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.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.