Dixon elated to win with wounded car on old tires

Scott Dixon said his 53rd IndyCar victory was a credit to his team, after repairing damage in the early stages of the race.

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Dixon was left disappointed after qualifying only 14th, but in Sunday morning warm-up he proved fast on both the primary and alternate Firestones to head the table.

He passed three cars at the start of the race, lost a spot, and then ran over debris from a chain-reaction shunt that was started by Graham Rahal running into the back of Pato O’Ward at Turn 6 on Lap 26 following a restart. That forced several drivers to try and squeeze past and brake earlier, and two permanent victims were Dalton Kellett and Simona De Silvestro.

The debris damaged the floor of the Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda and punctured a tire. But Dixon dug deep and scrambled through the field, which kept getting condensed by more caution periods.

With the red flag waved for another shunt, when Josef Newgarden bounced Romain Grosjean into a wall, Dixon had to endure a 1.5-lap sprint to the checkered flag on old tires, holding off the fast and undamaged Penske-Chevrolet of polesitter Scott McLaughlin. He passed the checkered flag less than 0.2sec clear.

“The tough thing about the weekend was knowing that the PNC Bank #9 was super fast, we proved that in the warm-up,” Dixon told NBC Sports.

“Kudos to the team, we had a big crash there that took half the floor off, so we had to take four turns of front wing out, we had no grip. And then I think we did 45-50 laps on that last set of tires, so the last stop we didn't even take tires.

“Oh man, Nashville is so awesome! I was real worried about Scott [McLaughlin] because I knew he'd take a chance – he kind of has to with the standings at the moment – and he was super-fast on fresher tires, so I was a sitting duck. A lap or two more would've been really tough to do.”

McLaughlin, who suffered a bad stop that dropped him to 15th, was asked how much more time he needed to earn his third win of the season.

“One lap, we were side by side across the finish line. We were 15th on that last pit exchange, just had an awesome restart and the car was fast, it was unreal.

“Just fell short at the end but congrats to Scotty, I always dreamed about racing him until the end. I had a lot of fun and that's why I've come to IndyCar racing. This is the best racing in the world.

“Great weekend, great for the points and we'll just keep pushing in the last three races of the year.”

Six-time champion Dixon is now only six points behind 2014 champion Will Power in the championship, with three rounds to go, while McLaughlin is 58 adrift.

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Nashville IndyCar: Dixon triumphs through the chaos
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