Scott Dixon wins in Toronto, ties Mario Andretti for second on IndyCar win list

1 Comment

Scott Dixon jumped pole-sitter Colton Herta during a pit sequence and held on for the victory Sunday in the Honda Indy Toronto, tying Mario Andretti on the all-time IndyCar win list with his first victory this season.

Dixon pitted a lap earlier than Herta and then cycled into the lead on Lap 32 of 85. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver controlled the second half of the races, winning by 0.8106 seconds for his 52nd career victory to tie Mario Andretti for second on the all-time win list. A.J. Foyt is first with 67 wins.

“It’s amazing to be close to Mario,” Dixon told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns. “Every time I’m asked these questions I’m just so thankful we still have A.J. and him in the pits. We get to see them; we get to talk to them. It’s just fantastic. It’s huge, man. I feel so lucky to be a part of this group.

FULL STATS PACKAGE: Results, points standings after the Honda Indy Toronto

“Hopefully we’re in the title hunt now. I’m hoping this is the start of the roll.”

Herta finished second after fending off a late charge by Felix Rosenqvist.

“Felix was really fast, I was glad to keep him behind us,” Herta told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his second podium of the season (and first since his win on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course two months ago). “We just struggled with tire wear. Other than that, the car was amazing, and obviously got beat by Dixon but one of those races to be proud of, a pole and second, I’m happy with that. Hopefully we can continue with these results more consistently.”

Dixon’s fourth victory at Toronto was his first in the IndyCar Series since May 1, 2021 at Texas Motor Speedway. The six-time series champion extended his record streak to 18 consecutive IndyCar seasons with at least one victory. Dixon, who turns 42 next week, has 20 IndyCar seasons with at least one win.

Graham Rahal finished fourth, and points leader Marcus Ericsson took fifth after battling hard with Ganassi teammate Alex Palou.

“It was tough toward the end on a couple of restarts, I had to be clever, and it’s always risk vs. reward when fighting for a championship,” Ericsson told Welch. “It’s really tough. A very fine line of how aggressive you need to be without being stupid.

“Today was a perfect mesh of driving for me. I was clever when I had to be and aggressive when I had to be. At the end, a couple of guys had a bad restart, I picked up a few positions, and that’s going to be really important when we sum this up at the end of the season. It’s tough to pick your battles, but I think we did that well today.”

Palou finished sixth as the defending series champion rebounded from a crash and mechanical problem Saturday relegating him to the 22nd starting position. That was the capper to a controversial week in which he has been claimed by two teams for next season.

“Super pleased with how we ended the race,” Palou told Burns. “Shame that we had the car to do a little better, but it was a huge day for the team. Super happy. Car was good. We gambled a bit pitting early on the first top, and it kind of worked.”

With IndyCar racing for the first time since 2019 on the Toronto street course, the first half of the race was unusually clean. The yellow flag flew for the first time on Lap 45 as Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi collided in Turn 3 while racing for position. The accident eliminated Rossi from the race.

“It’s a shame; we had a car to be up front,” Rossi said.

Rosenqvist soldiered on for a season-best third place, his first podium finish since his July 12, 2020 victory at Road America. The Swede has signed with McLaren Racing for next season, but CEO Zak Brown has yet to announce whether Rosenqvist will race in IndyCar or Formula E.

“What a fun race,” Rosenqvist told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns. “We had to fight really hard for it. The strategy for the race, you had to overtake on track and do good pit stops. I think we did both of those.

“This weekend hopefully makes Zak doubt some things. Still a long way to go in the year, but every race just keeps getting better and better, and this is the trajectory we want to be on, and I’m excited for the rest of the season.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.