There are laps in a race which define a race car driver. And then there are a group of 14 laps that illustrate just how good Scott Dixon is.
Those laps unfolded June 23 in the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR at Road America. Approaching Turn 5 on the opening lap, Dixon’s No. 9 PNC Bank Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing bobbled slightly under braking and was bumped from behind by Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport. The contact sent Dixon’s car spinning. Next thing Dixon knew, he was in last place – and the field was full steam ahead, leaving him a good distance behind.
“I think we were almost 10 seconds behind the field at that point,” said Dixon, who had started 12th.
If Dixon’s competitors needed an example of why the New Zealander is a five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, he delivered another one. He passed car after car in those first 14 laps, moving from last in the order -- 23rd position -- to fifth place, all under green-flag conditions. After that, without a full-course caution to help bring the field closer, Dixon couldn’t advance further.
That was the race where Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport led 54 of the 55 laps for his second win of the season.
“You start getting into the better cars; that’s the problem,” Dixon said. “It’s easy to pass cars up until that point. Definitely, once you get to that top five – or top seven, actually – it gets pretty hard.”
Dixon scored his sixth top-five finish of the season, keeping his hopes alive for repeating as series champion.
“You take these days and try to make the most of it,” he said after the race.
Considering how far behind the entire field Dixon was after the spin and facing backward as the field rolled past him, the recovery was exceptional.
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