PLYMOUTH, Wis – Leaving the INDYCAR Grand Prix a little over a month ago, everyone knew that Scott Dixon would likely be in the drivers seat for this year’s NTT IndyCar Series championship. By time we got to Road America in June, everyone was going to be far in his rear view mirror. Unfortunately, it’s been anything but lately.
See, the defending series champion was off to a sizzling start. The runner-up finish in the May 11 event was his third of the year already. He also had a third place run in Long Beach the race prior.
While Dixon wasn’t in the points lead, he was only six points out of it. His mid season surge hadn’t even happened yet and here he was knocking on the doorstep of the championship lead.
But, the luck has since changed – big time. In his last four starts on the season, Dixon has just one top 15 finish, a win in the second Duel in Detroit. Instead of being six points out, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver is now 89 points behind Josef Newgarden.
Scott Dixon practices at Road America this weekend – INDYCAR Media Site
He’s lost 83 points over the last four races. That’s why he’s aiming to get back on track for Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix at Road America (12:30 p.m. ET/NBC/INDYCAR Radio Network). Unfortunately, his weekend has just been “average.”
“We haven’t had the best luck or finishes over the past few rounds and now is the time for results,” Dixon said ahead of this weekend’s race. “We’re at the halfway mark in the season and you really have to start collecting points to set up for the final races to have a shot at the championship. I think this weekend will be key for that reason.”
So far, Dixon was only 11th on the overall speed chart on Friday and 12th in practice on Saturday. He qualified his No. 9 Honda 12th after seeing a mechanical issue at the end of the first round which didn’t allow him to qualify in Round 2 as a result. What’s puzzling was that he has two straight podiums in Elkhart Lake including a win in 2017. He also has two runner-up finishes in-a-row on natural road courses in 2019 as well.
Can he charge to the front on Sunday? How did he end up here anyways?
“Well, I don’t really know what to say,” said a disappointed Dixon on Saturday. “It just seems like one of those weekends where anything that could go wrong, goes wrong. We struggled a little bit with pace, and then just putting laps together for whatever reason. I’m not sure if that was just an underlying issue that finally just gave up, but I lost power coming into Turn 12. It’s unfortunate, of course, but at least we made a few little gains on track before that happened. Not a great start to the weekend for us in the PNC Bank car but it’s a long race and hopefully we can make it up tomorrow.”
Dixon, led 13 laps but finish just 17th in the Indianapolis 500. He made a rare but costly mistake in the first race at Belle Isle when he crashed out and finished 22nd. It was Dixon’s first DNF in almost two years.
Then, two races later, he had his second DNF in three starts when he crashed with Colton Herta on Lap 228 at Texas. Dixon, finished 17th as a result giving him finishes of – 17th, 22nd, 1st and 17th respectively in his last four races.
His teammate of Felix Rosenqvist is actually holding the banner for CGR this weekend instead. The Sweden native was fifth quick in his No. 10 Honda on Friday and seventh on Saturday. Also, he’s at his comfort level on these types of track with scoring two consecutive top 10 finishes on them. Unfortunately, he will only start 18th.
“I came out a little bit on the wrong side of a tenth of a second there in qualifying,” said the rookie driver. “There were four cars ahead of us in the same tenth of a second. It’s always tight in INDYCAR. This time I came out on the wrong side after I made a mistake on my second lap, which I think we could have gone through without. It’s still not where we need to be with the car, and there is still a big gap to (Alexander) Rossi and to (Colton) Herta. I think we could have gone through so it’s a little bit disappointing. We have to look at an alternative strategy in the race tomorrow in the NTT DATA car.”
Heading into Sunday’ 55 Lap race, it’s Rosenqvist not Dixon who looks like the best option to win out of the Ganassi camp at the moment though.