Dixon “didn’t have the pace” to fight for Laguna win

Scott Dixon, who finished 12th on a day he needed to win to stay in the championship hunt, says his CGR-Honda just wasn’t quick enough at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Listen to this article

Wrong-footed in Q1 by Josef Newgarden spinning and causing a red flag and then Kyle Kirkwood ahead of him limiting his ability to warm up his tires on his sole chance to go for a flyer, Dixon was left down in 13th on the grid.

While he has proved able to storm through from mid-grid positions to reach the podium – as recently as Nashville he climbed from 14th to win in a damaged car, and in Portland he went from 16th to third. But today at Laguna Seca, that wasn’t feasible.

"We ultimately didn't have the pace,” said the six-time champion who nonetheless finished in the top three in the championship for the 14th time. “It was a strange race in that we tried everything that we could, we tried to short-stop, we kinda kept coming out into traffic.

“The one run we got clean air, our pace was as good as the leaders. Just frustrating, we couldn't bring what we needed today.

“Congrats to [race-winning teammate] Alex Palou, and Will Power on his second championship.

“You win some, you lose some. This team never gave up, we pushed as hard as we could. Unfortunately we ended up third.”

Taking stock of the season as a whole, in which he scored his 52nd and 53rd wins to surpass Mario Andretti’s win tally, Dixon stated: "As a group effort, everybody did a hell of a job this season, We finished every lap this year which is definitely a huge milestone in itself. That’s kudos to the team but also to our partners too, with Honda and HPD and the effort that goes into to making it all possible.

“We'll keep after it and we know exactly what we need to do in the offseason. Massive thanks to NTT and everyone involved, big thank to PNC Bank and everybody on this team who have worked so hard across all four teams.”

Teammate Marcus Ericsson fought hard with Scott McLaughlin of Team Penske at Laguna Seca but his ninth place finish, combined with McLaughlin’s sixth and Palou’s victory, meant the Swede slipped from fourth to sixth in the championship standings, the same position in which he finished in 2021.

"It was a tough race,” said this year’s Indy 500 winner. “We fought hard out there and gave everything but just not good enough. A very disappointing end of the season.

“Proud of the #8 car crew and Chip Ganassi Racing, they’ve done a tremendous job all year. Big thanks to them and congrats to Alex on the win today.”

Their teammate, NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson, was very upbeat after coming home 16th, ahead of established IndyCar aces such as Graham Rahal, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves.

"It’s been an amazing year with so many awesome experiences,” he said. “Leading in the Indianapolis 500, running a full season, another year with this great team, another year with my great partners to make this all happen. My heart is full.

“I wish I had a little more pace on some of these tracks but that’s part of this journey I’m on. I love this racetrack and I’m so happy to finish on a high note.

“That was probably the most competitive I’ve been on a road course in passing cars and racing hard. We had some issues at the start of the race, and I had to drop back about 10 to 15 seconds after contact with the #4 car [Dalton Kellett]. To fight back from that and end up in 16th is really a great way to finish the race and to finish the season.”

 

 

 

shares
comments
Palou elated by win, non-committal over Ganassi-McLaren dispute
Previous article

Palou elated by win, non-committal over Ganassi-McLaren dispute

Next article

Lundgaard, Rahal: Route to IndyCar rookie title was “very tough”

Lundgaard, Rahal: Route to IndyCar rookie title was “very tough”
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021