'It was all over the place': Scott Dixon wins IndyCar race in Detroit amid crashes galore

DETROIT – In the midst of utter chaos in the post-Indianapolis 500 hangover, we shouldn’t be surprised Scott Dixon rose above the rest.

The six-time IndyCar champion cruised through a field that saw nine caution periods and well over 1 hour run under yellow flag conditions to snag his second win of the 2024 season and his fifth in the last 10 points-paying races. With the victory, Dixon also overtook Chip Ganassi Racing teammate and defending series champ Alex Palou in the championship points battle, holding an 18-point edge heading into next weekend at Road America.

Sunday’s win for Dixon also marked the 58th of his career, moving him within nine of AJ Foyt’s all-time IndyCar mark.

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Here’s how Dixon survived the chaos:

Dixon makes key pass on Herta for pad to 2nd-place

With 10 laps to go, Colton Herta passed Dixon to get back on the lead lap. The race’s polesitter saw his hopes of his first win well over two years (GMR Grand Prix) disappear after running long into the tires and stalling on Lap 46. Down in 19th but on the lead lap, Herta held up Dixon down the stretch and allowed challengers Marcus Armstrong and Marcus Ericsson to close.

With five laps to go, a 3.3-second gap to 2nd-place for Dixon on Lap 80 had shrunk to just 1.1 seconds with Herta in front. Frustrated by the maneuver that could theoretically help Ericsson try and steal a win down the stretch, Dixon lunged in the Turn 3 hairpin to put Herta back one lap down. And with that, Dixon drove away over the final laps, stretching his No. 9 Honda’s fuel to a 44-lap final stint.

“I think I made the comment on the radio on Lap 50, ‘I think we can make it without and more stops if we do one now,’” Dixon said post-race. “The team called in perfectly right on strategy, and we won, man, how cool is that?

“There’s just always the variable of trying to stay out of trouble and keeping the car on-track. We had rain. It was all over the place. You’re just never really sure how the conditions are going to fall or the strategy. I’m just so stoked for everyone on the team. That was cool.”

With two laps to go, Ericsson snuck inside of Armstrong in Turn 3 to snag 2nd place for his first podium with Andretti Global. With Dixon in his sights, Ericsson closed fast over those final two laps but finished 0.9 seconds back. Armstrong took 3rd. The rest of the top 10: Kyle Kirkwood, Alexander Rossi, Will Power, Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Santino Ferrucci and Theo Pourchaire.

“That was very big after the May we had. It was really, really tough – tough mentally,” Ericsson said post-race. “I’m new to this team, and I want to show myself as a top driver after they hired me.

“We talked coming into the weekend about wanting to have a reset on this 2024 season.

“We had so much pace, and if there was one more lap, we might’ve been able to get the win.”

Mid-race chaos helps Scott Dixon save fuel to finish

The chaos started on Lap 1 with a seven-car stack-up in Turn 3 – which would prove to be the pinch point for so much of the race – after Pourchaire and Christian Lundgaard both tagged Power going through the hairpin. The race got back rolling on Lap 4 during an opening stint, where Herta created a 5.5-second gap on Scott McLaughlin in 2nd place, before the slew of cautions began in earnest.

On Lap 16, Santino Ferrucci continued his tumultuous weekend by running into the back of Helio Castroneves in a melee that would also collect Kyffin Simpson. Not long after the race returned to green on Lap 22, rain began to fall across the course, forcing teams to decide between slick and grooved tires.

McLaughlin slid into the tires from 2nd place to bring out the race’s third caution on Lap 33. After an unusually long yellow-flag period, with drivers putting on rain tires and then taking them off again while race control struggled to get a handle of the running order on-track, rain seemingly stopped by Lap 39.

Seconds after the race returned to green on Lap 41, Will Power turned Rinus VeeKay in Turn 3 for yet another caution. During the ensuing rush to the pits on Lap 42, Josef Newgarden’s hopes of avoiding the nearly automatic post-500 letdown disappeared as the back-to-back 500 winner ran over his own wheel gun, sending him hurtling toward the pit wall the box ahead of him and making contact with one of Lundgaard’s crew members.

On the next attempt to go green on Lap 46, Herta and Tristan Vautier went long into the tires for yet another caution. A similar failed attempt took place on Lap 53, with Lundgaard barreling into Romain Grosjean in Turn 3 moments after the restart, briefly sending the front of the No. 45 Honda airborne. The race finally went green for more than just part of a lap on Lap 60, but Sting Ray Robb rolled into the tires after being tagged by McLaughlin on Lap 64.

By that point, only 26 laps had run green during the first 65.

For one final time, a Lap 70 restart was negated by Newgarden rolling into the back of Kirkwood in Turn 3 and spinning, blocking most of the track and stopping a group that included Alex Palou.

Finally, on Lap 74, the field managed to get – and stay – green the rest of the way.

All the while, the caution-filled middle of the race, including two after he made his final stop, helped Dixon fuel-save to the end.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Scott Dixon wins IndyCar race in Detroit amid crashes galore