INDYCAR: Scott Dixon rebounds for Detroit Grand Prix Race 2 victory

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From the lowest of the low to the highest of the high.

One day after crashing and suffering his first DNF in two seasons, defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon rebounded with his first win of the season in today’s Race 2 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle Park.

Dixon was in the lead and cruising along when his rookie teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, spun into the Turn 1 wall with six laps to go. The incident led to a red flag in order to ensure the best shot for the race finishing under green.

And on the day’s last restart with three to go, Dixon quickly dusted the competition. IndyCar’s ‘Iceman’ chalked up his 45th career victory – just seven behind Mario Andretti for second all-time. It was also his third victory at Belle Isle (2012, 2018).

“I can’t thank the crew enough,” Dixon said to NBC Sports. “Rough day yesterday – I had a pretty good headache today and my wrist is pretty sore after [the crash]. I just drove the wheels off it, and they did all the strategy – and the strategy was what nailed it. I can’t believe that we’ve ended up here today and it’s fantastic.”

Marcus Ericsson had nothing for Dixon in the end, but kept Will Power behind him to claim second place and his first career IndyCar podium – a huge result for the Swede after spending the last five years at the back of the Formula One grid.

“It was amazing – my first podium since 2013 [in Formula 2],” said Ericsson, who joined Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports over the off-season. “We’ve had so much bad luck and had mistakes when we’ve been looking really good, so to finally get the result like this and to be on the podium is a great reward for all the hard work. Now, we can build on this.”

As for Power, he overcame a gearbox issue that had him stop on course early in the race.

“I definitely thought we were done,” said Power, who bounced back from an 18th-place result in Saturday’s Race 1. “I couldn’t shift and I tried to reset it, then it stalled. But it was just a great recovery. We went fast when we needed to in that sequence to get a bunch of spots. I haven’t been this satisfied with a race since [winning last year at] Gateway.”

Power’s issue may have come from being involved in a first-lap pileup at Turn 3, which took out Tony Kanaan and forced new Indianapolis 500 champion Simon Pagenaud to the garage for a period of time. During the subsequent caution, Power stopped on the backstretch momentarily before continuing on.

The race resumed at Lap 7 with Dixon, Spencer Pigot, Santino Ferrucci and Graham Rahal running 1st-4th after choosing to stay out on track. But it wasn’t long before Dixon lost several spots with his red ‘alternate’ tires fading away.

Dixon narrowly made it to pit road at Lap 15 before the yellow came out for Pigot, who was trying to come to the pits himself but was hit from behind by Sebastien Bourdais.

The incident ended Pigot’s run, while Bourdais continued on after receiving a new front wing.

Ferrucci and Rahal were up front when the green flew again at Lap 21, and four laps later, Power’s flip from red to black ‘primary’ tires started a cycle of green-flag stops.

The cycle reached a crescendo at Lap 33, when James Hinchcliffe pitted from third and narrowly got back out ahead of current NTT IndyCar Series championship leader Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi. As the trio headed into Turn 3, they all lost control and spun – but Rossi was able to escape, leaving Newgarden and Hinchcliffe tangled in the tire barriers.

With caution out, Ferrucci had to pit, giving the lead to Dixon ahead of the restart at Lap 40. Another green-flag cycle began shortly afterwards, and Dixon made his stop at Lap 46.

When Power pitted at Lap 50, Dixon inherited the lead with Ericsson in second. Power was able to peel third away from Ed Jones before the caution came out again at Lap 55, when Hinchcliffe lost power and came to a halt in Turn 6. As Hinchcliffe gestured for help, Newgarden made his return to the race – the second Team Penske driver to come back after an earlier incident, counting Pagenaud.

On the restart with 11 laps to go, tough racing in the pack led to Takuma Sato having to pit for a flat tire. But up front, Dixon pulled away from Ericsson – until Rosenqvist’s wreck in Turn 1. Beforehand, Rosenqvist had reported damage to his car after making contact with the wall.

Unofficial Results

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The NTT IndyCar Series returns to action Saturday night from Texas Motor Speedway at 8pm ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports App. Both practice sessions (Thursday 8pm ET & Friday 3pm ET) will air exclusively on NBC Sports GOLD. Qualifying airs Friday night at 6:30pm ET on both GOLD and NBCSN.

Follow Chris Estrada at @estradawriting

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

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With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

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PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III