Dixon Runs Away from Field for Breakthrough Victory on IMS Road Course in GMR Grand Prix

Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing won the GMR Grand Prix in Indianapolis. © [Andy Clary/ Spacesuit Media]

Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing won the GMR Grand Prix in Indianapolis. © [Andy Clary/ Spacesuit Media]

INDIANAPOLIS (July 4, 2020) – After three straight years of near-miss disappointment, Scott Dixon finally closed the deal in the GMR Grand Prix.

Dixon benefited from a well-timed caution period near the midway point of the race and then drove away to dominate the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race Saturday on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, winning by an event-record 19.9469 seconds in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. It marked the first victory in this event for the five-time series champion Dixon, who had finished second in this race for the last three years.

“So good to be racing here again at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Dixon said. “We’ve had so many runner-up spots here on the road course. We got lucky. The strategy, the team just nailed it. We got lucky with that caution. But as soon as we got the balance right, the PNC Bank No. 9 just checked out.”

Dixon stayed perfect in the 2020 season, as he also won the season opener June 6 on the Texas Motor Speedway oval. Saturday’s result was the 48th career INDYCAR victory for Dixon, who is now just four wins behind Mario Andretti for No. 2 on the all-time series list.

Graham Rahal finished second in the No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda after making just two pit stops, one fewer than Dixon and the other contenders. Simon Pagenaud rebounded from a tough qualifying session Friday, jumping from a 20th starting spot to finish third in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet.

Colton Herta finished fourth in the No. 88 Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana Honda, while Rinus VeeKay bounced back from a tough debut last month at Texas to become the top-finishing rookie in the race, with a fifth-place result in the No. 21 Sonax Chevrolet.

Dixon earned his first victory at the Racing Capital of the World since he won the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in 2008. He jumped into contention Saturday when rookie Oliver Askew spun exiting Turn 14 and backed into the SAFER Barrier on Lap 36, triggering the only caution period of the 80-lap race. Askew was uninjured in the incident.

When the caution flew, pole sitter Will Power led Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden by 3.6495 seconds. But Power, Newgarden and other leaders had only made one pit stop, while Dixon made his second pit stop on Lap 33, two laps before the caution.

So, when Power, Newgarden and Jack Harvey dove into the pits for their second stops under caution, that elevated Dixon in the running order. Rahal led on the restart, with Spencer Pigot and Dixon second and third, respectively.

Dixon got around Pigot and then passed Rahal in Turn 1 for the lead on Lap 48. After that, he lost the top spot only when making his third and final pit stop on Lap 55. Dixon took the lead for good on Lap 62 after the leaders cycled through their final stops.

Then Dixon inexorably pulled away from Rahal and the rest of the field in a tour de force, delivering Chip Ganassi Racing its 110th INDYCAR victory. Dixon also became the first driver besides Pagenaud and Power to win this event, as the Team Penske teammates each have three victories in the IMS road course race that made its debut in 2014.

The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES event is a doubleheader next weekend, the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Race 1 is Saturday, July 11 (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN), with Race 2 on Sunday, July 12 (12:30 p.m. NBC).

Race Results of the GMR Grand Prix

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana- Results Saturday of the GMR Grand Prix NTT INDYCAR SERIES event on the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway RC, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (7) Scott Dixon, Honda, 80, Running
2. (4) Graham Rahal, Honda, 80, Running
3. (20) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 80, Running
4. (3) Colton Herta, Honda, 80, Running
5. (18) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 80, Running
6. (14) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 80, Running
7. (6) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 80, Running
8. (13) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 80, Running
9. (15) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 80, Running
10. (17) Takuma Sato, Honda, 80, Running
11. (19) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 80, Running
12. (8) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 80, Running
13. (12) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 80, Running
14. (22) Zach Veach, Honda, 80, Running
15. (9) Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, 80, Running
16. (10) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 80, Running
17. (2) Jack Harvey, Honda, 80, Running
18. (24) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 80, Running
19. (21) Alex Palou, Honda, 80, Running
20. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 80, Running
21. (26) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 79, Running
22. (25) Marco Andretti, Honda, 79, Running
23. (23) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 79, Running
24. (16) Spencer Pigot, Honda, 74, Mechanical
25. (11) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 41, Mechanical
26. (5) Oliver Askew, Chevrolet, 34, Contact

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 114.789 mph
Time of Race: 1:41:59.3232
Margin of victory: 19.9469 seconds
Cautions: 1 for 4 laps
Lead changes: 10 among 8 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Power, Will 1 – 16
Harvey, Jack 17
Rahal, Graham 18 – 26
Power, Will 27 – 38
Rahal, Graham 39 – 47
Dixon, Scott 48 – 54
Pigot, Spencer 55
Ericsson, Marcus 56
Newgarden, Josef 57 – 60
Veach, Zach 61
Dixon, Scott 62 – 80

NTT INDYCAR SERIES point standings: Dixon 104, Pagenaud 75, Newgarden 64, Herta 58, Rahal 54, Veach 50, Daly 46, O’Ward 42, Hunter-Reay 41, Ericsson 40.

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