Dixon Dominates at The Glen

Scott Dixon was in a league of his own Sunday at Watkins Glen
Scott Dixon was in a league of his own Sunday at Watkins Glen

Scott Dixon scored a dominant victory in today's INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen. It was the fourth victory at Watkins Glen International for the driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet who came home 16.5 seconds ahead of Josef Newgarden. Helio Castroneves was third with Conor Daly and Sebastien Bourdais rounding out the top-five.

Dixon started on pole and began pulling away from second-place Will Power after the green flag, ultimately building over a 5-second lead at one point. The Kiwi brought the Target Chevy to pit road on lap 14, which turned out to be fortuitous. After a Mikhail Aleshin crash on lap 16 brought out a yellow flag, Power, Simon Pagenaud and Tony Kanaan, who had been Dixon's closest pursuers in the early going were forced to pit under yellow. Dixon cycled back to the lead.

He would surrender the lead again when he came to pit road on lap 32 to an off-sequence Helio Castroneves before taking the lead again when the Brazilian came to pit road on lap 36. However, a lap 38 accident involving Power would change the landscape of the race.

The Aussie made contact with a charging Charlie Kimball heading up the hill on the Back Straight then making hard contact with the Armco Barrier. INDYCAR reviewed the incident and took no action. However, Power was checked at the infield care center and has not been cleared to drive due to concussion-like symptoms.

The resulting full course caution meant the teams would have to pit before the desired window for the final stop. With 19 laps to make it on fuel, what had been a "go all out" race suddenly turned into a fuel saving affair.

Dixon restarted on lap 43 in fourth place, but got around Castroneves on the restart. Within two laps he hunted down an off-sequence Carlos Munoz and was once again in front.

While Dixon's lap times slowed in the closing laps as he was saving fuel, so was everyone behind him. And not everyone was able to make it to the finish.

Castroneves, for one, pitted with three laps remaining. James Hinchcliffe had moved up to 2nd by the final lap, but ran out of fuel with two corners remaining. The Canadian finished 18th.

It looked like Hinchcliffe's misfortune might land his roommate Conor Daly on the podium. However, Daly ran out of fuel approaching start/finish surrendering third place to Castroneves. Still, Daly managed to coast home fourth.

The much-in-the-news-this-weekend Sebastien Bourdais came home fifth despite falling to the back of the field after a first lap accident. Charlie Kimball survived multiple run-ins to finish sixth. Simon Pagenaud brought home a strong-points finish in seventh on a day his championship-nemesis Power did not finish. Alexander Rossi was eight with RC Enerson scoring his first career top-10 in ninth. Max Chilton completed a solid weekend finishing 10th.

The Verizon IndyCar Series will conclude its 2016 campaign in two weeks with the double-points GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. Pagenaud and Power are the only two drivers mathematically alive for the championship, with the Frenchman holding a 43-point lead.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend runs from Sept. 16-18. NBCSN will blanket the weekend with live coverage of the second practice session on Sept. 16 (5 p.m. ET), Verizon P1 Award qualifying on Sept. 17 (6 p.m. ET) and the 85-lap race from Sonoma Raceway in Northern California beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET Sept. 18.

SCOTT DIXON, NO. 9 TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER: YOU HAD A LOT TO OVERCOME TODAY. YOU HAD TO SAVE FUEL, YOU WERE FAST, YOU HAD A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING. THIS MUST BE SO GRATIFYING

“Yeah, I think this was actually a Chevy Volt like we were running on electric, or something. We got amazing fuel mileage. I cannot thank all the fans here in The Glen area and everybody else for coming out here today; especially on such short notice. The support from Verizon, they’ve been fantastic with this series; and the support they’ve shown us has been phenomenal. A huge thank you to them, as well. But, look at this Team Target, man this is so cool, so cool."

LUCK WENT YOUR WAY. YOU PITTED, AND RIGHT AFTER YOU PITTED A CAR SPUN. NOT ONLY DID YOU MISS IT, BUT THAT WAS THE CAUTION YOU NEEDED TO STAY OUT FRONT.

“It was. They roll either way. Sometimes you’re going to get them, and sometimes you’re not. But today, after it bit us pretty good in Toronto, it was a nice way to turn around.

“A huge thanks to everyone who has been giving to the Justin Wilson kids’ fund. I’m actually going to donate my winnings here today to their children’s fun. I want to say hi to everybody. Please keep supporting them."

THE QUESTION THEY ASKED IN THE BOOTH WAS HOW CAN SCOTT DIXON GO THREE MORE LAPS THAN HELIO CASTRONEVES WITH THE SAME POWERPLANT?

“This car, you could just roll through the corner. I felt like I haven’t even had to downshift sometimes. I can’t thank Chevy and Target and everybody here enough this weekend. It’s been almost a sweep this weekend and you don’t get these too often, especially with the competition level that we have in the Verizon IndyCar Series. I’ll definitely remember this one."

40th WIN, 4th WIN AT WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL

"Super happy man. Just a fantastic weekend for us. Qualifying was definitely demanding, but the car was just phenomenal. There was nothing that we couldn't do today. We could save fuel. We caught that caution which was definitely fantastic for us and definitely a nice reversal of some others earlier this year.

"These things are never easy, man. It is definitely a testament to the hours our team puts in on these cars. We have had some rough runs this year, but our car has had phenomenal speed at a lot of the tracks. It's about the partners. It's Target; it's Chevy. I have to thank all the friends, family and everybody that works on this team day in and day out to make this car, and put me in the seat which is a lot of fun.

"This weekend there were a few unknowns for Firestone because it was the first time back here with the new surface and a totally different car. The reds were perfect, they didn't go off – they just got better and better and better. The blacks were as probably the favorites of mine just because they were a little bit easier to drive in the high speed corners, but as always, Firestone was good."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was really good. The Hitachi Chevy was actually running smooth. But, unfortunately when I saw the numbers, and the way the set-up for our car, I don't think we'd be able to save fuel. And I told those guys on the radio. Guys, let us think of some other strategy because this is going to be tough to save fuel. I'm glad they were able to pick-up really quick. We bailed out right away and were able to push as hard as we could and open up enough of a gap so in the end, I guess the No. 5 and the No. 18 ended-up running out of fuel, so it was a great strategy with Roger (Penske) and the Hitachi car. Now let's keep going. I know the championship might be over, but it's not over for Team Penske. So, now we need to focus and go win Sonoma."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "It was a frustrating end to a frustrating weekend. I was meeting fuel numbers during the last stint and I could easily have saved more at the end, but I lost the radio on the last lap. I was just cruising because I didn't know if I needed to save more or not. Either way, I have to give credit to the No. 5 Arrow Electronics crew because the pit stops were on point today and they did what they needed to do. The car had the speed all weekend and hopefully we'll be able to carry that over to Sonoma."

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda): "This was a great weekend to start and not so great to finish. I hope that we got all of the bad luck out of the way here and we can have a strong finish to the season in Sonoma. The No. 7 SMP Racing car was fantastic in the first stint. I had the second best time in the race, which shows the potential we have for Sonoma."

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "It was a day that could have been fantastic but ended up slightly disappointing after running P2. I got damage on Lap 1, Turn 1, with the steering and then for the rest of the race my pace was pretty decent considering I was held back by the issue."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "These are the weekends you definitely don't forget. Just in the shear fact that we had such a smooth one, which made it hard also going into the race. We'd been fast in practice, fast in qualifying, and then obviously got the pole. You just think of the problems and maybe the strategy not going your way or having a mechanical that takes you out of it. All of it is what the team does. Huge credit to everybody at Team Target and the whole of the Ganassi organization. From the people back the workshop to the guys that are here on the weekend to make this opportunity possible. The car was just fantastic and the track I love. I love coming to upstate New York. This track is one of the old school great American tracks that we are lucky enough to come back here and race. A huge thanks to the Verizon IndyCar Series and everyone at The Glen for working this out in a very short timeframe and the fans responded. It was great to see so many people here with not even having this on the schedule really earlier. I just love being back here and I think we should have a double points race here and probably race two or three times more (a year) at The Glen."

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet): "We had such a fast car with the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet – I think we actually had the fastest lap of the race. It's just a shame that we had the issue we did and lost a few laps getting it fixed in the pits because we definitely had a chance to get on the podium today. I'm really happy for Scott (Dixon) though – he really deserved this win, especially with how much he dominated here all weekend."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet): "Overall I am pretty happy. The Hydroxycut/DPS Nutrition – KVSH Racing Team was competitive all weekend. It was a tough race and we knew push-to-pass was going to be really important. I didn't want to use it at the start. That was a mistake because everyone else did and I got swallowed up and got hit. After that it was always going to be a tough race trying to come from the very back. I got a lucky break with the first yellow and then as usual we were really good on fuel, so I wasn't worried about that. I was getting big vibrations and blisters on the rear tires. The last two or three laps I was really worried. I am just glad it stuck and thanks to our sponsors Hydroxycut, DPS Nutrition and Chevy. I am just really happy for the whole KVSH Racing organization. We had the pace, passed a couple of cars and to finish in the top-five is very satisfying and a heck of an achievement."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): "Quite an eventful and exciting race. The yellows made us decide on a good strategy. At one stage it was a mixed strategy but the team made a good call on the last one. We had a couple good battles, and in the end, we were able to charge when everyone else had to save fuel. We attacked our way through the field. With two laps to go, I tried to set up (Simon) Pagenaud and I approached the turn wider than usual to make a good exit but I got in the marbles and lost grip in Turn 7. I lost it and screwed up-I have no words for that. I feel really sorry for the sponsors and the mechanics. It could have been a strong result but I couldn't put it together."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): "I had a great run on (Charlie) Kimball, I got inside, completed the pass and he decided not to give me any room on the exit. That was a hard hit, probably the hardest I've taken in my life, ovals included. It's a shame. We were looking really good before that yellow (Mikhail Aleshin). My United Rentals car was phenomenal. We were able to move up and pass more cars than I thought we could, save a lot of overtakes and our tires were better than everybody else. We were just taking our time and saving a ton of fuel looking to go longer on that stint than anybody. But then the caution came out which was a little unlucky but I thought we could bounce back from it. Unfortunately, we got back there with Kimball. I have to take blame too because I put myself in that position. I should know better than to race him like that. It's disappointing and I'm a little ticked off. I disagreed heavily with the penalty yesterday that put us back there in the first place. And when you take an impact like that the guys are going to have a heck of a lot of work to get this fixed for the Sonoma test on Thursday. I don't know if this car is even repairable, the tub was bad. It's a great crowd at Watkins Glen. We can't thank everybody enough. With our Turns for Troops program with United Rentals, $50 for every lap completed goes to Soldier Strong and we were tied for the most laps completed until today. This put a dent in that total."

CONOR DALY (No. 18 Jonathan Byrd's Hospitality Honda): "I really just can't believe that we ended up fourth. It was a back-and-forth race with all kinds of stuff going on. But our car was fast, we knew it all weekend. We just had horrible luck. At the end they said we were making the right fuel number and I was making up positions and then I was told we could go a little bit quicker, so one lap we used a bit more fuel and then they came on the radio and said 'code red'. If we would've saved a little bit more on that one lap, we maybe could have held off Helio. I had no idea where we were, third or fourth or fifth, but at the end of the day, I'll take fourth."

RC ENERSON (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): "It's pretty crazy. We had one killer start. We went from 11th to seventh just with people spinning off. I was on the push-to-pass, made a pass into the bus stop a little sideways and then held sixth for a long time. We then got caught out by the yellow, which for me was a big confidence destroyer. We were sitting at the back, the last running car. The team made the right call on the pit stop and we were just trying to hit the fuel number to make it to the end. It was pretty exciting. I think saving fuel is more of a mental thing. You have to keep reminding yourself to lift before a corner and then you catch yourself and realize you should've saved fuel in that last corner. It was tough but we were able to fly up the field there at the end."

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet): "The race was going pretty well. We were battling inside the Top 10 for the majority of the race, especially through the middle stints. We were looking good to get a Top 10 finish but after we had to start saving fuel we fell back. It was a bit of a shame we had to start saving so much. We couldn't keep the pace up and save fuel, so we fell back to 15th. It was a lot of fun, I had some great battles out there. The car was really good and the guys gave me excellent pit stops. It was great to have Samsung come on board this weekend and also thanks to Fuzzy's Vodka, Rising Star Racing, Mockett and everyone else that makes this happen."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka/ECR Chevrolet): "Well, there's a little discrepancy there with the timing stand and the driver. They give you a number to hit for fuel, and if you beat it a couple of laps in a row, you think 'OK they're going to raise the number and give me more fuel.' And they weren't giving me more fuel. So, I was screaming at them. I was like, 'Guys, I'm hitting this number, you give me more fuel now!' They finally gave it to me in the end. We were kind of in a different race compared to (Scott) Dixon. The right guy won it this weekend. There was really no stopping this guy. Congratulations to him and all of Chip Ganassi Racing. For us, I think we can't be too displeased with second place. It's been a tough weekend. It's not been our smoothest. I think we came back really strong. We had a phenomenal race with great pit stops and we got on the podium. So, it's a pretty good day. Hopefully we can go to Sonoma now and get even better results to finish off the year right."

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet): "It was a pretty eventful day. The last caution made it so the guys in front had to save a lot of fuel, and we didn't save enough at the start of the stint and was very slow. We made it back in seventh and for the championship the day was very good. We collected a lot of points and we have a bit of a cushion going into Sonoma. We still have to race hard, but it's going to be a lot more comfortable."

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 hhgregg Honda): "I don't know, it was kind of a weird race, really. We were a little bit lucky on the yellow in the beginning and then we just didn't have enough speed. I think compared to where we were in qualifying we improved, but it wasn't enough. I think the hhgregg team worked really hard over the weekend. We tried hundreds of different things but we never got it exactly right. But I can't say thanks enough to the guys for working really, really hard this weekend, it's too bad we just didn't get it right."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 United Fiber & Data/Snapple Honda): "That's as good as we were going to get for the UFD / Snapple car today. It was fun running up with the leaders for a bit, but we knew it was short lived due to the strategy we were on. We need to pick up mechanical grip. I'm sawing at the wheel when guys are just going straight and putting the power down. It's just frustrating. We don't seem to have the grip anyone else does."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "Not the position we wanted to see the DHL Honda in to end our weekend at Watkins Glen. We really enjoyed being back at The Glen and are looking forward to being back in 2017. Our strategy was just off all day. We ended up saving fuel when in the end it would have been faster to have just taken a pit stop. On to Sonoma where we can hopefully end the season on a better note."

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): "The car was really good and I was very happy with the car the whole race especially with the black. I wish I could have done Takuma (Sato)'s strategy and pushed. That would have been a lot of fun. The guys did a nice job with the car – it was fast all weekend. I made a mistake on the second lap and lost a couple positions and then we had some issues with the stops. A shame about the result, nothing really worked out."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet): "I didn't think we had a lot of contact with Graham (Rahal) – I felt like I gave him plenty of room around the inside. I was focused on the exit because the big passing opportunity especially with a restart like that was up the hill into the Bus Stop. The No. 83 Chevrolet was so fast and the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing guys were so fast in the pit lane. That last stint we were focusing on the fuel mileage number. We came up the hill and everyone else that I passed I got to the left, and everyone stayed right to block, and Will – it's like he had no idea I was there. He just kept following I think the 26 car over, and ran me onto the grass, and when I bounced off the grass I bounced into him. I was sorry to have gotten into him, but frankly if he would have known I was there, I know he wouldn't have run me off the road. It was a crazy race for us for sure. If you would've told me after we had to stop at the end for a splash of fuel that I'd end up in the top six I'm not sure I would've believed you. I'm really happy with the result for the No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet and even happier for (Scott) Dixon for grabbing the win today."

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda): "I think it was a decent race. We had to save a lot of fuel there at the end, so I think a potential top five slipped through our hands because of that. But generally I think with a disappointing qualifying, that is the best that we could come up with. We'll have to take this result and move on to Sonoma."

RESULTS

Pos No Name Laps Diff Gap Pits LPit FL FTime Led ST Engine
1 9 Scott Dixon 60 0.000s 0.000s 3 41 28 1:24.523 50 1 Chevy
2 21 Josef Newgarden 60 16.5308 16.5308 3 41 32 1:24.737 0 12 Chevy
3 3 Helio Castroneves 60 21.4417 4.9109 5 57 34 1:24.885 2 4 Chevy
4 18 Conor Daly 60 24.3349 2.8932 3 41 29 1:25.762 0 17 Honda
5 11 Sebastien Bourdais 60 25.3815 1.0466 3 41 7 1:25.132 0 3 Chevy
6 83 Charlie Kimball 60 29.4268 4.0453 4 57 8 1:25.026 0 14 Chevy
7 22 Simon Pagenaud 60 31.1118 1.6850 3 41 33 1:25.018 0 7 Chevy
8 98 Alexander Rossi 60 32.0710 0.9592 3 41 29 1:25.864 0 15 Honda
9 19 RC Enerson 60 32.3965 0.3255 4 41 13 1:25.920 0 11 Honda
10 8 Max Chilton 60 32.9478 0.5513 4 57 56 1:25.780 0 6 Chevy
11 26 Carlos Munoz 60 34.7869 1.8391 3 49 31 1:25.532 3 16 Honda
12 27 Marco Andretti 60 35.3813 0.5944 4 45 36 1:26.324 0 18 Honda
13 2 Juan Pablo Montoya 60 37.7024 2.3211 4 49 38 1:25.073 1 8 Chevy
14 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 60 42.4644 4.7620 3 41 27 1:26.353 0 19 Honda
15 20 Spencer Pigot 60 45.3829 2.9185 3 41 35 1:25.881 0 21 Chevy
16 41 Jack Hawksworth 60 45.7584 0.3755 3 41 27 1:26.209 0 9 Honda
17 14 Takuma Sato 60 67.4937 21.7353 4 48 32 1:25.247 22 Honda
18 5 James Hinchcliffe 59 18.1507 18.1507 3 41 31 1:24.626 2 13 Honda
19 10 Tony Kanaan 59 1 LAPS 62.7048 5 56 46 1:23.944 5 Chevy
20 12 Will Power 38 36.4213 0.5865 2 29 12 1:25.554 2 2 Chevy
21 15 Graham Rahal 19 9.8682 0.1178 1 16 12 1:25.183 20 Honda
22 7 Mikhail Aleshin 14 13.2623 2.0790 0 14 1:25.032 10 Honda

Race Statistics
Winner's average speed: 119.334
Time of Race: 1:41:39.8592
Margin of victory: 16.5308 seconds
Cautions: 3 for 9 laps
Lead changes: 8 among six drivers

Lap Leaders:
Dixon 1-13
Power 14-15
Dixon 16-30
Montoya 31
Hinchcliffe 32-33
Castroneves 34-35
Dixon 36-40
Munoz 41-43
Dixon 44-60

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Pagenaud 555, Power 512, Dixon 451, Castroneves 451, Newgarden 446, Kanaan 427, Rahal 403, Munoz 402, Kimball 389, Hinchcliffe 380.

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