Scott Dixon delivered one of his trademark superb drives in his fight to second place in Saturday's rain-delayed Iowa 300.

The runner up finish was his first at the ⅞ mile oval and the 45th of his career but featured a performance that only a driver of his caliber could muster.

The five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion started the 300-lap event in eighth place but never was able to work his way to the front throughout the race's opening half.

The driver of the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing lingered near the end of the top ten for the race's opening 32 laps but quickly lost pace as his Firestone tyres aged and dropped to 16th when rain halted the race after 51 laps.

The yellow allowed him to get fresh rubber and move up to ninth for the Lap 65 restart, but the problem persisted during the second stint. He plummetted to 13th and was lapped by race leader Josef Newgarden on Lap 121.

His struggle prompted a change in strategy as he conserved fuel in an attempt to make up his lost laps in case of a yellow flag. The gamble paid off when Ed Carpenter crashed in Turn 2 on Lap 263 after many of the frontrunners had pitted on Lap 263.

That allowed Dixon to make his final stop on Lap 269 and secured his lead lap position in sixth place.

The 39-year-old Kiwi put on a show from there as he tore through the field with fresher tyres to his advantage and second and third place James Hinchcliffe and Simon Pagenaud became easy targets.

He moved into second place on Lap 285 and eventually crossed the line 2.85 seconds behind Newgarden at the checkered flag.

The 45-time Indy car race winner surmised that he felt the race was going to be a struggle right from the get-go.

"We didn't have a perfect car at any point this weekend," he said. "I feel we actually made some pretty good gains end of the final practice. It was really bizarre, too. We didn't really change too much.

"Had a pretty good understeer car for the start, then once the race started, it was extremely loose, especially through two and four. It was just really bizarre.

"We kind of chased it all night. It was one of those situations where we didn't really have the gap. Even adjusting the front wing, tire pressure was shifting balance of the car a ton, much more than I really experienced before.

"The second to last set of tires I thought were extremely bad. The last set felt good, but we had a lot better tire laps than the rest.

"I don't know. We really struggled here the past few years. Not exactly sure why. We tested here with Felix. It looks like we didn't really accomplish much. It's definitely a track that we need to totally revamp and try to understand where we're going wrong."

The night was the second comeback drive of the year for the Chip Ganassi Racing driver – the first being a recovery from a spin on the opening lap at Road America to finish fifth.

Comments

Loading Comments...