Dixon’s Indy 500 dream thwarted by pit drama
Monday 31st May, 2021 - 8:18am
Scott Dixon says he was unlucky to have his hopes of a second Indianapolis 500 win today scuppered early on in the pits.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver led the field to green but was quickly overtaken by Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport) and then Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing).
Dixon sat in the tow of Herta in the opening stint, conserving fuel before his first pit stop of the day.
However, a Full Course Caution in the midst of the pit stop sequence ultimately put paid to Dixon’s hopes.
Andretti Autosport’s Stefan Wilson clattered into the pit wall as he came in for his first pit stop, parking his car in the fast lane.
With pit lane closed, Dixon ran his car empty under Yellow, forcing him to make an emergency pit stop.
Dixon coasted into his pit bay with the life from his engine gone. What should have been a splash-and-dash turned into a lengthy stop as the team struggled to get his car fired up.
The 40-year-old lost a lap in the process, as did Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) who suffered an identical issue.
“We probably called it a little too close,” Dixon told NBCSN after the 200-lap affair.
“But honestly, it was just unlucky with that yellow. Then as soon as it goes yellow the pits are closed.
“Obviously the crash was in the pits as well, so we couldn’t come in to get fuel and once we’d ran the car out of fuel then the problem was trying to re-primed, which we lost a lap doing.
“It was just an unfortunate day for us, I think it hurt maybe a few of us maybe from the team in that same sequence.
“It was unfortunate; the car felt great, we were just sitting there trying to go a bit longer on the fuel, which we did, and that got us in trouble.”
By and large, Dixon was unable to properly recover from the pit stop drama.
An alternative strategy would take him to the lead of the race late in the piece, but he would eventually fall to 17th as he conserved fuel.
Having been the pre-race favourite after dominating practice and qualifying, Dixon was left to lament having his hopes scuppered so early in the race.
“This place is tricky,” he said.
“I think the frustrating part was that it just came so early – you knew from that point once you were a lap down your day is pretty much shot.
“I had a long time to calm down, I had a lot of laps to just cruise around.”
Nevertheless, Dixon was happy to see fellow IndyCar Series veteran Helio Castroneves claim his fourth Indianapolis 500.
As a result, Castroneves is now the only non-American four-time winner of the race, joining A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Snr, and Rick Mears.
“It’s very cool to see Helio capture his fourth,” said Dixon.
“He’s very deserving and to be a part of that moment I think in our current era is pretty special.”
The series is now led by Dixon’s team-mate Alex Palou, who won the season-opener at Barber Motorsports Park.
The IndyCar Series next heads to the Belle Isle Street Circuit in Detroit for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on June 12-13.