Race Weekend Central

Scott Dixon Salvages Fifth-Place Result After Team Penske Pinball

On a typical race weekend, a fifth-place finish for Scott Dixon would be expected, if not disappointing.

However, Sunday’s Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans – Dual II proved be anything but routine for the four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion.

Dixon overcame a broken suspension from an opening lap melee with Helio Castroneves and another bit of contact with Juan Pablo Montoya to salvage a top-five result for his Chip Ganassi Racing team.

Starting in row two after a strong run in qualifying, hopes were high that Dixon could claim his second victory of the 2016 season, but contact coming to the green flag with Castroneves left Dixon struggling with handling after making a save.

Dixon soldiered on, unlike James Hinchcliffe and Max Chilton, who were taken out in the opening lap.

“Helio (Castroneves) just smashed into us on the start and put us into the wall,” said Dixon. “We lost a ton of track position after that.”

BEARDEN: IndyCar’s Game Of Yellows

Adding insult to injury, Dixon’s day of Team Penske pinball continued on lap 22, when an aggressive Montoya collided with the rear of Dixon’s car. The incident would be reviewed by the stewards, but no action was taken.

Montoya’s day would end shortly later after another mistake, but Dixon again marched on.

Incredibly, courtesy of a pit stop before the final yellow, Dixon found himself inside of the top five late in the stages of Sunday’s race. Dixon would hold his position, riding home with a fifth-place result that contained every bit the fight and effort of a win.

“I didn’t see the replay with the contact with Juan (Pablo Montoya) but I tried to give him room while getting to the corner,” said Dixon. “That obviously gave us a puncture and dropped us a ways back. After the hit I took from Helio at the start I could turn right pretty well, but I just couldn’t turn left and it’s hard to move up in the race obviously like that.”

Despite Dixon’s struggles, his good result moved the New Zealander up to second in the points standings, 80 points behind leader Simon Pagenaud.

Next up for Dixon will be the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, a race he won last season.

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