By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
It’s rare when an elite caliber of a driver like five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon commits an error. More so if it meant the end of his race, as was the case in Saturday’s 75-minute Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix in Belle Isle Park.
With over 31 minutes remaining, Dixon was running in third and poised of turning things around after a disappointing 17th place result in the Indianapolis 500 last Sunday. That all changed once Dixon entered Turn 6 when he clipped the inside wall, resulting his No. 9 PNC Bank Honda going into the tire barriers and finishing 22nd.
Dixon’s car was terminally damaged and for the first time since being collected in a huge multi-car crash at Texas Motor Speedway in 2017, the defending champion failed to finish the race. It also marked his first last-place finish since Mid-Ohio in 2016, where he had a suspension failure 44 races ago. Furthermore, it’s only the 17th time in 310 Indy car starts where Dixon finished 22nd or worse.
The man who entered the first Belle Isle race tied with Takuma Sato for fourth in the championship battle, said it was a driving error on his part that ended his afternoon.
“I caught the inside wall in Turn 6 and just clipped it,” said Dixon. “It broke the toe length straight away and drove straight into the wall. I feel bummed for the guys. We’ve been working extremely hard and had some tremendous speed. It was just a driver error.”
Despite finishing last, Dixon will enter tomorrow’s second race at Belle Isle fifth in points, but now 92 points behind points leader and race winner Josef Newgarden.
He further described the damaged Chip Ganassi Racing entry being un-salvageable to bring back in to the pits as he was the first of two drivers who retired due to contact with the barriers. The other being Matheus Leist when he hit the Turn 7 barriers several minutes later.
“I think the steering rack was broken, the toe length on the right front and even the suspension on the left,” Dixon explained. “It went pretty deep into the tire wall. There was no driving that one out of it.”
Dixon will put his eighth career last-place finish (seven in INDYCAR and one in CART) behind him and prepare for qualifying tomorrow at 10:30 am EST. Coverage of the second Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will begin at 3:00 pm EST on NBC. The race will be 70 laps.