Scott Dixon wins chaotic IndyCar finale at Laguna Seca
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Monday, September 11, 2023
Photo Credit: Motorsport Week
In the second half of the 2023 IndyCar season, seemingly nobody could stop Chip Ganassi Racing, and more specifically, Scott Dixon.
Without a win entering the Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis, the six-time champion finally scored his first victory of the year. Then, he won again the following race at Gateway.
Although it wasn't enough to topple teammate Alex Palou in the title race, it was a late season run that he could be proud of.
Ahead of the season finale in Laguna Seca, he wasn't done.
In a race that featured eight cautions for 35 laps, Dixon started towards the back with an engine penalty, got a drive-through penalty for Lap 1 contact with Rinus Veekay, and then methodically worked his way back to the front to end 2023 with another win.
Dixon's 56th career win was also his first win at the famed Laguna Seca circuit, and his third in four races to cap off a runner-up campaign. Dixon was furious with his Lap 1 penalty, with the stewards seemingly missing the fact that contact from behind caused Dixon to run into Veekay.
But in typical Dixon "iceman" form, he brushed it off and completed another supreme comeback drive.
The newly re-paved circuit provided plenty of grip on the racing line, but close to none off-line. The majority of the cautions and incidents were caused by drivers losing grip on the inside trying to overtake, and taking themselves and other cars out.
While it got a little silly at times, especially on restarts, it was a chaotic event that any race fan would've enjoyed with all the unpredictability it presented!
Finishing second was another comeback driver, Scott McLaughlin. The kiwi was caught up in the massive Lap 1, turn 1 pile up, and like his compatriot Dixon, worked his way through all the carnage to get back into second. His result pushed him up to third in the championship.
Rounding out the podium was 2023 champion Alex Palou, who led much of the race before an ill-timed caution from the stricken David Malukas during a pit sequence pushed him to 15th. His rear wing even got clipped pretty hard by Santino Ferrucci on a restart, but that didn't seem to affect his performance in what was yet another champions' drive.
Fourth was Will Power, who turned a frustrating qualifying result into a solid top five effort in the race. He came home ahead of Juncos Hollinger driver Callum Ilott in fifth, Christian Lundgaard in sixth with bent steering, Alexander Rossi in seventh and newly-crowned Rookie Of The Year Marcus Armstrong in eighth.
Pato O'Ward ended ninth after a fuel-saving gamble didn't work out while running second, followed home by Ryan Hunter-Reay in tenth. This result was Captain America's first top ten since his return to the sport midway through the season.
Other notables included a career-best result for Dale Coyne's Sting Ray Robb in 12th, and Agustin Canapino in 14th with front wing damage, despite running in the top three at one stage in what was looking like a real career day for the Argentinian.