Scott Dixon narrowly holds off Felix Rosenqvist to win at Mid-Ohio

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Scott Dixon won the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in exciting fashion Sunday afternoon, narrowly holding off teammate Felix Rosenqvist to take his sixth victory at the famed 13-Turn road course.

Dixon, who was on fading Firestone red tires, saw his margin over Rosenqvist begin to shrink as the laps wound down.

With no team orders in play, both drivers were allowed to fight it out for the victory.

Rosenqvist got around lapped traffic separating himself from Dixon on the final lap, and made an attempt to pass on the final corner, but Dixon narrowly held on by a margin of 0.0934 seconds – the third closest road course finish in series history – to take his second victory of the season.

“That was crazy,” Dixon told NBC Sports following the 46th race victory of his illustrious career. “I feel a little bad about Felix. We put some moves on him for sure there but we were just a sitting duck. I had nothing else I could do, because if I let one by, I was going to let a whole lot by.

“I think we were too aggressive on the second set of reds. We were way too loose on our used set as well, but they held in there. All that counts is that we got the win.”

Rosenqvist might have come up just car length short of his maiden IndyCar victory, but his second-place finish was the best to date for the rookie Swede.

“I thought he [Dixon] gave me the room because he looked really slow on the reds and saving fuel,” Rosenqvist said. “He kinda veered in at the last moment. There was a little bit of a misunderstanding there, we touched a little bit.

“He raced hard and fair for the last couple of corners and [I] almost got it in there at the end, but that was fantastic. It was our first podium with Chip Ganassi Racing”

Ryan Hunter-Reay finished the race in the third position, while polesitter Will Power finished fourth and Alexander Rossi finished fifth.

Series points leader Josef Newgarden finished a disappointing 14th after crashing in Turn 2 on the last lap of the race. Newgarden was battling Hunter-Reay for the final podium spot but was unable to complete the pass, instead making contact with Hunter-Reay’s DHL Honda before spinning into the gravel pit.

As a result, the battle for the Astor Cup remains a four-car race with only four rounds remaining in the 2019 season.

Newgarden saw his lead over Rossi shrink down to 16 points, while Simon Pagenaud sits 47 points back and Dixon remains the last driver with a legitimate chance to contend for the title, 62 points behind Newgarden.

“I forced the issue, probably,” Newgarden said following the accident. “I was trying to get on the podium there and I got inside of him [Hunter-Reay] and started looping around and I lost power.

“It was my fault trying to force the issue there. I wish I could have maintained the engine, that was the big thing. I wish we could have done more at the end. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

The NTT IndyCar Series now heads to Pocono Raceway for the ABC Supply 500 on August 18. Live flag-to-flag coverage begins at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Click here for full race results

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Michelin appoints new North American motorsports director

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Michelin North America has named Tony Ménard as director of motorsports, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Ménard is succeeding Chris Baker, who has held the role for the past eight years. Baker is scheduled to retire in March of 2020, ending a lengthy career that began with Michelin in 1982.

“Chris has played a vital role in the growth and success of our motorsports program, both for BFGoodrich and Michelin in North America,” said Matthieu Bonardel, global director for Michelin Group’s motorsports business entity. “His passion and understanding for motorsport fueled growth in the organization and established credibility in the market. Chris’s leadership propelled the Group, which experienced tremendous success with race wins, and advanced the way the brands leveraged our motorsports participation to benefit the overall business.”

A native of Le Mans, France, Ménard has served in several positions during his 30-year career with Michelin, most recently serving global business leader for Michelin brand in the passenger-vehicle category. Ménard has worked closely with the North American motorsports team since early July in preparation for the transition.

Baker oversaw the development of the motorsports function for Michelin and BFGoodrich Tires brands as a single business unit in North America. He also directed the expansion of Michelin’s involvement in IMSA sports-car racing as the “Official Tire of IMSA” and BFGoodrich Tires partnership with SCORE International Racing as the “Official Tire of SCORE.”

During Baker’s tenure, BFGoodrich achieved an unprecedented 650 off-road class wins, including five overall victories in the Baja 1000. The brand also demonstrated performance in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing, Ultra4 King of Hammers, and provided strong support of grass roots racing across North America with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), National Auto Sport Association (NASA), and Super Production Challenge in Canada.

“I am incredibly grateful to Michelin for the opportunities and support throughout my career, and to all the folks that I have worked with and continue to work with,” Baker said. “I want to thank all the teams, partners, officials and fans who have made our relationships so successful and are essential to the brands’ successes. I look forward to witnessing the continued success of our motorsports programs under Tony’s leadership, as well as the contributions of the Michelin Motorsport North America staff and volunteers, who are completely dedicated and invested in representing our brands in competition.”