INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Scott Dixon finally made his second trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s victory lane.
Twelve years after winning his only Indianapolis 500 on the Brickyard’s historic 2.5-mile oval, the five-time series champion added a second title Saturday – this one by a dominant 19.9469 seconds over Graham Rahal in the IndyCar Grand Prix.
Dixon finished runner-up in each of the last three races on the track’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. This time, second wouldn’t do.
â€œIt’s so good to be standing here, racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Dixon said after pumping his fist in a mostly empty and silent renovated winner’s circle. â€œWe got lucky, man.”
The New Zealand star got some help when pole-winner and three-time race champion Will Power stalled in the pits. And he had to pass Rahal, whose team-owning father won the Indy 500 in 1986.
Otherwise, it was a relatively easy drive for Dixon, whose 48 IndyCar wins rank third behind A.J. Foyt (67) and Mario Andretti (52).
Dixon also broke up Team Penske’s monopoly on winning this race – the first race held at the track since Roger Penske bought it from the Hulman family in November.
Power and Simon Pagenaud split the previous six races on the road course, the last five as teammates for the series powerhouse. Pagenaud finished third Saturday after qualifying 20th.
And for the first time in his 20-year career, Dixon opened the season with back-to-back wins, having taken the season opener last month at Texas.
Dixon made it look easy after maneuvering his way through the field from the No. 7 starting spot. He took charge during the second half of the race and left nothing to chance.
The race ended IndyCarâ€™s one-month hiatus and kicks off a busier schedule that features four races over the next two weeks. It was also the opener of an unprecedented IndyCar-NASCAR weekend.
Xfinity Series drivers were scheduled to race on the road course later Saturday, and NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 caps the weekend on Sunday.
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