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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Dixon Survives Chaos, Fends Off McLaughlin’s Late Charge to Win Nashville

 

Scott Dixon wins Nashville
Scott Dixon moved into sole possession of second on the all-time wins list after taking victory in Nashville. Image courtesy of James Black / Penske Entertainment

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Scott Dixon endured and outlasted a chaotic bout on the Streets of Nashville to win the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.

After a near two-hour lightning delay, the 42-year-old New Zealand native and six-time IndyCar champion started 14th but was hampered by early damage that required additional pit stops to service the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. The multitude of incidents brought out eight cautions, though, which allowed Dixon and Co. to utilize track position to help navigate further up the grid each time and eventually into the lead by Lap 66 of 80. From there, he held firm despite multiple restarts, including one with two to go that saw him fend off the pole-sitter Scott McLaughlin’s No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet by a narrow 0.1067s.

The win is Dixon’s second this season, but also the 53rd of his career, which moves him in sole position of second all-time (A.J. Foyt sits first with 67 victories).

Reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou nursed a broken front wing to the finish of the 11-turn, 2.1-mile street circuit to collect the third and final spot on the podium.

The Andretti Autosport duo of Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta rebounded from early problems to finish fourth and fifth respectively. On Lap 3, Herta, who started 24th in No. 26 Honda, suffered a broken front wing following collision with Dalton Kellett ended with Herta into the Turn 4 tire barrier. The service for a front wing change put Herta down a lap at the start before the plethora of cautions aided the comeback. Then, on Lap 8, Rossi brought out the first caution after ending up stopped in Turn 1.

Josef Newgarden was involved in a late scuffle with Romain Grosjean, which ended with the Swiss-born Frenchman in the Turn 9 wall, which brought out the red flag on Lap 77 and set up the late restart. Newgarden’s No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet crossed the finish line sixth, while Grosjean’s No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda was left retiring early with a 16th-place finish despite being a top five contender for much of the contest.

The No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet of Felix Rosenqvist finished seventh, followed by another impressive showing of rookie Christian Lundgaard in eighth. Lundgaard had his No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda as high as second and in contention for the win until fading late.

Simon Pagenaud had the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda in contention for a podium, but a suspected mechanical issue plagued the promising run and relegated him to ninth at the checkered flag. Jack Harvey put the No. 45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda in 10th for one of his best results of the season.

Championship leader Will Power was the last car to finish on the lead lap in 11th.

In all, 11 of the 26 entries retired early due to contact or mechanical issues as a result of contact.

There were several notable incidents, with perhaps the most impactful proving to come on Lap 52 when Graham Rahal, who returned to the track several laps down after being involved in another incident on Lap 26, crashed in Turn 4, also collecting the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet of Rinus Veekay in the process. The incident happened during an early sequence of pit stops, pushing the likes of Palou and McLaughlin to pit road and elevating Newgarden to the lead.

Another crucial caution came out on Lap 65 when rookies David Malukas and Kyle Kirkwood crashed while battling for a top 10 in Turn 9. Kirkwood’s No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet went to make a pass to the inside of Malukas’ No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports Honda when he barely clipped the wall and bounced Malukas, sending the two into the tire barrier and ending a potential career day for both.

The aforementioned eight cautions on the day had the field of drivers running under caution for a total of 36 laps.

 

 

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