PORTLAND, Ore – Scott Dixon has always told me that he never looks too deep into how things play out. If he’s wronged one way, he said it always comes back the other way to make up for it later.
Well, lets rewind to last Saturday night. Dixon, finished third, one spot behind Alexander Rossi in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at the Gateway Motorsports Park. Rossi, was the only driver to stretch his fuel in the end as he went 71 laps without stopping en route to a second place run in his No. 27 Honda.
Rossi’s bold pit strategy cut another three points off of Dixon’s lead heading into the penultimate race of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at the Portland International Raceway.
But, strategy came back and bit Rossi on Sunday.
See, when Dixon was involved in a first lap accident, he would restart the race 21st. Rossi, was in the top three. Then, Will Power had a problem with his gear box which handed the lead to Rossi. It was his race to really lose from there.
Dixon, was off sequence and hoping for a chance. Then, he sped on pit road on his next stop. That was what I thought then was the dagger. Rossi’s lead could be upwards of 20 or more points leaving Portland. The race and the title was now his to lose.
In turn, Rossi got conservative. He was battling with Josef Newgarden but was playing it safe. Stay on strategy and stay on sequence.
When a caution came out for his teammate Zach Veach, Rossi hit pit road. Again, play it safe. Dixon, did not. Still, he should be fine right?
Another caution flag flew not too long later and Dixon was now home free. Rossi, was on the same cycle as Dixon but several spots behind his main challenger for the title. See, Rossi had a chance to gamble and stay out and stretch fuel again. His teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay did and he finished second.
Rossi, well he was outside of the top 10 and only got up to eighth in the end.
Dixon, finished fifth.
In turn, Dixon got his three points back from last week as the deficit went from 26 back up to 29.