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Dixon beats Sato at Gateway in reverse finish of Indy 500

Scott Dixon pits during the IndyCar auto race at World Wide Technology Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Madison, Ill. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

MADISON, Ill. (AP) — Scott Dixon and Takuma Sato repeated their 20-lap shootout from the Indianapolis 500 a week ago, with Dixon reversing the finishing order Saturday by winning at World Wide Technology Raceway outside of St. Louis.

Sato held off Dixon a week ago for his second Indy 500 victory in four years. Dixon had 20 laps to chase Sato down, but a late caution ended the race under yellow.

At Gateway, Dixon took the lead by first beating Pato O’Ward out of the pits and then cycled to the front when Sato made his stop with 25 laps remaining. Sato returned to the track in third, quickly passed O’Ward and set his sights on Dixon.

Dixon had 20 laps to navigate lapped traffic while holding off Sato.

“Sato was coming strong at the end and I didn’t realize how strong he was coming,” Dixon said. “We were kind of going into reserve mode a little to look after the engine and then he was coming fast.”

Dixon beat Sato by 0.1404 seconds for his fourth win of the season and 50th overall and praised his Chip Ganassi Racing team. The New Zealander led 111 of 200 laps at Indy but couldn’t catch Sato in the closing laps before the caution froze the field.

“Last week at Indianapolis was a bit of a bummer,” Dixon admitted.

Dixon moved within two victories of Mario Andretti on IndyCar’s victory list. Andretti is second with 52; A.J. Foyt is the leader at 67.

Dixon holds a 117-point lead in the IndyCar championship standings as he chases a fifth title.

“That was a textbook Scott Dixon race. Steady, one at a time, here, there, nothing fancy,” said winning team owner Ganassi.

Sato finished second for a 1-2 sweep for Honda. O’Ward, the highest finishing rookie in last week’s 500, was third for Chevrolet.

Sato was attempting to become the first driver since Arie Luyendyk in 1997 to win the race immediately following the Indy 500.

“Since last week we carried a lot of momentum,” said Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. “The boys did a fantastic job two weeks in a row, I’m very proud of them.”

The race got off to a rocky start with a multi-car accident when the green flag waved. Alex Palou and Oliver Askew, both rookies, were penalized by IndyCar for triggering a crash that knocked out three cars from Andretti Autosport.

Alexander Rossi, still seeking his first win of the season in a horrible year for the perennial title contender, was collected with teammates Marco Andretti and Zach Veach. It also ended the race for Ed Carpenter and Simon Pagenaud eventually had to retire with damage to his car.

“I was driving straight. I don’t know what you want me to say,” said Rossi, who likened the incident to an iRacing race.