(AVONDALE, AZ) – In the heat of the desert, the “Ice Man” lived up to his nickname by remaining cool all the way to Victory Lane. In the process, he attached his name to another Indy car legend.
Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon won the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix in the series’ return to Phoenix International Raceway, following an 11-year absence. It is the 39th career win for the New Zealander, tying him with four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser for fourth on the all-time Indy car victories list.
“I was trying to keep pace of who was in back and front and I was just trying to figure out what we needed and try to put ourselves in the right position toward the end,” Dixon said after the race. “The pit stops were flawless and we stretched out the fuel where we needed to and managed to put some good cars laps down early on.”
It also gives Dixon, a four-time series champ, a race win in 12 consecutive seasons to set a record all his own. The 35-year-old was previously tied with wins in 11 straight seasons with Bobby Unser, Emerson Fittipaldi and Helio Castroneves.
Dixon was one of three race leaders in the 250-lap event, pacing the field for the final 155 laps. The race ended under caution after rookie Alexander Rossi made contact with the wall two laps from the finish.
Simon Pagenaud, in the No, 22 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet, finished second for the second consecutive race and took the lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series points standings for the first time in his career. Pagenaud has 83 points and leads Dixon by four.
“I am super happy with second,” said Pagenaud. “It definitely wasn’t our strong suit in the past, short ovals, so being strong and finishing second and running with Dixon at the end shows that we are in good shape. So I am ecstatic right now.”
Will Power, who missed the season opener three weeks ago at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with an inner ear infection, finished third in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
“Man, the Gs were unbelievable,” he said. “We were wide open at the end there when it cooled down. So much load! You gotta be a body builder to drive these things.
Next up on the circuit is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The drivers will begin practice in California on April 15 and carrying on through to the next day. On Saturday afternoon, qualifying will commence at 2:00pm to sort out the starting grid that will take to Shoreline Drive at 1:30pm on Sunday, April 17.