1. Dixon adds to his legacy with another Mid-Ohio win
2. Inside the Box Score: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio
1. Dixon adds to his legacy with another Mid-Ohio win: Unfulfilled expectations had marked the Verizon IndyCar Series season of Scott Dixon until he returned to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, which just seems to suit the three-time series champion.
Even starting 22nd because of a penalty levied for creating a red flag during qualifications on the rain-soaked road course Aug. 3 didn't dampen his outlook for the 90-lap Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. And after a 5.3864-second victory over Sebastien Bourdais on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn circuit, Dixon's entire season perspective was turned around. It was his fifth victory at Mid-Ohio in the past eight years and the sixth in a row for a Chip Ganassi Racing car.
"It's a good feeling. Winning is a good feeling. I think having the year that we've had, you understand why the feeling is so good," said Dixon, speaking of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing program and collectively for the four-car group. "Sometimes you can understand if one of us hasn't won at this point, but all four of us?"
Dixon's last victory was on Oct. 5, 2013, at Houston. He had recorded seven top-five finishes, leading five of the 14 races for 44 laps, but that breakthrough win to extend his streak to 10 consecutive seasons was elusive.
So was the first win of the season for Chip Ganassi Racing, which became the seventh team to enter Victory Circle. Dixon is the 10th different winner.
"I think you never want to get complacent in this series," he added. "It's extremely competitive. Everybody in the Verizon IndyCar Series does a fantastic job. That's why it's so tough to win. For me to get back on the top spot, it means a lot. I knew we had a good car. But at a road course like this, a very tight one, to be able to pass 21 other cars, unless you have strategy go in your favor, it's pretty much impossible.
"It's kind of like when you win Indy for the first time. It's a small bit of that with relief and knowing that we didn't go a year without winning a race and that we can definitely try and close out this championship as strong as possible."
Dixon remains sixth in the championship standings with three races left - mathematically eligible to contend for his fourth series title since 2002, though improbable. But few thought it was possible for him to vault from the 22nd starting spot to win at Mid-Ohio for the fifth time.
"You still set your sights on winning, that's for sure," said Dixon, who is second only to Max Papis' win at Laguna Seca in 2001 from the 25th starting position on the all-time road/street course list. "You know it's going to take a lot. But I think especially with pits closed and cautions it's not that much of a fantasy anymore. I think even if you look at a lot of the street courses this year, the people that ended up winning them, you would have thought no way in hell they would have won it.
"It definitely brings a different dynamic. Last year's championship was all pits open cautions, which made the race fairly straightforward. If you weren't at the front of the field, you were going to really struggle. Mid-Ohio, these road courses, you don't expect cautions. That's the tough part. We knew that we needed one, and we probably needed one in the right place to make a big jump that we needed."
The victory was the 34th of Dixon's career, tying two-time CART champion and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. for sixth on the all-time list. Next is Bobby Unser with 35 victories in 258 starts between 1955 and '81.
Dixon also tied teammate Tony Kanaan for ninth on the career top-five finishes list with 116. The No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car rolled past the finish line after 90 laps (203.22 miles) with a total of 2,594 miles on its Chevrolet engine, surpassing its service life by 94 miles.
2. Inside the Box Score - Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio: Numbers to note from the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, the 15th race of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
2 - Times that Scott Dixon has come from 22nd or worse to win a race. Dixon, who came from 22nd starting spot to win at Mid-Ohio, started 23rd at Nazareth when he won his first Indy car race in 2001.
4 - Points separating Will Power and Helio Castroneves in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings.
5 - Wins for Dixon at Mid-Ohio.
7 - Different teams to win at least one race in 2014.
7.68 - Average running position of winner Scott Dixon during the 90 laps of racing.
10 - Wins by Chip Ganassi Racing at Mid-Ohio...Different race winners in 15 races.
12 - Seasons in which Dixon has won at least one Indy car race.
21 - Laps that Charlie Kimball improved his positions, most of any driver.
33 - Career Indy car pole positions by Sebastien Bourdais, which ties him with Dario Franchitti for seventh all-time.
34 - Career Indy car victories by Scott Dixon, which leads all active drivers and ties him with Al Unser Jr. for sixth all-time.
116 - Career top-five finishes for Dixon, ties him with Tony Kanaan for ninth on the all-time list.
230 - Consecutive starts by Kanaan dating to the 2001 CART race in Portland. Kanaan extended his all-time record.
The next Verizon IndyCar Series event is the ABC Supply Co. Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest on Aug. 17 at The Milwaukee Mile. The race will be televised live at 3 p.m. (ET) by the NBCSN (Local Cable providers, Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640/1640) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network (Local affiliates, XM 209 and Sirius 213), the Verizon INDYCAR 14 App and www.indycar.com.