By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Scott Dixon’s quest to repeat as Verizon IndyCar Series champion all but ended following a crash in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
The No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet’s driver day ended on lap 213 after colliding with the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter.
The incident ended at the entry of Turn 1 following an intense battle when Dixon was trying to press forward in hopes of catching race leader James Hinchcliffe and get back on the lead lap, the four-time IndyCar champion had too much damage to continue on. Carpenter managed to continue on until a punctured left rear tire caused the 35-year-old Hoosier to wreck off Turn 4 moments after the next restart.
An angry Dixon immediately exited his car and uncharacteristically showed his displeasure to Carpenter, raising both arms and responding with a popular road rage sign language expression.
The 36-year-old New Zealand native acknowledged that the incident, for the most part, has taken away any hopes of a traditional late season rally for a fifth championship.
“It’s definitely going to be a long shot, for sure,” Dixon said. “We are just racing for wins right now. The championship wasn’t really a thought. Had we won here tonight and then maybe Watkins (Glen International), then maybe we were going to be in contention, but obviously with tonight’s hit.
“How close the points are in the mid-pack there, we are going to drop quite a bit.”
Dixon is one of nine drives still considered mathematically eligible for the championship, currently sitting sixth in the standings, 132 points behind the leader.
The next race for the Verizon IndyCar Series, the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen, is hosted by Watkins Glen International from Sept. 2-4.