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Scott Dixon Wins Despite First Lap Spin In Record-Breaking IndyCar Start

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was also this weekend's stop for NASCAR's run to the playoffs

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Scott Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Racing) during the NTT INDYCAR Series Gallagher Grand Prix on August 12, 2023 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in Indianapolis, IN.
Photo: Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire (Getty Images)

It’s Monday, August 14, 2023 and this is Race Recap, your summary of last weekend’s motorsports action. The focus of the racing world was on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend with NTT IndyCar Series and NASCAR Cup Series doubleheader at the iconic facility.

IndyCar’s New Ironman Spins And Wins

IndyCar Series EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS: Gallagher Grand Prix | 8/12/23 | Motorsports on NBC

Even before his 54th career victory, it was going to be a memorable day for Scott Dixon. The New Zealander set a new IndyCar record with his 319th consecutive race start. Dixon hasn’t missed a start since the 2004 Menards A. J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile. While Dixon started the race in 16th place, the pole was won by Graham Rahal. The qualifying triumph illustrated the massive turnaround for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing after the team faltered during Indianapolis 500 qualifying and Graham Rahal failed to qualify for the series’ marquee event.

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The Gallagher Grand Prix’s opening lap would see Andretti’s Devlin DeFrancesco take the lead into the first corner after his own impressive qualifying performance landed him on the front row. There would be chaos further back in the field going through Turn 7. Ganassi teammates Alex Palou and Marcus Armstrong made contact. Their other teammate Dixon would be spun by Romain Grosjean before the Andretti driver ran into Armstrong’s right-rear wheel.

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Josef Newgarden would be the worst off in the incident after his car mounted the front of Armstrong’s Ganassi. The Penske driver was forced to pit for repairs, taking him out of contention for the race win and severely hurting his title chances. Palou eventually finished seventh while Newgarden crossed the finish line two laps down in 25th. With a 101-point lead, Palou will only need to outscore Newgarden by five points at Gateway in two weeks to win the championship.

After the final round of pit stops, Dixon held a seven-second lead but had to conserve fuel to make the finish. The six-time champion also had to contend with a hard-charging Graham Rahal. The lead was slashed to less than a second during the closing laps, but Rahal just couldn’t get close enough to attempt a pass. Dixon’s win also meant he has won a race in 19 consecutive IndyCar seasons.

Race Results

1. - Scott Dixon (Ganassi)
2. - Graham Rahal (Rahal) - +0.477 seconds
3. - Pato O’Ward (McLaren) - +8.092 seconds
4. - Christian Lundgaard (Rahal) - +9.321 seconds
5. - Alexander Rossi (McLaren) - +9.793 seconds

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McDowell Playoff-Bound With Second Career Victory

Verizon 200 at the Indy Road Course | Extended Highlights

Michael McDowell put on a road racing clinic during the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard. The Front Row Motorsports driver led 54 of the race’s 82 laps and held first for the last 29 laps under completely green flag conditions. Chase Elliott pursued McDowell over the final third of the race. Neither driver was locked into the playoffs and needed a win to get in. Elliott desperately closed the gap from four seconds to just under a second, but he couldn’t reach McDowell’s rear bumper. The race victory was McDowell’s second career Cup Series win, a year and a half after his shock 2021 Daytona 500 victory.

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Shane van Gisbergen wasn’t able to replicate his Chicago success, but he was still competitive in the No. 91 Trackhouse Camaro and finished tenth. The other overseas stars found themselves outside of the top 20. His Supercars title rival Brodie Kostecki finished 22nd in the No. 33 RCR Camaro. Garage 56 drivers Mike Rockenfeller and Jenson Button found themselves 24th and 28th. Toyota Le Mans winner Kamui Kobayashi was 33rd in the No. 67 23XI Camry.

Race Results

1. - Michael McDowell (Front Row)
2. - Chase Elliott (Hendrick) - +0.937 seconds
3. - Daniel Suarez (Trackhouse) - +5.750 seconds
4. - Tyler Reddick (23XI) - +6.473 seconds
5. - Alex Bowman (Hendrick) - +19.994 seconds