(TORONTO, ON) – A week after issues bedeviled his chances in Iowa, Scott Dixon was the model of cool, calm, and consistency while winning Honda Indy Toronto. In doing so, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver extended his Verizon IndyCar Series championship lead and added to his career legacy.
Dixon, in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda, won by 5.2701 seconds over Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud to pick up his third victory of the 2018 season and push his points advantage to 62 over Josef Newgarden.
The triumph was also the 44th of Dixon’s Indy car career, moving the 37 year-old within eight wins of tying Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list, behind only AJ Foyt at 67 wins.
“I think AJ is pretty safe. He’s a long ways ahead,” said Dixon, who finished 12th in the Iowa Corn 300 on July 8 when plagued with car issues and pit miscues. “I think for us, we take it race by race. We’re in the business of winning races. If we’re not doing that, I won’t have a job for too long. That’s the focus for right now.”
HONDA INDY TORONTO: Official results
Dixon led 49 of 85 laps on the 1.786-mile temporary street course at Exhibition Place to earn his third win of the season and third at Toronto. His previous victories this season came in Race 1 at Detroit and at Texas Motor Speedway.
Pole sitter Newgarden, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and defending winner at Toronto, led 25 early laps in the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske, but brushed the wall while exiting Turn 11 on a Lap 33 restart and finished ninth.
“It was a tough race,” Newgarden said. “Making contact with the wall didn’t help. I don’t know what it was, to be honest with you, it was either marbles or dust from the sweepers. I went straight into the wall and part of that is my fault; just making a mistake. But I didn’t expect it.”
Issues also befell Dixon’s other nearest championship contenders with Alexander Rossi finishing eighth and Ryan Hunter-Reay 16th for Andretti Autosport while Team Penske’s Will Power placed 18th. It opened the door for Pagenaud to equal his season-best finish of second in the No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet.
“It was a blast to drive,” Pagenaud said. “It was really difficult, but when you have a good result like this it feels very rewarding and a lot of fun. I’m really proud of the DXC team for a great effort this weekend. I think we showed that we’re back, so I’m excited.”
Canadian teammates Robert Wickens (No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda) and James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda) thrilled the local fans, as the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports drivers finished third and fourth, respectively. Wickens continued his strong rookie season with his third podium finish and ninth top-10 result.
“Thankfully, I’m not an overly teary guy, but that was really cool,” Wickens said of the ovation he received from the hometown crowd when he stepped out of the car. “I can’t thank these Toronto fans enough. This whole week has been such a whirlwind of emotions and to stand on the podium in my first professional home race I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
After 12 of 17 races, Dixon has accumulated 464 points. Newgarden sits second with 402 points, Rossi third with 394, Hunter-Reay fourth with 373, Power fifth with 371, Wickens sixth with 339, and Pagenaud seventh with 320.
The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 29.