LEXINGTON, OH – Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was a day of damage control for current Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Scott Dixon. See, “Mr. Mid-Ohio” started the race in the ninth starting spot after getting a taste of some bad luck in qualifying on Saturday. With all of his main contenders for this year’s championship rolling off inside of the top five for the 90 Lap race around the 2.258-mile road course, it was a race to where Dixon needed to minimize the damage.
He’d do just that.
Dixon, charged hard for a fifth place finish in his 300th career series start. It was his 150th of his INDYCAR career and ninth top six finish over the last 10 races. While Alexander Rossi ended up winning and Will Power and Josef Newgarden finishing ahead of him, it’s not like they were too far up front where they gained a lot.
“We knew both those guys, Rossi and Newgarden, were going to be tough,” said Dixon on if his points lead is comfortable leaving here. “We’ve definitely got to dig deep. We kind of struggled all weekend with speed. All in all we just didn’t have a big flip in points so still fairly good.”
Dixon, entered this weekend 62 points to the good and leaves 46 markers up still. No one has had such a lead with these few races left and lost the championship over the last five races of a year. With how well the “Ice Man” has been over the course of his storied career to go along with a top six finish in 11 of the 13 races this season, good luck making up that many points on the Chip Ganassi Racing driver in just four races.
That’s why Sunday was a damage control day and one that he can hang his hat on.
Dixon, was also happy to just get back in the top five at Mid-Ohio. It was his first since 2015 as his five wins on the track all came in a nine year span from 2007 through 2014. He made the joke before the race that he needed to find his groove again here. Unfortunately for him, the qualifying mishap and a caution free race led to a fifth place finish.
“A lot, it’s just the way it is sometimes,” Dixon said on if qualifying went differently Saturday on if he would have contended for a podium finish. “I can’t control reds and where cars come out in front of us sometimes. Over the course of the season it seems to always work itself out.
“I think we were faster than the 12 (Power) and the 1 (Newgarden) but we’d pit and they’d just pit one lap later and we couldn’t get around them.”