IndyCar

Scott Dixon looks to increase points lead at Mid-Ohio, his most successful track

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Scott Dixon couldn’t have picked a better place for his 300th career Verizon IndyCar Series start if he had written the script himself.

Dixon will make his 300th start in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

Mid-Ohio is Dixon’s most successful IndyCar track. In 13 starts (including two in CART and 11 in IndyCar), he has a career-high five wins (also the most there of any driver in IndyCar history), six podium finishes and two poles.

“Mid-Ohio is just one of those tracks where we have a feeling that if we get things right with the PNC Bank car, we always have a decent shot at winning,” Dixon said. “The track has been very special to not only myself, but to the team over the years.”

Dixon, who turned 38 this past Sunday, comes into this weekend’s race on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn permanent road course as the IndyCar points leader, holding a 62-point edge over defending series champion Josef Newgarden and a 70-point margin over third-ranked Alexander Rossi.

“It’s funny, I haven’t really thought too much about the 300 starts,” Dixon said. “But it’s kind of cool it happens to land at Mid-Ohio where we’ve had some success. Does that mean I’m getting old? I’m not sure. Hopefully we can celebrate it by getting the PNC Bank car into victory lane on Sunday.”

Dixon is coming off a big win two weeks ago at Toronto, his third of the season, tying him with Josef Newgarden for most triumphs thus far in 2018.

It also was Dixon’s 44th career IndyCar victory, leaving him eight away from tying Mario Andretti for second on the IndyCar all-time wins list (A.J. Foyt is No. 1 with 67 wins).

With five races remaining, Dixon hopes to build on his past Mid-Ohio success to put additional room between himself, Newgarden, Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power heading into Pocono, Gateway, Portland and the season finale at Sonoma.

“(Mid-Ohio is) one of those rhythm tracks where if you get in a good groove, then things just take off if everything is working right,” Dixon said. “You can come from about anywhere to win here as we’ve seen in the past, but it’s a lot easier when you do it from the front, so a good qualifying run is always important on this style of track.”

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Dakar Stage 8 Highlights: Ricky Brabec blows engine, retires

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The motorcycle class of the Dakar Rally has been a seesaw affair through seven stages, but Ricky Brabec seemed poised to win the class for the USA. Until he blew an engine in Stage 8 that is – and gave up a more-than seven second lead. He was the second rider to retire after starting the stage as the leader. Joan Barreda retired in Stage 3.

Brabec was looking to become the first American rider to win in 27 years, but his fate was eerily similar to last year. Three days from the end of the stage, he retired about 50 kilometers into the stage, which is precisely when and where he retired in 2018.

With Brabec’s trouble, Toby Price leapfrogged from third to second in class despite riding with a metal pin in his wrist. In the world’s most grueling endurance event, it has never been more obvious that it isn’t over till it’s over.

Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Attiyah continues to run a consistent rally. With a 46 minute advantage over Nani Roma and Sebastien Loeb, all he needs to do is stay error free for the final two stages to win his third Dakar.

Here are some of the other highlights:

In the cars class, Sebastien Loeb scored his fifth stage win of the Rally by seven minutes over Nasser Al-Attiyah, but problems in Stage 3 have kept him from being competitive for the overall lead. … Jakub Przygonski earned his third podium of the Rally. All of these have been third-place finishes.

Class Leaders: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 46:29 over Roma and 46:45 over Loeb.

In motorcycles, Ricky Brabec’s blown engine opened up the class once more. … Matthias Walkner narrowly edged Pablo Quintanilla by 45 seconds. … But it was Toby Price’s third-place finish that helped elevate him to the class lead. … Sam Sunderland was supposed to blaze the path for the riders, but a malfunctioning navigation system kept him from rolling off first. Blazing the trail is a disadvantage and officials adjudged him to have tampered with his system to avoid that fate. Sunderland was penalized an hour to finish 35th on the stage. He dropped to ninth in class.

Class Leaders: Price inherited the lead over Quintanilla by 1:03 and 6:35 over Walkner

In side by sides, Francisco Lopez Contardo scored the victory over Cristian Baumgart by 4:47. … Gerard Farres Guell rounded out the top three.

Class Leaders: Contardo holds an advantage 0f 54:10 over Rodrigo Piazolli and one hour, 08:09 over Guell

In quads, there was no surprise in Nicolas Cavigliasso winning his seventh stage of the season. … He padded his overall advantage over Gustavo Gallego by more than nine minutes. … Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli finished third.

Class Leaders: Cavigliasso holds and advantage of one hour, 24:52 over Ferioli and one hour, 44:04 over Gallego

In trucks, Dmitry Sotnikov won the stage to take over the class lead. He beat Ton Van Genugten by 22:01. … Siarhei Viazovich rounded out the top three. … Eduard Nikolaev lost the class lead by finishing eighth – nearly one hour behind Sotnikov.

Class Leaders: Sotnikov holds an advantage of 26:49 over and one hour, 7:43 over Gerard de Rooy

Stage Wins

Motorcycles
Sam Sunderland [2] (Stage 5 and 7), Matthias Walkner [2] (Stage 2 and 8), Joan Barreda [1] (Stage 1), Xavier de Soultrait [1] (Stage 3), Ricky Brabec [1] (Stage 4) and Pablo Quintanilla [1] (Stage 6)

Quads
Nicolas Cavigliasso [7] (Stage 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) and Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli [1] (Stage 3)

Cars
Sebastien Loeb [4] (Stage 2, 5, 6 and 8), Nasser Al-Attiyah [2] (Stage 1 and 4) and Stephane Peterhansel [2] (Stage 3 and 7)

Side-by-sides
Francisco Lopez Contardo [4] (Stage 2, 6, 7 and 8), Reinaldo Varela [1] (Stage 1), Gerard Farres Guell [1] (Stage 3), Sergei Kariakin [1] (Stage 4) and Rodrigo Piazzoli [1] (Stage 5)

Trucks
Eduard Nikolaev [3] (Stage 1, 2 and 5), Andrey Karginov [2] (Stage 3 and 4), Dmitry Sotnikov [2] (Stage 6 and 8) and Gerard de Rooy [1] (Stage 7)

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