Scott Dixon becomes IndyCar’s Ironman, wins for 20th-straight season at Gallagher Grand Prix

Logan Ploder
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Saturday, August 12, 2023

Photo Credit: WTHR

If you were to think of the greatest drivers across all forms of Motorsport from the past 20 years, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon would surely be near the top.


Sitting second all-time in wins and championships with 53 and six respectively, the New Zealander has established himself as an all-time IndyCar great in that timeframe.


At the 2023 Gallagher Grand Prix, he made more history, becoming IndyCar’s ironman by breaking the record for the most-consecutive race starts with his 319th.


And, he made his historic day extra special in typical Dixon fashion.


After starting down the order, and getting collected in a Lap 1 pile up, Dixon brilliantly used a differentiated three-stop strategy to his advantage to hold off Graham Rahal in the final three laps to win the Gallagher Grand Prix.


Dixon’s win was his first of the 2023 season, which continued a streak of 20 years with at least one victory in America’s premiere open-wheel category.


Due to his spin after the opening lap pileup involving Alex Palou, Josef Newgarden, Marcus Armstrong and Romain Grosjean, Dixon went off-strategy by pitting on Lap 5 with nothing to lose.


He then pitted just twice more for the rest of the 85 laps, and lived up to his famous fuel-saving reputation to effectively jump the rest of the field. Everyone else stuck to a more straight-forward three-stop strategy and pitted much later with little to no fuel-saving.


Finishing second was Rahal, who after failing to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in May at the very same circuit, albeit a different layout, dominated the race from his first pole position in six years, losing out purely on strategy.


With the Rahal Letterman Lanigan front-row lockout from he and teammate Christian Lundgaard, as well as a 2-4 finish, RLL Racing is well on its way back to regular success.


Rounding out the podium finishers was Pato O’Ward for McLaren, who as a team, had another solid Indy Road Course race with Alexander Rossi also finishing fifth.


Behind Rossi was Will Power who recovered to P6 after a poor qualifying and going airborne in the chicane on the opening lap. 


Alex Palou finished seventh after two doses of contact - first with Armstrong on Lap 1 to cause the pile up, and then with Devlin Defrancesco on Lap 12 - in the opening stages. Luckily for him, Newgarden’s 25th place finish after the opening lap wreck puts Palou over 100 points in the lead of the championship.


Nashville runner-up Scott McLaughlin had a quiet day in eighth, followed by similarly quiet Nashville winner Kyle Kirkwood in ninth, and Marcus Ericsson in P10.


The NTT IndyCar Series now has two weeks off, before it heads to Gateway in St. Louis for the Bommarito Automotive 350, the final oval race of the season.


With three races left to run, Newgarden - who has swept all four oval races this season - will need to effectively score three wins to end the season, along with some bad luck for Palou to have any shot at the title in Monterey on Sep. 10.