Scott Dixon has a rather sizable trophy case, which features a “Baby Borg” for his 2008 Indianapolis 500 win and two IZOD IndyCar Series championships. But the addition of a winner’s trophy from Barber Motorsports Park will have to wait another year.
For the fourth consecutive season, Dixon came up just one spot short at the Alabama road course. In 2010, he chased Helio Castroneves to the checkered flag. Then in 2011 and 2012, it was Will Power that kept him from the top spot on the podium. And today, it was Ryan Hunter-Reay who held him off in this year’s running in Alabama.
“Our car was very quick, but clearly I have to go out and buy a bridesmaid’s dress tonight,” said Dixon, who moved to second in the championship behind Helio Castroneves (who finished third in the race).
After qualifying fourth on Saturday, Dixon fell back a couple of spots while avoiding contact with Will Power at the start of the race. But he managed to hang around the top five and found himself sitting in third position after his final stop at Lap 65. Then on Lap 77 — one lap after Hunter-Reay had passed Castroneves for the lead — Dixon got by the Brazilian for second position and attempted to cut into RHR’s advantage.
Unfortunately for him, he could only halve it and lost out to Hunter-Reay by six-tenths of a second at the finish.
“Spending so much time in traffic, especially in the middle part of the race, hurt us,” said Dixon. “It left us with too much ground to make up after the final round of pit stops.”
Still, Dixon salvaged the day for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, whose other driver, Dario Franchitti, was forced to bow out after 42 laps due to a broken header on his machine.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.