Just past halfway, he passed Will Power for second on track and remained there until the end.

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