until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Dixon transforms IndyCar title bid with wild Nashville win

by Jack Benyon
9 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Scott Dixon came from 14th on the grid, via getting extensive damage and being a lap down, to take his second IndyCar win of the season, as Nashville’s street course delivered another crash-strewn and spectacular race.

Because of how chaotic and how many cautions flew, the race only really came together in the second half as conflicting strategies played out.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden led the majority of it having pitted on lap 39 of 80, but any question on whether he could make the end of the race from there was answered when while leading under caution on lap 68 he dived for the pits.

That handed the lead to Dixon who was able to vault up the order along with Christian Lundgaard when they opportunistically pitted before just before a caution, which allowed them to move towards the front of the field. That was one of the total of seven pitstops Dixon made during the race as he used strategy gambles to get back into contention.

The penultimate caution on lap 68 – caused by Kyle Kirkwood crashing into fellow rookie David Malukas as they fought on the cusp of the top six – promoted some strong cars including Colton Herta into contention. He had crashed inside the first 10 laps while racing Dalton Kellett near the back of the field following his qualifying error, but was able to use the myriad cautions to get his lap back and race forward.

But Dixon – who had temporarily gone a lap down earlier in the race with a bent wheel that wouldn’t come off the car following contact in a traffic jam accident, and caused damage underneath – held off Lundgaard and polesitter Scott McLaughlin until the final caution for a Jimmie Johnson crash teed up an 10 lap run to the finish.

Only on the restart, a dive past three Andretti Autosport cars by Newgarden which would have jumped him into the top five ended with Romain Grosjean in the Turn 9 wall as the two made contact. Front row starter Grosjean was furious.

A subsequent red flag set up a two-lap finish.

However despite his lack of downforce due to damage, Dixon held on by just a tenth of a second to take a 53rd IndyCar victory that moves him clear of Mario Andretti into second behind AJ Foyt on the all-time win list.

Even before today Dixon had scored the highest number of points on street circuits this season.

He didn’t take tyres on his last stop, which made his win even more impressive.

McLaughlin was absolutely rapid early on but had a rare slow pitstops for one of the best teams in the series and had to race his way back in to contention, which he did using the “best race car I’ve ever had in my life”.

Even with a push to pass advantage McLaughlin could’t get by but adds crucial points to the championship, as did third-placed Alex Palou who was another driver who gained ground by pitting just before an early caution.

Alexander Rossi locked his rears and spun early on while attempting an alternate strategy, but raced hard in the second half of the race to carve through the field to fourth from 17th on the grid, ahead of Herta who started 23rd.

Newgarden wasn’t penalised for the Grosjean crash and took sixth ahead of a clever strategy from Felix Rosenqvist which involved putting on a nice set of soft tyres right at the end. He used them to great affect.

Lundgaard was in the top three on the final restart but was barged out of the way by Rossi and Herta and then continued to fall, robbing him of a second podium in a row after his first last week at Indianapolis.

Jack Harvey, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power completed a list of just 11 drivers on the lead lap.

Power was hit in an early concertina crash where multiple cars ploughed into the back of each other, and after that did the whole race with no dash display which meant he didn’t know what gear he was in and struggled with shifting.

He did well to come home 11th and still add to his points margin over pre-race main rival Marcus Ericsson, who was set for a top five when he was barged wide by Grosjean at the final corner and then hit from behind by Herta at the same time which put his car into a safety mode he couldn’t come back from, and was credited with finishing 14th.

Power keeps the championship lead but Dixon is now six points behind with Ericsson a further six adrift.

Newgarden is 22 points behind, Palou is 33 off, McLaughlin trails by 58 and Pato O’Ward – who was taken out by Graham Rahal in the concertina crash early on – is still in with a shot 58 points behind.

There are three races left with the series heading to the short oval at Gateway next.

Race Results

Pos Name Team Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 80 15 2h6m24.243s 1m16.853s 7 51
2 Scott McLaughlin Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 80 22 +0.107s 1m15.749s 3 42
3 Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 80 31 +0.61s 1m15.828s 3 38
4 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 80 0 +0.942s 1m16.941s 5 32
5 Colton Herta Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Dallara DW12-Honda 80 0 +1.395s 1m16.73s 4 30
6 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 80 12 +2.183s 1m15.956s 4 29
7 Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren SP Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 80 0 +2.843s 1m16.259s 4 26
8 Christian Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 80 0 +3.273s 1m16.762s 3 24
9 Jack Harvey Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 80 0 +4.156s 1m17.003s 5 22
10 Simon Pagenaud Meyer Shank Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 80 0 +4.4s 1m17.117s 3 20
11 Will Power Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 80 0 +6.785s 1m16.732s 3 19
12 Rinus VeeKay Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 79 0 +1 lap 1m16.729s 5 18
13 Hélio Castroneves Meyer Shank Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 79 0 +1 lap 1m17.058s 9 17
Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 76 0 DNF 1m16.654s 3 16
15 Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 76 0 +4 laps 1m17.524s 8 15
Romain Grosjean Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 75 0 DNF 1m15.995s 2 14
17 Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 74 0 +6 laps 1m17.541s 4 13
Jimmie Johnson Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 72 0 DNF 1m18.031s 3 12
David Malukas Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsport Dallara DW12-Honda 63 0 DNF 1m16.046s 2 11
Kyle Kirkwood A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 63 0 DNF 1m16.353s 2 10
Takuma Sato Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Dallara DW12-Honda 32 0 DNF 1m17.899s 1 9
Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 32 0 DNF 1m17.246s 2 8
Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 29 0 DNF 1m17.136s 2 7
Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 25 0 DNF 1m17.1s 1 6
Dalton Kellett A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 25 0 DNF 1m18.189s 1 5
Simona De Silvestro Paretta Autosport Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 25 0 DNF 1m18.369s 1 5
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