until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Dixon ‘mad’ at himself over error, Newgarden ‘in with a shot’

by Matt Beer
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Scott Dixon says he is still “mad at myself” for an error at Mid-Ohio that left Josef Newgarden able to execute a 85 point swing in the points to have a chance in the IndyCar championship finale.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dixon won the first three races and has led the points all season, his gap extending as far as 117 points ahead after the eighth race of the season at Gateway.

In the five races since, Team Penske’s Newgarden has outscored Dixon in every race, cutting 85 points out of the lead margin with two wins, a second, a fourth, and an eighth.

During that run, Dixon was due to pull some points back in the second race of the double-header at Mid-Ohio, but an unforced error at Turn 1 where he lost the rear and spun cost him valuable points.

“It’s definitely been a trying last few race weekends between Mid-Ohio and Indy,” said Dixon after the Indianapolis double header.

“I’m still mad at myself for making that mistake at Mid-Ohio and letting those points get away.

“As always, the NTT IndyCar Series points title comes down to the last race, and even without the double points like we’ve seen before.”

Dixon – chasing his sixth IndyCar title – now leads by 32 points heading into the St Petersburg finale where there are 54 points on offer.

That means a ninth-place or better finish would seal the championship for Dixon.

Dixon’s average race finish this season is 5.15, while he has not finished outside of the top seven at St Pete in his last four attempts.

Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi IndyCar 2020

“It’s nice still to be on the leading side of the points at this stage – it’s still a good margin,” Dixon added.

“It gives us a little bit of a window.

“He [Newgarden] has to get most laps led, the four bonus points [plus the win] and we have to finish ninth.

“They’ve been very good at St Pete too for many years so we’re definitely going to have our work cut out. Kudos to Team Penske, Josef and Will winning this weekend.”

Newgarden – fighting for his third title in four years since joining Penske – beat Dixon to the win at St Pete last year for his first at the venue.

He also scored his first IndyCar victory at Indianapolis with his road course win on Friday, before following that up with a patient drive through the top 10 to fourth in Saturday’s race.

He believes he’s “in with a shot” at St Pete, even if he didn’t quite get the result he wanted.

“We were a little shy of where we needed to be,” said Newgarden.

“If we had a phenomenal day like we had yesterday, we would be in really good shape.

“We were just mediocre today.

“I think we had a car to compete with Will [Power, race winner] and [Colton] Herta and [Alexander] Rossi] up there, but we just didn’t start up there high enough.

Josef Newgarden IndyCar 2020

“The key for us was being up higher earlier today. I just had to work for a lot just like Scott (Dixon) did.

“If we had a cleaner qualifying run, I think we really would have had a better day.

“I’m really thankful to Team Chevy. There were two wins for Team Chevy here this weekend. They did a phenomenal job, and obviously having Hitachi support is always big for us.

“Look, we’re in it with a shot. We’re going to go to St. Pete and try and win this championship. I just wish we were in a little closer position.”

The battle between the two teams means two active streaks will continue.

Either Chip Ganassi Racing or Penske has won the IndyCar drivers championship since Ryan Hunter-Reay won with Andretti in 2012.

Also, Honda – with Ganassi – or Chevrolet which backs Penske have powered the title-winning car in every IndyCar season since 2003 (then IRL after the Champ Car split).

That year, Dixon won the title in an all-oval calendar and a five-way fight for the title, with Toyota power.

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