While Helio Castroneves celebrated victory, championship leader Scott Dixon left the Iowa Corn 300 scratching his head. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver barely cracked the top ten all day before finally ending up eighth at the checkered flag.
Dixon explained to NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis that he and the No. 9 NTT Data Honda team simply fought handling problems all race long.
“We struggled. So loose. We beat up the right front a lot. Coming past traffic was really tough. It was a fun race. Physically very difficult. Our car was neutral, fighting it all day,” Dixon explained.
As a result of his struggles, the already close championship picture has become even closer. Dixon now leads Castroneves by a slim eight points, meaning a Castroneves victory at next week’s Honda Indy Toronto would make him the championship leader.
Pagenaud sits third, 31 points out of the lead. Their Team Penske teammates Will Power and Josef Newgarden sit third and fourth, making it a Penske 2-3-4-5 in the championship at the moment, with Power 53 points behind and Newgarden 56 markers out of the lead. With Castroneves’ win, all four Penske drivers have now won a race this year.
Behind the Penske quartet, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal and Andretti Autosport’s Takuma Sato sit tied for sixth, 66 points behind the lead as the Verizon IndyCar Series heads north of the border for the Honda Indy Toronto (Sunday, July 16, 3:00 p.m. ET on CNBC).