Scott Dixon in victory lane at World Wide Technology Raceway. (Penske Entertainment/Chris Owens)

Dixon Gets Two In A Row With Gateway Win

MADISON, Ill. — Never count out Scott Dixon.


The six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion started 16th, but quickly went to a vintage fuel saving strategy that cycled him to the front of the field during his first fuel run in Sunday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Once in the lead, Dixon had control of the race, leading three times for a race high 123 laps to easily defeat Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren Racing by 22.2256 seconds.

Dixon took over the race lead for good on lap 221 and was able to motor his way to his 55th career IndyCar Series victory. It was Dixon’s second win in a row, dating back to the Gallagher Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course on August 13. 

Click here for the full results.

The victory also clinched the season championship for Chip Ganassi Racing, as the only drivers that remain eligible for the championship drive for that team.

“Going into the last two races, it will be a Ganassi driver that wins the championship and that is very cool,” Dixon said. “That means a lot to Chip and to the employees at the race shop as well.”

Dixon on track at World Wide Technology Raceway. (Penske Entertainment/Chris Owens)

Alex Palou entered the weekend with a 101-point lead over Dixon and a 105-point lead over Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden.

But when Newgarden hit the turn two wall after getting into the marbles on lap 210, his championship bid was over as well as his hopes of scoring four-straight victories at the 1.250-mile short oval and all six oval races on the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule.

Instead, he finished disappointed and dejected with a 25th place finish, eliminated from championship contention.

“I was just trying to catch up,” Newgarden said. “I knew we were going to lose to someone in fuel save, most likely Dixon or somebody. I was just trying to get through cars as quickly as I could when I pitted, and it didn’t work out. I got in the marbles, just a touch too high.”

Palou finished seventh and with Dixon’s victory, his championship lead was cut to 74 points with two races to go, including next Sunday’s Bitnile.com Grand Prix of Portland.

Dixon won the race with a three pit stop strategy. Everybody else had to pit five or even six times.

“It’s all these guys, man,” Dixon said about his Chip Ganassi Racing crew. “Chip steers the ship. We took a pretty good grid penalty today. We had to go the alternate route, and it worked out perfectly. This team was perfect. They gave me the (fuel) number I needed to be getting, so massive thank you to everybody on the PNC Bank No. 9 crew.”

How It Went Down

At the drop of the green flag, Newgarden led the field into turn one but at the back of the pack, Benjamin Pedersen lost control of his No. 55 Chevrolet and crashed hard into the turn one wall.

After nine laps of caution, the green flag waved, and racing resumed. 

Newgarden led Herta by 0.7185 seconds after 25 laps. The field held steady through the first 50 laps with Newgarden in front of Herta by 1.2653 seconds.

Pit stops began on lap 54 and Takuma Sato was the first in but did not switch to the alternate Red tires. On cold tires, Sato twice had issues getting into the marbles, but without hitting the wall.

Other drivers made their pit stops, including Herta on lap 57. He also put on primary Black tires. 

Start of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway. (Penske Entertainment/Karl Zemlin Photo)

Palou pitted on Lap 58 and his crew bolted on the Red tires on the No. 10 American Legion Honda. Ilott hit the wall in turn two but kept racing with the green flag out.

Newgarden pitted as the leader on lap 62. His Team Penske crew put on the Reds. That put Will Power and Scott Dixon as the top two cars in the race.

Power and Dixon both pitted on Lap 65. Power went with the Blacks and Dixon with the Reds. That cycled Newgarden back into the lead. Dixon’s team was issued a penalty for unattended equipment by IndyCar Race Control. That was a warning and post-race monetary fine.

After 70 laps, the top five were Newgarden, Pato O’Ward, Herta, David Malukas and Rosenqvist.

At lap 100, Newgarden continued to lead by 1.835 seconds. He pitted on Lap 102 and that gave the lead to Herta followed by Malukas.

O’Ward tried to put pressure on Newgarden for what was effectively the lead on lap 109 as the duo ran ninth and 10th. But Newgarden was able to shut the door on the driver from Mexico and that opened a decent lead.

Sato crashed in turn two and that was the third caution of the race. Dixon was the leader at the time ahead of Newgarden.

On lap 126, Dixon and Newgarden both pitted. It was time for Dixon, but early for Newgarden. Also, Marcus Ericsson, driving Palou’s backup car because he was involved in a crash in Saturday night’s practice, lost control leaving the pits. The crew refired the No. 8 and he returned to the race.

On lap 132, cars that were not on the lead lap got the wave around and pitted. Ericsson also pitted again. 

Dixon was the leader with Newgarden on his tail when the green flag waved on Lap 136. Dixon got a good start, but Newgarden was under attack by O’Ward. The two drivers made contact but were able to continue.

Of the top three championship contenders, Dixon was leading, Newgarden second and championship leader Alex Palou was 11th.

Dixon appeared to be in control of the race, running a very good pace and able to gap Newgarden by 0.631 seconds.

With 100 laps remaining, Dixon led Newgarden by 0.4298 seconds. 

On lap 166, O’Ward and Rosenqvist pitted. Newgarden pitted on Lap 167 and Dixon stayed on track, leading Malukas, who took over second when Newgarden pitted.

Dixon’s lead was now 10.859 over teammate Ericsson on lap 170 as he continued to lead the race while saving fuel. 

Ericsson pitted on lap 178 and Herta pitted on lap 179. That moved Power into second place behind race leader Dixon.

By lap 180, there were only four cars on the lead lap – Dixon, Power, Romain Grosjean and Kyle Kirkwood.

Power pitted with 70 laps to go as Dixon led Grosjean by 24.0420 seconds. Those were the only two cars left on the lead lap, and they were both on the same strategy.

Dixon finally pitted on Lap 195 after building a 25-second lead over Grosjean, who pitted one lap later.

After both drivers pitted, O’Ward was the leader over Newgarden by 0.3324 seconds.

At lap 200, it was O’Ward leading Newgarden, Alexander Rossi, Scott McLaughlin, and David Malukas. Palou was 16th.

Palou pitted with 59 laps to go and was good on fuel. 

Newgarden pitted for the final time on lap 209. But when he returned to the track in 11th place after his final stop, his car went very high in turn two and smacked the wall. He limped his Chevrolet around the course and onto pit lane as his Team Penske crew tried to assess the damage.

But the incident ended Newgarden’s bid at a fourth-straight win at World Wide Technology Raceway and the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series championship.

“I went for it,” Newgarden radioed to his crew as he was attempting to get a sixth-straight win on an oval.

David Malukas (left) and Scott Dixon on the podium at World Wide Technology Raceway. (Penske Entertainment/James Black)

With 40 laps to go, Herta was the leader by 3.1913 second over Dixon. But he pitted one lap later and that put Dixon’s No. 9 Honda back into the lead ahead of Will Power. Palou was 10th.

With Newgarden out, Dixon maintained his pace and one of the greatest drivers in IndyCar history continued to do what he does best.


“Scott Dixon did Scott Dixon today,” O’Ward said. “When they were telling me on the radio the 9 car is trying to make it to the end, he’s going to make it until the end. I was happy with the strategy today; I was happy with my car. 

“But, yeah … Scott Dixon.”

Dixon’s margin of victory made it look easy. But the race winner explained it was harder than it looked.

“There was definitely some tense moments,” Dixon said. “I think probably the hardest part was the restart where we were leading, having to get a pretty high fuel number. We weren’t getting it. We were a ways off.

“But I knew we could kind of stress that kind of second through fifth pack, get them into a pretty vulnerable situation. I knew once we caught the back markers we’d be able to save and get beyond the fuel mileage that we needed to. It actually worked out perfectly. We were able to go further and beyond where we needed to.

“But huge testament obviously to Honda. I know there’s a lot of other Hondas out there. But to get the car in the zone, obviously the pace was still good, we could maintain almost a flat-out pace, but get almost, I don’t know, one mpg higher than you would regularly.

“It was pretty special. Obviously a team effort. There were definitely times, especially when we got to the red tire as well, I don’t think it’s going to last. We kind of got stuck with a couple back markers there and lost touch with the 28 car at that point. Was feeling a little bit miserable.

“But we were still the only ones that were going to the windows that we needed to. Luckily that caution helped us a little bit. 

“It probably didn’t really matter. I don’t think it mattered if we had that or not. I think the race would have continued on fine otherwise anyway.”