Dixon survives Nashville slugfest

Scott Dixon pipped a late run from Scott McLaughlin to win a rain-delayed Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.

A massive thunderstorm drenched the Nashville area around 2pm and forced a nearly 90-minute delay.

Dixon benefitted from pitting on Lap 50 just before a yellow flag on Lap 54 to move up to second behind Josef Newgarden. He snagged the lead on Lap 66 when Josef Newgarden pitted from the lead and survived two late yellow flags to take sole possession of 2nd on the all-time Indy car wins list behind AJ Foyt.

The Kiwi started the race 14th and encountered damage during a yellow flag on Lap 26 when multiple cars collided in Turn 7. His No. 9 PNC Bank Honda suffered minor damage in the wreck and pitted for repair to the left rear wheel.
McLaughlin started the 80 Lap contest from the pole position and led the opening 22 laps before surrendering the lead under the first caution.

The Team Penske driver dissected his way through the field and dispatched Christian Lundgaard on the Lap 76 restart just as Josef Newgarden and Romain Grosjean crashed in Turn 9.

Dixon defended the lead on the final lap as McLaughlin nailed the gas off the final corner to draw up to .1067s behind at the line.

“The tough thing all weekend was that I knew the PNC Bank No. 9 was super-fast,” Dixon said. “We proved that in the warm-up. We just didn’t have many consecutive laps, but kudos to the team. “We had a big crash there. It took half the floor off the car. We had to take four turns of front wing out, so we had no grip. And then I think we did 45 or 50 laps on the last set of tires, so the last stop we didn’t even take tires.”

“We were worried about him because I knew he’d take chances,” said. “He kind of has to with the standings at the moment and he was super-fast as well. Honestly, he had fresh tires too. I was a bit of a sitting duck. I think if there was a lap or two more, it would have been really tough to do. Congrats to him on a great weekend and hopefully that was good for us on points.”

Alex Palou completed the podium while Andretti Autosport teammates Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta completed a comeback to round out the top five.

More to follow.

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