In a nail-biting finish that saw Scott Dixon pass Helio Castroneves on the last turn at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky, Dixon claimed not only the race but his 6th victory of the season. The accomplishment has tied Dixon with the current IndyCar record – one which he looks set to break if he keeps going at his current pace.
To be sure the New Zealander looked set to claim the victory cup early on in the Meijer Indy 300. He dominated most of the 200-lap event and seemed to be unstoppable. But racing isn’t only about skill – it’s also about strategy and the team’s strategy required a fuel stop right near the end of the race. The stop gave Brazilian Helio Castroneves a chance to slip into first place and offered him a glimmer of hope for his first victory of the season. It was a bold move since Catroneves didn’t have much more fuel in his tank but it looked for a moment like it may pay off. However Scott Dixon screamed out the pits like a banshee on steroids and within minutes it was clear he was gaining on Castroneves. But was it too late? Castroneves had managed to pull into first place with just six laps to go and Dixon would have to work really hard to ensure that he caught up and overtook him before the race was over.
After a few rounds, Dixon gained steadily making things really exciting for spectators. He saw his chance when the race leader slowed down coming off the fourth turn due to a fuel shortage. Dixon shot past the Brazilian on the final straightway of the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway oval, making for an exciting finish in the last few seconds of the race. Speaking about the race afterwards, Dixon said: “I knew he was a little bit slow and I could see us catching him, and to get him on the last corner was pretty fantastic.” The win extends Scott Dixon’s lead over Castroneves by 13 points to 78. Castroneves finished in second place for the seventh time this year. There are just three races remaining this season and that means that Dixon is short on time to try and beat the current IndyCar record. He’ll also have to work hard to maintain his points lead and win the championship.
The Indy 500 is one of the most prestigious races in North America and each year it receives plenty of media attention. This year was certainly no different and the race proved to be full of action and excitement every step of the way.
As the cars lined up on the starting grid early Sunday morning no-one would be able to guess the final result of this career-defining race. No one presumed that New Zealander Scott Dixon would manage to climb his way to the front of the pack during the course of the race, eventually shooting into the lead and claiming first place by the end of the race. The driving was spectacular and a number of collisions along the way had pit crews running for their lives. The 92nd annual Indianapolis 500 was every bit as magnificent as it could have been expected to be and the thousands of fans that streamed through the gates of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway could not have been disappointed.
When the race started a lot of heads were turned to Dan Wheldon – one of the top contenders for the checkered flag. Unfortunately Wheldon developed engine problems during the course of the race and he only finished at 19th place. Another top contender was Tom Scheckter. Despite the fact that he was among the top five for much of the race, his fortunes ended when he had to leave his car because of a broken gear shaft. Ed Carpenter also appeared to be blazing around the racetrack in top form, leading the front of the field for quite a long time because he did not pit. However on lap 159 Dixon overtook Carpenter and Vitor Meira, claiming second place for himself and putting himself in the running to win the race.
Accidents were plentiful and it seemed that the yellow flag was everywhere. Alex Lloyd from England hit the outside of the fourth turn wall, causing him to veer into the pit lane backwards and scattering pit lane officials. However this rookie received much less attention than Danica Patrick did. Patrick was hit in the pits by Ryan Briscoe and the accident destroyed her left rear suspension. With only 29 laps to go and having run in the top ten up until that point, Patrick was furious. This was the first occasion in her four trips to Indianapolis that she failed to finish in the top ten. She eventually became the 22nd person to cross the finish line.
Scott Dixon’s ultimate break came when he beat Meira out of the pits on the last fuel stop. He then managed to stay in front for the final 29 laps. This is Dixon’s first Indy 500 victory, although he did finish in second place in the race last year. The New Zealander said that he was focusing on fuel conservation for most of the race. Dixon is now the 19th driver to win the race from pole position and his win has put him in the line to receive massive money and corporate sponsorships. His chief competitor, Vitor Meira, eventually finished second while Marco Andretti was third.