Great Scott Dixon the new 'Master of Mid-Ohio'
Kiwi Scott Dixon has completed a dramatic victory in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, going from the outhouse to penthouse as he blasted through the field from last on the grid.
Not that we really should have been surprised, for all his struggles in qualifying. This was Dixon's fifth victory in his last eight attempts on the Lexington street course, earning the champion New Zealander the tag, "Master of Mid-Ohio".
Dixon's race tactics were spot on as he employed a four-stop fuel and tire strategy, timing his finish perfectly on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car.
The New Zealander showed his pleasure at the finish, pumping his fist as he took the checkered flag. He won by 5.3864 seconds over Sebastien Bourdais to record the 34th victory of his career, joining Al Unser Jr. at sixth on the all-time list.
Dixon also secured a special place in the history books for the magnitude of his victory. Coming from 22nd on the grid on a road/street course is second only to Max Papis at Laguna Seca in 2001, who prevailed from the 25th starting position.
"Truthfully, I didn't think it was possible," Dixon said afterwards. "Great pit stops by everybody on Team Target and the strategy was spot on once we got that (lap 37) yellow."
Dixon's victory was notable on a number of fronts. It gave Chip Ganassi Racing its first victory of the season, and secured valuable points for the defending series champion. Dixon is the 10th different driver representing seven teams to win this season.
James Hinchcliffe finished a season-high third in the No. 27 United Fiber & Data car and Andretti Autosport teammate Carlos Munoz fourth. Graham Rahal of New Albany, Ohio, earned his second top-five finish on a road/street course this season in the No. 15 National Guard Rahal Letterman Racing car.
Will Power's sixth-place finish saw him take the IndyCar championship points lead from Team Penske team-mate Helio Castroneves who was diagnosed with a stuck throttle before the green flag and joined the race five laps down. He finished 19th.
Third-placed Ryan Hunter-Reay spun out on lap 37 to bring out the second full-course caution. He finished 10th and is now just one point ahead of Simon Pagenaud.
The series now heads to the Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest on Aug. 17.