PLYMOUTH, Wis – Scott Dixon has to be happy that he wound up with his 224th career top 10 finish and 160th top five in NTT IndyCar Series competition. But, the drive to the top five finish wasn’t pretty.
See, Dixon entered Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix at Road America frustrated. He dropped over 80 points in the standings over the last few races as he finished 17th in the Indianapolis 500, made a mistake and crashed for his first DNF in nearly two years in a 22nd place finish in Belle Isle 1 and crashed again in the last race at Texas two weeks ago (17th).
That’s three finishes of 17th or worse in his last four starts on the season. Prior to that, Dixon had three runner-ups and a third place run in the first five races of the year. He entered the Indy 500 only six points out of the lead in the championship standings. He entered this weekend’s race at Elkhart Lake over 90 points out.
So, when he had a mechanical failure on his No. 9 Honda towards the end of the first round, Dixon was stuck with a 12th place starting spot. That comes after being only 11th and 12th respectively on the two days of practice this weekend as well.
Factor that with an opening lap spin, you can see why he’s just happy to come away with a fifth place finish on Sunday.
See, Dixon made a mistake on the first lap when he went wide in Turn 5. By doing so, he had to get out of the throttle more than usual which led Ryan Hunter-Reay to run into the back of him as a result. Dixon, went from 12th to last (23rd) in five corners.
But, he quickly made up for that. Dixon, would charge and charge hard. He’d make up positions with ease and go from 23rd to 12th in just 10 laps. By the end of the first pit sequence, he was back where he started.
Then, it was on from there. Dixon, got around Colton Herta in the end for his second top five finish in the last five races. But, it’s one that Dixon has to wonder what might have been.
Dixon, started on the Firestone primary tires which is why he charged so hard despite his early race spin. He had two stints on Firestone Reds which is why he pounced in the end. What happens if he stayed up front?
“I think had we not had that issue at the start, getting turned around and losing 10 or so seconds, we may have been fighting for the podium today with the PNC Bank car,” said Dixon. “We had to kind of work our way back to the front all day. It is what it is, though. It happened and all you can do is put your head down and start to gain back that time. It’s just been one of those years to this point. You just have to keep your head down and keep collecting points. We’ll keep working hard.”
The Iceman was given new life and he leaves Road America 94 points out of the lead.