Scott Dixon was hoping the late race battle between Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud would give him the opportunity to take the lead at Gateway Motorsports Park, but he had to make do with finishing second on Saturday.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver was able to get ahead of two of the Team Penske drivers despite being clearly second best to them all weekend, but the New Zealander was unable to do anything about eventual race winner Newgarden.
Dixon felt it was a tough race under the lights at Gateway, the first race at the 1.25-mile oval since 2003, but his team were able to show their strengths, particularly at the end of their stints and in their pit stops.
“I guess that’s the best we could have hoped for,” said Dixon. “It was definitely going to be a tough race for us, but the car was actually very good. I think we had a better mechanical grip than the group we were racing with, with the Penskes, and especially toward the end of the run.
“We could sort of come back towards them. We had so much drag. We could get to them, but we couldn’t pull out and pass them. Definitely pretty hard to defend right there at the end with Simon (Pagenaud). It was pretty exciting to watch Josef (Newgarden) and Simon with that pass into Turn 1, which was pretty interesting, pretty tight.
“I was hoping it went a little bit different than what it actually did and could have picked up two spots, but huge credit to everybody on the NTT Data No. 9 car. Strong tonight. Strong pit stops.
“And how about the fans, man? This was awesome to come back to St. Louis and see the fans and how excited they were for this race.”