Dixon feels win in Detroit had “a little bit of luck” as he managed aggressive fuel strategy to take 58th career victory

Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment | Joe Skibinski
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Victory on the streets of Detroit for Scott Dixon meant he has picked up his 58th career IndyCar win, which has moved him to within nine wins of the all-time series record, currently held by AJ Foyt.

It is Dixon’s second win of the season, this one he thought was a bit more of a stroke of luck, as the snakes and ladders game of cautions and incidents led to a chaos that thanks to his experience, he came out the other end of on top.

His first win this season also came on a street course, as he won the Long Beach GP back in April. The strategies for both races were fairly similar, in their need for fuel saving.

“I think some of today is a little bit of luck, right? I think Long Beach, we took an aggressive approach. If we were lucky, we would have had some caution. We had to do it the very difficult way of having no caution.

“Today it kind of played out that way a little bit, but it was tight. A lot of people on our strategy didn’t make it.” 

Fuel saving is a unique talent the Kiwi has become well known for over his 22 seasons in IndyCar, as he expanded on how he is able to achieve such a feat and the difficulties he faced in Detroit.

“Colton [Herta] made it definitely more difficult. The way that I might save fuel is different to him. He was getting me very out of sync. You need free and clean air because you want a very positive front.

“He definitely made it difficult for me. That’s why I made the lunge on him. We know he’s not going to go to the end. They were throwing a Hail Mary to get their lap back and work it out.”

Towards the end of the race, as the cars of his CGR teammate Marcus Armstrong and Andretti Global’s Marcus Ericsson grew closer to Dixon, he began to feel more frustrated with the Andretti car of Herta in front of him, as at one point the top three cars were covered by only 1.6 seconds.

“It was a bit frustrating there. I’m watching obviously on my dash the gap behind. Marcus [Armstrong] was doing a great job getting the number, obviously great speed. When he got kind of within a second, I’m like we need to go here.”

And go he did, following his overtake on Herta, he pulled over three seconds to Armstrong behind who eventually was overtaken himself by Ericsson as the sneaky swede closed in on Dixon but it wasn’t enough, crossing the line just under a second behind.

The difficult conditions were what made the race a tough one for the drivers, as mixing a combination of changeable weather with difficulties warming up the tyres, that were harder than usual, in anticipation for the introduction of the new hybrid engines at Mid-Ohio in July, it was always sure to be what Dixon described as a “wild race”.

“Yeah, wild race. Quick conditions. Conditions were very tough. We saw tires going off that we didn’t think were going to. It was definitely pretty wild and full on at many of the times out there.

“Anticipating the hybrid, the tire was pretty hard here. Very hard to turn the black tires on. Front tires makes it easy to lock. Colder conditions than last year. That probably definitely played a factor, as well.”

With last Weekend’s race, Dixon has catapulted himself right to the top of the Drivers’ Standings, which he now leads by 18 points, following a poor result for his teammate Alex Palou. Despite this, Dixon was adamant the result would not change his approach to race day at Road America next week.

“It’s not good to see a teammate have a bad day. Alex had issues right from the start, burning the rears off the car. Haven’t spoken to him yet. Once you get back in the melee there, it can go one way or the other. Obviously he got collected in that situation.

“If you look at a couple of the Penske cars, heard a lot of guys you know are going to be racing for the championship had a tough day today.

“See how it goes. It’s swings and roundabouts. Same thing can happen next week in Road America.”