By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas — Lady luck deals a bad hand for both Scott Dixon and Colton Herta once again this season as a Lap 229 accident ended their nights in Saturday’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Dixon was among the most consistent cars on the grid all weekend, and it showed all night as he led for 33 of 248 laps. Late in the race, the five-time defending NTT IndyCar Series champion traded the lead back-and-forth with Alexander Rossi. It appeared up to that point, a bid four a record-tying fourth Texas victory was still in his favor as he led the race after the second caution came out for James Hinchcliffe’s Turn 2 crash.
Meanwhile, Herta was dealing with bad fuel mileage as his No. 88 GESS RNG Biogas Honda wasn’t hitting their fuel number. Not only that was a concern, the 19-year-old was complaining of arm fatigue. This didn’t stop him from making brilliant moves on his competitors, and was eyeing on a desirable top-five result which he needed as he hasn’t scored a top-10 since his maiden win at Circuit of the Americas in March.
This all boiled down on the penultimate restart when Dixon’s No. 9 PNC Bank Honda lost the lead heading into Turn 1 when Josef Newgarden had a tremendous restart and passed Dixon entering Turn 1. Herta, who was running in third, began gaining ground on Dixon.
Coming down the backstretch, Herta tucked back in line to get the slingshot on Dixon until he found an opening to go full sent entering Turn 3. Dixon slammed the door on the rookie, which resulted him going below the white line for a brief moment as they continued battling side-by-side.
Disaster immediately followed as Herta lost control due to Dixon giving him little insurance, clipping him which resulted both cars hitting the wall. Rossi, who was running behind the two, just barely missed being hit by Herta as the rest of the field went by unscathed.
Both drivers got out of their cars with another disappointing result as they had to deal with ramifications to their seasons which neither couldn’t afford. Dixon and Herta ended up 17th and 18th respectively, as both agreed it was the former’s wrongdoing that caused the late-race accident.
It marked Dixon’s second retirement out of the last three races after going without a DNF for nearly two years. He knew that the moment Herta was in position of passing him, it was going to be trouble on his end.
“I just started to track down just to close it off. It was towards the end of the race,” said Dixon.” As I looked down the entry, I saw the shadow of the apron. I’m like, ‘Oh this isn’t going to work out.’ Sorry if it was my fault. I was pushing and trying to get the most out of it and ended both of our days. I feel bad for Colton.”
Herta simply questioned Dixon’s driving that result their nights being over with 20 laps remaining.
“Dixon turned down on me. He doesn’t usually race like that,” Herta on the accident. “I don’t know if his spotter didn’t tell him or something. I was there and he just slammed the door, and put me on the apron. That was that.”
Bad luck has become a mass understatement for Herta at this point. The rookie’s exit was his fifth retirement out of the last seven races, further plummeting him down the championship standings as he’ll head to Road America 16th in points and fourth in the Rookie of the Year standings.