The podium of Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, and Josef Newgarden hoist their trophies in Victory Lane following the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen from Watkins Glen International
From the Track

Dixon Dominates IndyCar’s Successful Return to Watkins Glen International

Story Credit: Jared DePouw
Photo Credit: INDYCAR Photo

{boxplus href=”images/News/2016WatkinsGlen/WGIVictoryCircle.jpg” title=”Photo Credit INDYCAR Photo/Bret Kelley”}The podium of Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, and Josef Newgarden hoist their trophies in Victory Lane following the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen from Watkins Glen International{/boxplus}

The speed drought that has plagued the Finger Lakes, NY region for the last six years is finally over, and it was Scott Dixon that would bring home the Sonoco Twin Checkers in the successful return of the Verizon IndyCar Series to Watkins Glen International.

Dixon led the morning warm-up session, making him the fastest driver in every practice session and qualifying. The duo of Dale Coyne Racing rookies RC Enerson and Conor Daly were second and fourth fastest, respectively. One of the most notable things about the morning warm-up was that many teams used their alternate Red Firestones since many teams did not know how they would hold up over a long stint. All but four cars (Rossi/Andretti/Rahal/Sato) would start the race on alternate Red Firestones.

The race would start with Jack Hawksworth making contact in Turn 1 and spinning Sebastien Bourdais. Juan Pablo Montoya would also be involved and both cars would eventually continue. The race would remain green until Lap 15 when the left rear tire of Mikhail Aleshin would fail in Turn 4, causing Aleshin to crash hard into the wall and bringing out the first caution of the race. The biggest benefactor of this caution would be Dixon, who had just completed his first pit stop one lap before the caution.

“This was a great weekend to start and not so great to finish,” said Aleshin. “I hope that we got all of the bad luck out of the way here and we can have a strong finish to the season in Sonoma.”

A few laps after returning to green on Lap 18, Graham Rahal would make contact with Charlie Kimball in Turn 1, violently sending Rahal into the tire barrier. Fortunately, Rahal would walk away uninjured but would have to settle for a disappointing 21st place finish.

“I had a great run on (Charlie) Kimball, I got inside, completed the pass and he decided not to give me any room on the exit. That was a hard hit, probably the hardest I’ve taken in my life, ovals included. It’s a shame,” said Rahal. “Unfortunately, we got back there with Kimball. I have to take blame too because I put myself in that position. I should know better than to race him like that. It’s disappointing and I’m a little ticked off.”

Tony Kanaan would face an issue when his right rear toe link would break on-track, causing Kanaan to dunk into pit lane just before returning to green on Lap 23.

The final caution of the race would happen on Lap 39 when Will Power was sent into the backstretch wall by a charging Kimball. Power’s car would sustain heavy damage, but the most damage came to Power himself who was entered into IndyCar’s Concussion Protocol. After returning to green on Lap 41, Dixon would check out on the rest of the field and manage to save enough fuel to cruise to his 40th career victory and fourth at Watkins Glen International.

“These are the weekends you definitely don’t forget. Just in the shear fact that we had such a smooth one, which made it hard also going into the race.”
~ Scott Dixon

Verizon IndyCar Series Championship Leader Simon Pagenaud finished seventh, increasing his lead over Team Penske teammate Power by 43 points going into the final race of the season at Sonoma on September 18th.

Jared DePouw
Jared is the founder of RealOpenWheel.com but works as a small business accountant. He also officiates high school football and lacrosse in his free time.

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