LEXINGTON, OH – Over the last decade, every Verizon IndyCar Series driver that had led the points standings by 50+ points with five races to go has hoisted the Astor Cup championship trophy every time.
Scott Dixon did it in 2008. So did Dario Franchitti in 2011. Simon Pagenaud also did that in 2016 too. Dixon, currently leads Josef Newgarden by 62 points heading into Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 (3 p.m. ET/CNBC/INDYCAR Radio Network) at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Furthermore, Dixon just won the last race of the season in Toronto and has scored a top four finish in every race with the exception of one since the start of the Month of May. Oh yeah, Mid-Ohio is Dixon’s course too.
Dixon is the all-time winningest Indy Car driver at Mid-Ohio with five victories (2007, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014).
Looked like his race to lose right?
Well, he opened the door on Saturday.
James Hinchcliffe was well on his way to making the Firestone Fast Six until his No. 5 Honda went off course in the closing seconds and landed in the tire barriers. That brought out a red flag which in turn, didn’t allow Dixon a final flier.
He will start ninth as a result.
The five guys behind him in the points standings heading into this weekend all make the Fast Six. See, when Hinchcliffe crashed, he lost his fastest two laps which in turn let his teammate Robert Wickens into the Fast Six.
Wickens would make the most of the opportunity and start fifth in his No. 6 Honda.
Alexander Rossi capitalized the most though, turning a lap of 1:04.6802-seconds in his No. 27 Honda in the third and final round en route to his third pole of the season and fourth of his INDYCAR career. In two of his first three poles, Rossi had won the race when he won the Verizon P1 Pole Award.
Can he do so on Sunday?
Will Power will start alongside in his No. 12 Chevrolet for his fourth straight front row starting spot at Mid-Ohio. Power, qualified with a time of 1:04.8939-seconds for his 14th straight top six starting spot.
Rossi’s Andretti Autosport teammate of Ryan Hunter-Reay will start third in his No. 28 Honda, circling the track with a time of 1:04.9896-seconds, while Josef Newgarden (1:05.1335-seconds) rounded out the top five.
The odd ball in the Fast Six was Max Chilton giving Carlin their first Fast Six appearance. He credited that speed to last weeks test.
Row 4 will be an all Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing row with Graham Rahal starting seventh and Takuma Sato eighth. They’ve both finished in the top 10 in all three races on natural road courses in 2018 and each came away with a top five last year here too.
Honda Indy 200 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Alexander Rossi, Will Power
Row 2: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Josef Newgarden
Row 3: Robert Wickens R, Max Chilton
Row 4: Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato
Row 5: Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe
Row 6: Ed Jones, Zach Veach R
Row 7: Marco Andretti, Conor Daly
Row 8: Charlie Kimball, Jordan King R
Row 9: Simon Pagenaud, Spencer Pigot
Row 10: Tony Kanaan, Jack Harvey R
Row 11: Matheus Leist R, Pietro Fittipaldi R
Row 12: Rene Binder R, Sebastien Bourdais