Scott Dixon ties Mario Andretti with 52nd career IndyCar win
TORONTO (AP) — Scott Dixon snapped a 22-race winless streak Sunday and moved into a tie with Mario Andretti for second on IndyCar’s career wins list when he held off pole-sitter Colton Herta and Felix Rosenqvist in the series’ return to Canada.
Dixon qualified second and spent the day running up front, despite creative fuel and tire strategies as teams jockeyed for track position early in the race. And the six-time series champ was still out front when Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Kirkwood tangled to bring out the final caution and force a restart with 18 laps to go.
Dixon quickly opened a 2-second gap over Herta and the rest of the field and never relinquished it in cruising to his fourth win at Toronto, where IndyCar returned for the first time since 2019, and his 52nd win overall.
Not a bad early birthday present for the New Zealander, who turns 42 on Friday.
His first win since May 2021 at Texas extends Dixon’s streak of winning at least one race in a record 17 consecutive years, and it leaves him trailing only A.J. Foyt’s 67 wins on the career list. It also shoves Dixon into the thick of the points race as he chases a seventh title, which would match Foyt for the most in the history of the open-wheel series.
The win was also a breath of fresh air for Chip Ganassi Racing, which was thrown into turmoil this week over the contract status of reigning series champ Alex Palou. Ganassi issued a news release Tuesday that said it exercised its option on Palou for next season, only for Palou to refute it and rival team McLaren to announced he’d be driving for it.
Palou recovered from a wreck in practice to finish sixth on Sunday.
Herta, who tested for McLaren in Formula 1 earlier in the week, finished second for Andretti Autosport. Rosenqvist was third with Graham Rahal in fourth and points leader Marcus Ericsson in fifth.
FUTURE FRIENDS, CURRENT FOES
Rosenqvist tried to pass Alexander Rossi just past the midway point of the race, diving low going through a corner and forcing the Andretti Autosport driver into the outer wall. It was a similarly aggressive move to what Rossi did in wrecking teammate Romain Grosjean at Mid-Ohio — though not in Rossi’s opinion.
“I wasn’t the one doing the overtaking last week. Not quite the same,” Rossi said, “but it’s a shame.”
Rosenqvist and Rossi could be teammates soon. The former will be back with McLaren next season, though it’s uncertain whether it will be an IndyCar ride, while Rossi already has announced plans to join the team.
LONG TRIP, SHORT STAY
Two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato’s day ended after the opening lap, when he appeared to get squeezed trying to get through Turn 2. He sustained heavy damage to his front suspension but managed to limp back to the pit area.
Sato has just one top 10 since the season opener at St. Petersburg during a difficult first year with Dale Coyne Racing.
WATCH THE POTHOLES
The course at Exhibition Place has become a challenging patchwork of asphalt and concrete with large sections replaced because of damage done by tough winters. Then the caution flew with 30 laps to go when a chunk of concrete about the size of a football came loose from the worn, weathered surface.