No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon is easily one of the best drivers of this era, and 2020's numbers have shown that in spades. After his win at Gateway last night, Dixon not only scored his 50th career win, but he has officially won half of the races this year.
The first race of the Gateway doubleheader was an absolutely wild one. A multi-car crash before the drivers even crossed the starting line took several drivers out of strong contention: Alexander Rossi, Simon Pagenaud, Marco Andretti, Zach Veach, Ed Carpenter, and Oliver Askew.
The first green flag lap didn’t take place until lap 13 after a yellow flew for an extensive cleanup. When the racing finally started, pole sitter Will Power easily slid into the lead but was caught out by a yellow flag that put him a lap down.
After that point, the race was a shootout between Dixon, Patricio O’Ward, and Indy 500 champion Takuma Sato. As the race wound down to its final laps, it seemed that it would be a head-to-head battle between the former two drivers. O’Ward, though, lost his lead to Dixon in the pit lane and was never able to recover.
For his part, Sato seemed to come out of nowhere. The Japanese driver had a strong, clean race, and it was only after his final pit stop that he seemed to be in contention. Unfortunately, that last stop was also a slow one. When Sato returned to the track, he almost immediately flew past second place O’Ward and chopped down the gap on Dixon’s lead.
It seemed that Sato would have a solid shot at passing Dixon during the last 10 laps, but the New Zealander wasn’t having any of it. Dixon is a master at managing dirty air, which meant that he was able to control the impact of the air coming off Santino Ferrucci’s car as he lagged at the rear of the lead lap while also maintaining a gap to Sato behind him.
When Dixon crossed the finish line, it was with Sato mere tenths of a second behind him.
“Superb race all day. Sato was coming strong at the end,” Dixon said after the race. “I didn’t realize how strong—we were going into reserve mode. Last week at Indianapolis was a bit of a bummer. It’s nice to get a win. 50. That sounds awesome.”
“That was a textbook Scott Dixon race today. Steady, one at a time, here, there, nothing fancy,” team owner Chip Ganassi said of the finish.
Ganassi, whose catch phrase is “I like winners,” must be awfully fond of Dixon right now.
The Kiwi has led the championship standings since his win at the first race of the season, but his lead has currently grown to the triple digits. With a mere four races remaining in the season (unless the postponed Mid-Ohio is rescheduled), Dixon’s reign seems unmatched.