INDIANAPOLIS – The newest four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 has said for years that the Indianapolis 500 chooses its winner.
On Sunday, it continued to skip over Scott Dixon.
The six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion was once again the favorite to win the Indianapolis 500, but the 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner was once again denied a chance at a second win in the biggest race on the planet.
The four-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner was executing his game plan perfectly by yielding the lead at the start of the race to Colton Herta. He was content to run third behind Rinus VeeKay and Herta during the first fuel stint.
It was during the first green flag pit stop sequence that things changed. Dixon was attempting to stretch a few extra laps out of his tank of fuel when Stefan Wilson, competing in his first IndyCar Series race since the 2018 Indianapolis 500, spun out and crashed entering the pits on lap 33. That brought out the caution and closed the pits.
Dixon, Alexander Rossi, Alex Palou, Tony Kanaan, Jack Harvey, and Simon Pagenaud had to take emergency service on pit road to keep from running out of fuel. When Dixon pitted, his engine quit and would not refire.
By the time his No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda crew got Dixon’s engine to refire, Dixon and Rossi were both one lap down.
Dixon was stuck in 32nd and it appeared his hopes at a second Indianapolis 500 were dashed. Both Dixon and Rossi decided to top off their fuel tanks in hopes that if they got back on the lead lap, the race would come back to them.
Dixon made it back on the lead lap and even back to the lead from laps 158 to 162 when he had to make his final pit stop. Unfortunately the fact that the race ran green from lap 125 to the checkered flag foiled Dixon’s strategy.
Instead of celebrating his second Indianapolis 500 victory, Dixon finished 17th. The double-points race also knocked him out of the NTT IndyCar Series points lead. He trails teammate Palou by 36 points as the series takes next weekend off before resuming with the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle in two weeks.
“I don’t know what to say,” Dixon said. “Unfortunately, with the yellow, we shouldn’t have been running it that close on the fuel and it caught some of us out. I still took the penalty because if we ran out of fuel, we would have lost more than one lap.
“It was a rough day. We tried to go off strategy, needed some luck there, but nothing went our way.
“It was an unfortunate day for us. The car felt great, we tried to stretch it on the fuel and that got us in trouble.”
Dixon once again had the strongest car, but circumstances kept him from winning another Indy 500.
“That’s how it goes,” Dixon said. “It’s cool to see Helio Castroneves win. He is very deserving. To be a part of that moment in our current era is very special. This place is tricky.
“The frustrating part is it came so early; I had a lot of time to calm down. I had a lot of laps to just cruise around.”