ELKHART LAKE, WI (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon won his third straight NTT INDYCAR SERIES race Saturday at Road America, holding off Team Penske’s Will Power on a couple of late restarts to grab the victory.
“I don’t know how that happened,” said Dixon in Victory Lane. “Huge thank you to everybody on the PNC Bank team. The car was really hard to drive this morning but we dialed it in a little better during the race. That was awesome man”.
“It was a good drive,” said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. “We didn’t start exactly where we wanted to today but he persevered.”
Dixon’s crew made a crucial decision during the second round of pit stops to call Dixon in early while he was stuck in traffic running sixth.
Dixon came out of the pits ahead of the traffic alongside a hard-charging Power, who pitted a lap before the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda. While Dixon and Power were battling it out, the leader of the race Josef Newgarden came to pit road.
Disaster stuck for Newgarden when he stalled the car on pit road. Team Penske got the PPG Chevy restarted and the defending series Champion returned to the field in 15th position.
The pit-stop cycle shuffled the running order and Power and Dixon found themselves at the front of the pack followed by Santino Ferrucci in the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan Honda.
“We came out of the pits they’re (the team) like ‘you and Power first and second’ and I was like ‘how?'” marveled Dixon.
The trio had a 5-second lead on fourth place Ryan Hunter-Reay with 20-laps left in the 55-lap event. Three laps later the caution flag came out for this week’s Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast guest Jack Harvey of Meyer Shank Racing. Harvey suffered brake failure, sending the No. 60 AutoNation SiriusXM Honda into the gravel trap.
“I went into the corner at Turn Three and my brakes locked up and the wheels spun,” said Harvey. “There wasn’t much I could do when the brakes failed in that way. All year we’ve had a fast car and that is what is frustrating because this was a weekend that we could have had a top five. Something randomly happened that took us out of contention which is greatly disappointing for myself and the whole Meyer Shank Racing team. I know that we have the speed and these guys will work hard to figure out exactly what went wrong so that we can come back equally as strong tomorrow.”
Dixon’s “Wolfpack” crew executed a flawless pit stop under caution giving the 5-time series Champion the lead off pit road ahead of Power.
Dixon took the ensuing green flag with 14-laps-to-go and held off Power going into Turn 1 but before the lap was even complete, the caution was back out when Conor Daly was sent off the track by contact with Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward as the pair went into Turn 7.
“It really hard to go 2-wide through there but I had enough of a run you’ve got to take a chance,” said Daly. “I don’t really race with him that much but it was tough there, that’s probably on both of us.”
The subsequent restart saw Dixon get away from Power but the yellow came out again when rookie A.J. Foyt Racing driver Dalton Kellett ended up in the gravel in Turn 14.
The green flag came back out with 8-laps to go and Dixon beat Power into Turn 1 and rookie Alex Palou beat Hunter-Reay to get third place.
Dixon built a lead of 1.2-seconds in one lap, 1.6-seconds in two laps and maintained that lead with 5-laps to go. Dixon extended the lead to 1.8-seconds with 4-laps to go, 2.3-seconds with three laps to go and 2.5-seconds with one lap to go.
The win was Dixon’s 49th career win leaving him three shy of INDYCAR legend Mario Andretti for 2nd place on the all-time wins list. The victory marks the 2nd time Dixon has won three races in a row. The first time was in 2013 when Dixon won Pocono and both Toronto races.
“It’s not me man,” said Dixon. “The team does such an amazing job to cover all the bases. We’re in the business of winning so we’ve got to win. Proud of everybody on this team and obviously our partners like PNC Bank and Honda. It’s really cool to win today.”
Dixon goes into tomorrow’s second race at Road America with a 62-point lead over Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud in the INDYCAR Championship standing.
Dixon will look to make it four-straight wins to start the NTT INDYCAR SERIES tomorrow in Race 2 of the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Doubleheader at noon (ET, NBC) from Road America.
INDYCAR Community Reacts To No Fans At Indy 500
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The INDYCAR community is reacting to the news that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has decided to run the Indy 500 on August 23 without fans in attendance. The decision is a reversal of a plan set forth a few weeks ago where the event would be run in front of 25-percent of the capacity of the Speedway.
Speedway President J. Douglas Boles, who has been a guest on The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast, is appreciative of his team and the fans:
Heartbroken for my fellow fans. Proud of the @IMS team that has worked thousands of hours to make the race happen with spectators. Even through end of yesterday we were working on setting up to open the gates. Thankful for Roger’s passion, commitment & leadership in these times. https://t.co/I7TadsP2sd
— J. Douglas Boles (@jdouglas4) August 4, 2020
Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal took to social media to make some great points:
Today’s news brought lots of mixed emotions, but we’ve got to do what is necessary for our fans & community’s health & safety now in order to keep this sport & race alive for generations to come. It won’t be the same without you all on 8/23, but we’ll be back strong in 2021.(2/2) pic.twitter.com/hL2ITFB27W
— Graham Rahal (@GrahamRahal) August 4, 2020
Spencer Pigot who drives for Steelers minority owner Rob Citrone and Robbie Buhl’s team Citrone Buhl Autosport with RLL also took to Twitter to express his feelings:
It's going to look and feel a lot different this year but it's still the Indy 500 and we will be giving it our all to entertain the fans watching from home! Looking forward to seeing you all back at the track next year. #Indy500 https://t.co/MPy4X1RsSK
— Spencer Pigot (@SpencerPigot) August 4, 2020
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson also weighed in:
Regarding the #Indy500 news, it’s a shame we cannot race in front of all you amazing fans! But I trust and believe @IndyCar have made the right call, safety always comes first. We will do everything to make it a great show for you all watching on the TVs back home #INDYCAR #ME8
— Marcus Ericsson (@Ericsson_Marcus) August 4, 2020
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Real and Alexander Rossi, two former 500 winners had this to say:
This is disappointing to say the least. Our sport, especially the Indy 500, is based on our fans. No doubt these are unprecedented times. With that said, Roger Penske & his team @IndyCar are simply doing what is necessary for the well being of our fans. https://t.co/o55xeCvVqy
— Ryan Hunter-Reay (@RyanHunterReay) August 4, 2020
— Alexander Rossi (@AlexanderRossi) August 4, 2020
Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, who’s boss owns the Speedway has a great idea:
Can’t imagine how tough this decision must have been. It won’t be the same without everyone at @IMS , but it’s still the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. Tell your friends to tune in, post on social & tell the world to tune in. Let’s make this the most watched race ever. #Indy500 pic.twitter.com/a0ZadLYyuP
— Josef Newgarden (@josefnewgarden) August 4, 2020
Not the news we all wanted to hear and can’t imagine how tough it was to make. Gutted for every single fan. Now, let’s all work together and get EVERYONE tuned into this race on August 23rd! #Indy500 pic.twitter.com/kChEZMMO82
— Jack Harvey (@jack_harvey42) August 4, 2020
Super bummed to hear we won’t be seeing all of the amazing fans in these seats this year. Hoping to make you all proud on the big screen on Aug. 23rd at the greatest spectacle in racing. Let’s make this one to remember. #WIXIndy #INDYCAR @DRRIndyCar @WIXFilters @JusticeBrosInc pic.twitter.com/6ywkkz85Ag
— Sage Karam (@SageKaram) August 4, 2020
— Ed Carpenter (@edcarpenter20) August 4, 2020
Stay tuned to Pittsburgh Racing Now for updated comments from the INDYCAR Community
No Fans At Indianapolis 500 in 2020
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is cancelling plans to have fans at the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 mile race.
“It is with great regret that we announce the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Aug. 23 without fans. This tough decision was made following careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership” the Speedway said in a statement.
“As dedicated as we were to running the race this year with 25 percent attendance at our large outdoor facility, even with meaningful and careful precautions implemented by the city and state, the COVID-19 trends in Marion County and Indiana have worsened. Since our June 26 announcement, the number of cases in Marion County has tripled while the positivity rate has doubled. We said from the beginning of the pandemic we would put the health and safety of our community first, and while hosting spectators at a limited capacity with our robust plan in place was appropriate in late June, it is not the right path forward based on the current environment.”
The Speedway is closing all on-track activity to the general public, including practice and qualifications. Ticket holders will be credited for the 2021 Indianapolis 500 and will retain their seniority and their originally assigned seats.
News from #IMS:
It is with great regret that we announce the Indianapolis 500 will take place on August 23 without fans. This tough decision was made following careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership.
— Indianapolis Motor Speedway (@IMS) August 4, 2020
The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast – Episode 15 – Aaron Reutzel, Matthew Dillner, Chip Ganassi and more!
PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The latest edition of The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast features the 2-time and defending Champion of the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 Aaron Reutzel. We also talk to Matthew Dillner of Dirty Mo Media about the new show he co-hosts with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chip Ganassi takes his own trip down memory lane and we hear from Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials about safety protocols in place at this year’s Indy 500.