DIXON HOLDS OFF SATO TO COLLECT 50TH CAREER INDYCAR VICTORY
Scott Dixon became an IndyCar winner for the 50th time in his career Saturday afternoon by holding off Takuma Sato to win race 1 of a doubleheader at Gateway.
The victory was the fourth of the season for Dixon, who now leads the IndyCar standings by 117 points over Josef Newgarden.
Dixon previously opened the season with three consecutive victories at Texas, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and Road America.
“I can’t thank the PNC Bank crew enough,” Dixon said. “That was a very impressive day. Sato was coming strong at the end and I didn’t realize how strong he was coming. We kind of going into a bit of a reserve mode to look after the engine and he was going in with a head of steam.”
The win comes less than a week after Dixon finished second to Sato in the 104th running of the Indy 500.
“I’m just so happy for this team,” Dixon said. “Last week at Indianapolis was a bit of a bummer so it’s nice to get a win.”
Sato almost made it back-to-back victories after passing Pato O’Ward in the closing laps. However, Dixon was able to hold onto his lead through to the finish despite encountering the tail end of the lead lap near the end of the stint.
“We carried a lot of momentum,” Sato said following the race. “We lost some pace at the beginning of the race. I wasn’t entirely comfortable in the car, but we fought strong.”
O’Ward finished third after leading 94 of the race’s 200 laps. The 2018 Indy Lights Champion appeared to be on-track to collecting his first IndyCar victory before a slow final pit stop in which he lost first place to Dixon.
Colton Herta finished the race in the fourth position, followed by Marus Ericsson in fifth. Rinus VeeKay, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Felix Rosenqvist, Tony Kanaan and Conor Daly rounded out the top 10 finishers.
Several prominent drivers ended their day early after a multi-car crash at the start of the race.
As the 23 starters came out of Turn 4 and approached the starters stand, Alex Palou pulled out of the left line and was followed by Simon Pagenaud - who was then hit by Oliver Askew.
The impact caused a chain reaction that collected the cars Maro Andretti, Zach Veach and Alexander Rossi. The accident promptly forced all three drivers to retire from the race.
Live coverage of round 2 of IndyCar’s doubleheader at Gateway begins Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
By winning for the 50th time in his career, Scott Dixon now joins elite company.
Only two other drivers have ever won more than 50 races in IndyCar competition - racing legends A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti. Dixon could very well tie or even pass Andretti as the second-winningest driver in history before this season is over.
Below are the top five winningest drivers in IndyCar history:
A.J. Foyt -67
Mario Andretti - 52
Scott Dixon - 50
Michael Andretti - 42
Al Unser, Sr. - 39