Scott Dixon wins in wild Nashville comeback to pass Mario Andretti on IndyCar win list

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Scott Dixon passed Mario Andretti for second on IndyCar’s all-time win list with a victory Sunday in the messy Music City Grand Prix that pulled him within reach of a record-tying seventh series championship.

Dixon overcame a poor qualifying effort, damage to his Chip Ganassi Racing car, a crash-fest around the downtown streets of Nashville and finally a drag race against Scott McLaughlin in a two-lap push to the finish. He won for the 53rd time in his career to break a tie with Andretti for second in the all-time column.

More important, Dixon jumped to second in the points standings and trails series leader Will Power by six points with three races remaining. One more title would tie him with A.J. Foyt with a record seven championships.

RESULTS: Where everyone finished in the Music City Grand Prix

Foyt is also IndyCar’s all-time winner with 67 victories.

Dixon fell to last on Lap 29 after being penalized for repairs to his No. 9 Dallara-Honda, which was involved in a Turn 7 pileup.

“Kudos to the team,” Dixon said. “We had a big crash there that took half the floor off the car. We had to take four turns of front wing out, so we had no grip. Nashville is so awesome.”

McLaughlin, for Team Penske, finished second for a 1-2 finish for the drivers from New Zealand.

The 0.1067-second margin of victory was the fourth-closest in IndyCar history on a road or street course.

“He’s a legend, the G.O.A.T.,” said McLaughlin. “I’ve always dreamed of racing him to the finish line. That was a proper duel.”

Alex Palou, the reigning IndyCar champion, finished third as Ganassi put two drivers on the podium.

Palou moved one spot in the standings to fifth as 33 points separate the title contenders. On his way to victory lane, team owner Chip Ganassi stopped to congratulate Palou, the driver he is suing for trying to leave the organization at the end of the season.

Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta both came back from one lap down to finish fourth and fifth for Andretti Autosport, while hometown driver Josef Newgarden was sixth.

Newgarden has had a rough stretch since crashing while leading at Iowa three races ago. He showed as the points leader before the crash, collapsed and hit his head after wrecking, and had to pass a battery of medical tests to be cleared to compete last weekend at Indianapolis.

In Nashville, he scaled back his obligations ahead of the race to be rested and able to race for the win. Although he was the leader late in the race, Newgarden had to pit for fuel and had later contact with Romain Grosjean, who was furious with Newgarden after the collision.

“Welcome to IndyCar. It gets tight. I don’t know what to tell him,” Newgarden said. “Let me tell you what, I about got taken out six times myself.”

Pato O’Ward was the biggest loser of the race, which in its second year was slowed 10 times for 36 of the 80 laps. The start was also delayed 90 minutes for rain and lightning in the area.

O’Ward came to Nashville fifth in the standings but dropped to seventh and likely out of the championship picture with a 24th-place finish. He was drilled from behind by Graham Rahal when O’Ward slowed on the track to avoid running into Power on Lap 26.

“I only have two paddles and an emergency switch. None of it works,” O’Ward said after he was hit. “Thank you, Graham Rahal. We can’t catch a freaking break. This is a joke.”

It was an equally difficult day for defending race winner Marcus Ericsson, who was only nine points behind Power at the start of the race. But like teammate Dixon, Ericsson had a poor qualifying effort and struggled to come through the field from 18th.

He finished 14th and dropped to third in the standings. The Indianapolis 500 winner trails Power by 12 points.

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

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

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

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III