Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon came through from last place on the grid to take the win at IndyCar’s annual day away at Mid-Ohio.
The win for Dixon takes him to 34 wins in the series, level with the legendary Al Unser Jr. after fighting through the field after being well and truly caught out by the wet weather in the qualifying session.
22 places were gained during his battle round the Ohio circuit which happens to be the second biggest places gained in the series, only Max Papis has done better – gaining 24 places at Laguna Seca 13 years ago.
Dixon gained the places using an aggressive pit stop strategy which tied in nicely with yellow flag periods to get rid of the unwanted black tyres quicker than most meaning that he had longer on the much faster red side walled Firestone rubber.
“Truthfully, I didn’t think it was possible,” said Dixon, who has taken a win in 10 consecutive seasons following his first victory since Houston last year. “Great pit stops by everybody on Team Target and the strategy was spot on once we got that Lap 37 yellow. Long, hard-fought day but huge thanks to Chevy and obviously we got fantastic fuel mileage there, too.”
However, it wasn’t easy for the Australian as pole sitter Sebastien Bourdais finished just five seconds behind after being freed of a battle with Josef Newgarden when the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing driver received a drive through penalty for running over his air hose.
Bourdais said: “We got a little unlucky on that one obviously. The team wanted to go straight to blacks on the first pit stop, and I thought maybe it was a bit early. A lot of guys did go on reds as well on the first pit stop. It was the right choice until the yellow came out, and then we had to do the restart on a green track with black tires. That was tough. Hats off to Dixie (Scott Dixon) and the (Chip) Ganassi guys. We didn’t have anything for them. They were clearly the class of the field and deserve it. It is a one-two for Chevy so I couldn’t be any happier with the Mistic boys. We will keep rolling!”
The man who pounced on the Newgarden penalty was James Hinchcliffe who fought off Carlos Munoz to get a much needed podium finish.
For this years Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay he will be pleased to not have to see Mid-Ohio for another year after earning a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane after he tried to take a place off Bourdais at a round of pit stops.