LEXINGTON, Ohio – Scott Dixon won this one in the pits.
Dixon took the lead for good by passing Will Power in pit row on the 57th lap and then held on Sunday to capture his fourth IndyCar title in the last six years at Mid-Ohio.
We’ve had good speed everywhere, but you’ve got to say this place has been really good to us, Dixon said.
Dixon, who previously won titles on the winding road course in 2007, ’09 and ’11, qualified a disappointing fourth. But he patiently picked off cars until he sped past Power when both pitted just past the midpoint of the 85-lap race.
Power did get a consolation prize despite finishing second: He took over the points lead from Ryan Hunter-Reay, who finished 24th.
Power was well aware of the predicament he faced as he headed into the pits. Every other car had already pitted, so it was empty. Dixon quickly pulled into his slot and got a fill-up and new tires and then screamed away. Up ahead, Power was just finishing his stop, but had to not only negotiate around a pile of tires but also had to look out for Dixon, who already had built a head of steam.
You realize as you’re coming in, it’s going to be tight when he’s sitting right behind you, he said. You know, man, it’s all about the stop. There’s nothing you can do about it.
Dixon also was aware that the race was right in front of him. It’s exceedingly difficult to pass anyone on the narrow, twisting pavement at Mid-Ohio – even with IndyCar officials implementing a push-to-pass system to help open things up.
It was now or never for the 32-year-old in the Target Chip Ganassi Honda.
These are the tightest pit boxes we have throughout the whole season, Dixon said. To try to get a car in when the person behind you (is right there), is very, very difficult. I had an open pit, just slid it in there.
It just worked out we were a second or two quicker and off we went.
Only 28 points separate the top four in the rankings, with Power just two points ahead of Hunter-Reay, who was followed by Helio Castroneves. Dixon moved into fourth with three races remaining in the season.
There were no caution flags for the second IndyCar race in a row, the first time that’s happened since 1987.
Simon Pagenaud hung on for third place – his third podium finish of the season. And Sebastien Bourdais had his best finish of the season, taking fourth.