Dixon wins at Toronto, ties Mario Andretti for second place on all-time wins list

The NTT IndyCar Series’ return to the north of the border produced two achievements for Scott Dixon after Dixon prevailed over a 19-run dash to the finish to win the Honda Indy Toronto at the Exhibition Place in Toronto, Canada, on Sunday, July 17.

The six-time IndyCar champion from Brisbane, Australia, who started on the front row alongside pole-sitter Colton Herta, utilized his planned pit strategy to perfection as he cycled to the lead on Lap 32 of 85. From there, he led a total of 40 laps as he fended Herta and Felix Rosenqvist to snap a 23-race winless drought and move into a tie with Mario Andretti for second place on the all-time IndyCar Series wins list with his 52nd career victory.

With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Saturday, Colton Herta became the first multi-pole winner of this season after he clocked in a pole-winning lap at 108.480 mph in 59.2698 seconds. Joining him on the front row was Scott Dixon, whose best time occurred at 108.317 mph in 59.3592 seconds.

When the green flag waved and the race commenced, Herta cleared the field entering the first turn and took off with the lead followed by Dixon while Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi battled for third in front of Scott McLaughlin and David Malukas. As the field filed in a long single-file line through 11-turn street circuit, Herta led the first lap over Dixon.

During the following lap, however, the first caution flew due to debris in Turn 8 and when an early contact within the field resulted with Takuma Sato’s left-front tire to blow and his left-front suspension to break as his event came to an early end. Under caution, some like rookie Kyle Kirkwood, Dalton Kellett and Conor Daly pitted while the rest led by Herta remained on the track.

When the race restarted under green on the fourth lap, Herta retained the lead ahead of Dixon and Newgarden while Felix Rosenqvist made an early move on Malukas to move into sixth place as the field remained in a long single-file line.

Through the first 10 scheduled laps, Herta remained as the leader by more than a second over Dixon followed by Newgarden, Rossi and McLaughlin while Rosenqvist, Malukas, rookie Callum Ilott, Marcus Ericsson and rookie Christian Lundgaard were scored in the top 10. By then, Alex Palou pitted his No. 10 NTT Data Dallara-Honda under green.

Two laps later, names like Simon Pagenaud, Newgarden, Lundgaard, Rossi and Romain Grosjean pitted under green. Malukas, Will Power, Ilott, Devlin DeFrancesco, Jack Harvey, Ericsson, Grosjean, Newgarden and Rossi would also pit during the proceeding laps from Laps 13 to 17.

By Lap 18, Herta surrendered the lead to pit under green along with Scott McLaughlin as Felix Rosenqvist emerged as the leader followed by Graham Rahal, Helio Castroneves, Rinus VeeKay and Pato O’Ward. Once the field reached the Lap 20 mark, Rahal inherited the lead while Rosenqvist pitted under green.

Two laps later, Ilott, who was running in 16th place, locked up his front tires and briefly went off the course, though he managed to cycle his way back on the circuit without drawing a caution.

Through the first 25 scheduled laps, Graham Rahal was leading by more than six seconds over Rinus VeeKay followed by Pato O’Ward, Jimmie Johnson and Scott Dixon while Herta was back in sixth ahead of Conor Daly, Newgarden, Rossi and Malukas. Once Rahal pitted a lap later, however, VeeKay emerged with the lead followed by O’Ward while Herta moved back into the top five.

On Lap 29, O’Ward made a bold move beneath VeeKay entering the third turn to move his No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Dallara-Chevrolet into the lead. Once VeeKay and O’Ward pitted during the following three and four laps later, Dixon cycled his No. 9 PNC Bank Dallara-Honda into the lead followed by Herta, Johnson, Daly and Newgarden. By then, Kellett also pitted after his No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Dallara-Chevrolet was billowing smoke, a mechanical issue that would eliminate him from further contention.

At the halfway mark between Laps 42 and 43, Dixon continued to lead by more than two seconds over Herta while Newgarden, Rossi, Rosenqvist, Malukas, McLaughlin, Ericsson, Pagenaud and Rahal were running in the top 10. By then, Palou was in 11th ahead of Lundgaard, VeeKay, O’Ward and Grosjean while DeFrancesco, Power, Castroneves, Harvey and Daly were in the top 20 ahead of Johnson.

Two laps later, the caution flew when Felix Rosenqvist, who gained a huge run on Alexander Rossi entering Turn 3, made contact with Rossi in the third turn, which sent Rossi’s No. 27 NAPA/AutoNation Dallara-Honda hard into the outside wall as his event came to an end.

Under caution, the leaders led by Dixon pitted as Dixon exited first followed by Herta, Rosenqvist, McLaughlin and Rahal. Back on the track, however, VeeKay, who remained on the track, inherited the lead along with teammate Conor Daly.

When the race restarted under green on Lap 49, VeeKay took off with the top spot followed by Daly while Dixon was back in third ahead of Herta and Rosenqvist. 

Then with 30 laps remaining, the caution returned due to a piece of concrete asphalt that was reported on the track. During the caution period, Daly pitted while the rest of the field led by VeeKay and Dixon remained on the track.

With 27 laps remaining, the race restarted under green as VeeKay retained the lead followed by Dixon, Herta, Rosenqvist and McLaughlin. As the field jostled for late positions through the turns, Palou made contact with teammate Ericsson through Turns 3 to 5 while battling for eighth place. Shortly after, the caution flew when Kyle Kirkwood collided into Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Carvana Dallara-Honda in Turn 9 as both competitors came to a rest in the turn. During the caution period, VeeKay surrendered the lead to pit while Dixon assumed the lead.

Down to the final 19 laps of the event, the race restarted under green. At the start, Dixon was able to jump ahead with the lead followed by Herta and Rosenqvist while Rahal made a bold move on McLaughlin entering the first turn to move into fourth place, where he was followed by Pagenaud, Ericsson and a hard-charging Palou. As the field fanned out and jumbled for positions, Dixon started to gap Herta by a second. By then, McLaughlin had fallen back to ninth in front of Newgarden.

With 15 laps remaining, Dixon extended his advantage to more than two seconds over Herta followed by Rosenqvist, Rahal and Ericsson while Palou, Pagenaud, Lundgaard, McLaughlin and Newgarden were in the top 10. By then, O’Ward was in 11th, VeeKay was back in 13th and Power was mired in 15th.

With less than 10 laps remaining, Dixon continued to lead by nearly two seconds over both Herta’s No. 26 Gainbridge Dallara-Honda and Rosenqvist’s No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Dallara-Chevrolet. He continued to retain the lead by more than two seconds as the field hit the final five-lap mark.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Dixon remained as the leader by more than two seconds over Herta and Rosenqvist. As Herta and Rosenqvist continued to battle for the runner-up spot, this allowed Dixon to drive away with a clear race track in front of him. With no striking challenges approaching him through the 11-turn circuit, Dixon was able to cycle back to the finish line as he claimed his first checkered flag of the 2022 season and became the seventh different winner of this season.

In addition, Dixon claimed his fourth victory at Toronto, the second victory of the season for Chip Ganassi Racing, the third for Honda and his 52nd career win in the IndyCar Series, which placed him in a tie with Mario Andretti for second place on the all-time IndyCar wins list as he now trails the all-time wins leader AJ Foyt, who holds 67 victories. The victory was Dixon’s first since winning the first of a Texas Motor Speedway doubleheader feature in May 2021 as he also extended his winning streak to 18 consecutive IndyCar seasons.

Photo by Patrick Sue-Chan for SpeedwayMedia.com.

“It was a tough drive,” Dixon said on Peacock. “[I] Ended a streak there, which is fantastic. Just so happy for the team. It’s been a crazy year for the No. 9 [team]. I still feel extremely bad for all our partners and everybody involved for the [Indianapolis] 500. The PNC Bank No. 9 [Honda] back in winner’s circle. Man, it just feels so good. Massive thank you to Honda. To get that fuel mileage, today, was so easy.”

“It’s amazing,” Dixon added, “To be close to Mario, every time I’m asked these questions, I’m just so thankful that we still have AJ [Foyt] and [Andretti] in the pits. We get to see them. We get to talk to them. Just fantastic. It’s huge, man. Just feel so lucky to be a part of this group. Hopefully, we’re kind of in the title hunt now. I’m hoping this is the start of the roll. It was just tremendous to see all the teams work really well this weekend.” 

Herta, who led 17 laps, settled in second place and more than eight-tenths of a second behind Dixon while Rosenqvist achieved his first podium result in more than a season after finishing in third place.

“Felix was really fast,” Herta said. “I’m glad we were able to keep him behind us. We just struggled with tire wear. Other than that, our car was amazing, and obviously got beat by Dixon, but one of those races I have to be proud of. The team did an amazing job. The car was really good all weekend. A pole and second, I’m happy with that. Hopefully, we can continue with these results more consistently. We just need to make this a little bit more regular and then, do it again next year and we’ll be looking a lot better in the championship.”

What a fun race,” Rosenqvist said. “We had to fight really hard for it. The strategy for the race, you had to overtake on track and do good pit stops. I think we nailed both of those. We took the opportunities we had and that slowly moved us forward. Really good fun, good racing as it should be. First podium with the team. Really, really stoked. This weekend hopefully makes [McLaren CEO] Zak [Brown] doubt some things. Still a long way to go in the year, but every race just keeps getting better and better, and this is the trajectory we want to be on, and I’m excited for the rest of the season.”

Rahal, who led six laps, came home in fourth while points leader Ericsson rounded out the top five. Completing the top 10 were Alex Palou, Simon Pagenaud, rookie Christian Lundgaard, Scott McLaughlin and Josef Newgarden.

There were seven lead changes for six different leaders. The race featured four cautions for 15 laps.

With his top-five result, Marcus Ericsson continues to lead the standings by 35 points over Will Power, 37 over Alex Palou, 44 over both Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon, 75 over Pato O’Ward and 77 over Scott McLaughlin.

Results.

1. Scott Dixon, 40 laps led

2. Colton Herta, 17 laps led

3. Felix Rosenqvist, one lap led

4. Graham Rahal, six laps led

5. Marcus Ericsson

6. Alex Palou

7. Simon Pagenaud

8. Christian Lundgaard

9. Scott McLaughlin

10. Josef Newgarden

11. Pato O’Ward, three laps led

12. David Malukas

13. Rinus VeeKay, 18 laps led

14. Callum Ilott

15. Will Power

16. Romain Grosjean

17. Helio Castroneves

18. Devlin DeFrancesco

19. Jack Harvey

20. Conor Daly

21. Jimmie Johnson, 12 laps down

22. Kyle Kirkwood – OUT, Contact

23. Alexander Rossi – OUT, Contact

24. Dalton Kellett – OUT, Mechanical

25. Takuma Sato – OUT, Contact

Next on the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series schedule is a doubleheader feature at Iowa Speedway, which marks the series return to the circuit following a one-year absence. The first IndyCar doubleheader event at Iowa will occur on Saturday, July 23, at 4 p.m. ET on NBC while the second event will occur on Sunday, July 24, at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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