IndyCar: Dixon survives wild day at Portland to finish fifth and increase his points lead

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The saying goes that sometimes you’d rather be lucky than good. Well, on Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland, Scott Dixon certainly had luck on his side.

The luck came in multiple areas. Dixon was caught up on a Lap 1 pileup sparked by contact between James Hinchcliffe and Zach Veach – Marco Andretti notably went airborne and flipped in the incident.

“I thought it was pretty bad. I couldn’t see anything. Once I got off in the dirt, it was just dust everywhere. And I kept getting hit and hit, and I’m like ‘Oh God, this is not gonna be good. Surely the car ix gonna be in a bit of trouble,'” Dixon told NBCSN’s Kevin Lee after the race.

However, while Dixon did slide off into the dirt in the aftermath, he somehow did not suffer any damage. He was also able to keep his No. 9 PNC Bank Honda running, found reverse, and rejoined the field without losing a lap.

“The car was still running, I selected reverse, and had enough room to back out. And once the truck moved I was able to pull away,” Dixon explained.

Luck again turned in his favor on Lap 56 when, following a penalty for a pit speed violation, a caution flew for a spinning Zach Veach. The yellow destroyed the strategy for drivers like Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi, who were running 1-2 at the time, but played right into the hands of Dixon.

While Newgarden and Rossi pitted under yellow and fell back to 16th and 17th, Dixon stayed out to regain track position – he restarted in fourth on Lap 61.

With the whole of the field needing one more pit stop to make the finish, Dixon suddenly found himself in position to pad his points lead over Rossi.

Indeed, Dixon ultimately soldiered home to finish an impressive fifth, and with Rossi only able to climb up to eighth at the checkered flag, Dixon increased his points lead to 29 ahead of the season-ending INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma.

“Huge day for the team,” Dixon added. “This feels like a win for us in these circumstances. Lucky to keep the car going. Then we had a drive-through penalty with speeding on pit lane, which must’ve been a technical glitch because I definitely turned it off after – it was nothing that I did. Crazy, crazy!

Still, Dixon is not putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. He acknowledged that, with double points in play at Sonoma, 29 points is not a big gap, and Rossi is still very much in the thick of it.

“Obviously, going into Sonoma, (29 points) is not huge amount,” Dixon finished. “We’ll have to see how it affected (Will Power) as well. But, just really happy for the team. These guys and girls have worked so hard. I’m just stoked for them.”

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Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”