Scott Dixon won the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi

04cj6473aScott Dixon takes the twin checkers to win the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen from Watkins Glen International — Photo by: Chris Jones

Starting from pole Car 9 Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, won the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi. 2nd Place Car 21 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, started from 12th place. 3rd Place Car 3 Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, started from 4th place.

04cj8993The podium of Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, and Josef Newgarden pose with the Firestone Firehawk in Victory lane following the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen from Watkins Glen International — Photo by: Chris Jones

4th Place Car 18 Conor Daly, Honda, started from 17th place followed by 5th place Car 11 Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, started from 3rd place. 6th Place Car 83 Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, started from 14th place followed by 7th place Car 22 Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, started from 7th place. 8th Place Car 98 Alexander Rossi, Honda, started from 15th place followed by 9th place Car 19 RC Enerson, Honda, started from 11th place. Lastly in the Top 10 Car 8 Max Chilton, Chevrolet, in 10th place, started from 6th place.

04cj8797aMikhail Aleshin and Juan Pablo Montoya spin off Turn 1 at the start of the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen from Watkins Glen International — Photo by: Chris Jones

The race had 3 Cautions for 9 laps: 1st Caution on lap 15 for Contact: Car 7 Mikhail Aleshin, Honda in Turn 4. 2nd Caution on lap 20 for Contact: Car 15 Graham Rahal, Honda & Car 83 Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet in Turn 1. 3rd Caution on lap 39 for Contact: Car 12 Will Power, Chevrolet & Car 83 Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet on Backstretch.

04cj6247Sebastien Bourdais with a quick spin during the opening lap of the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen from Watkins Glen International — Photo by: Chris Jones

The race had 8 Lead changes among 6 drivers: Lap Leaders: Dixon 1-13, Power 14-15, Dixon 16-30, Montoya 31, Hinchcliffe 32-33, Castroneves 34-35, Dixon 36-40, Munoz 41-43, Dixon 44-60.

mh1720160904_1575Scott Dixon and Will Power lead the field to the green flag to start the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen from Watkins Glen International — Photo by: Mike Harding

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Pagenaud 555, Power 512, Dixon 451, Castroneves 451, Newgarden 446, Kanaan 427, Rahal 403, Munoz 402, Kimball 389, Hinchcliffe 380.

mh1720160904_2627James Hinchcliffe hitches a ride with Sebastien Bourdais at the conclusion of the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen from Watkins Glen International — Photo by: Mike Harding

Dixon’s perfect drive nets 40th career win, fourth at Watkins Glen

41bk11923Scott Dixon and Will Power lead the field into Turn 1 during the start of the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen from Watkins Glen International — Photo by: Bret Kelley

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016) – Scott Dixon capped a perfect weekend with a perfect Sunday drive to win the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi in the Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to Watkins Glen International.

The No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver led 50 of 60 laps to collect his fourth triumph on the 3.37-mile permanent road course steeped in open-wheel racing history. It was also the 40th victory of the 36-year-old’s Indy car career, breaking a tie with legendary Al Unser for fourth on the all-time list.

Dixon, the four-time series champion, nursed his final tank of Sunoco E85R ethanol for 19 laps (64.03 miles) to cross the finish line 16.5308 seconds ahead of Josef Newgarden in the 10th Verizon IndyCar Series race at Watkins Glen and first since 2010. It was also the 102nd Indy car win for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.

“I just love being back here,” said Dixon, who won three straight at the track from 2005-07. “I think we should have a double-points race here and probably race two or three times (a season) at The Glen.

“These are the weekends that you definitely don’t forget, just in the sheer fact of we had such a smooth one. The car was just fantastic and the track, I love. I love coming to upstate New York and this track is one of the old-school great American tracks that we’re lucky enough to come back here and race.”

Despite the outcome, Dixon and five other drivers were eliminated from Verizon IndyCar Series championship contention with only the 2016 season finale – the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 18 that pays double race points – remaining on the schedule. Team Penske teammates Simon Pagenaud and Will Power are the two drivers still eligible, with Pagenaud holding a 43-point advantage.

Pagenaud, in the No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet, finished seventh in today’s race. Power finished 20th after making contact with Charlie Kimball and crashing the No. 12 Verizon Chevy into the Turn 5 barrier. Power was examined by the INDYCAR medical staff and released from the Watkins Glen care center, but has not been cleared to resume driving pending further evaluation of concussion-like symptoms.

“It was a pretty eventful day,” Pagenaud said. “The last caution made it so the guys in front had to save a lot of fuel, and we didn’t save enough at the start of the stint and were very slow. We made it back in seventh and, for the championship, the day was very good. We collected a lot of points and we have a bit of a cushion going into Sonoma. We still have to race hard, but it’s going to be a lot more comfortable.”

Starting from pole position after leading all four practice sessions during the weekend, Dixon – who donated his $40,000 weekend winnings to the Justin Wilson Children’s Fund to support the family of the late Indy car driver – was the class of the 22-car field. He built a lead of more than 14 seconds prior to the last of three full-course cautions for the incident with Power and Kimball on Lap 39.

Dixon made his final pit stop on Lap 41 and took the Lap 42 restart in fourth place behind Carlos Munoz, Takuma Sato and Marco Andretti – each electing not to pit under the caution but forced to do so within the next seven laps.

Once back in front, Dixon managed his fuel while others behind made late stops for a splash or ran out altogether. Newgarden also completed the last 19 laps on one tank in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka/ECR Chevrolet, overtaking James Hinchcliffe, who ran out of ethanol on the last lap, for second place.

“I think we had a great car in the race,” said Newgarden, a podium finisher for the fourth time this season. “Wasn’t as good as Scott’s; I think he was just clearly ahead of everyone this weekend.”

Helio Castroneves finished third in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske, his best performance in seven Watkins Glen races.

Earlier race incidents saw Mikhail Aleshin back into the Turn 4 barrier on Lap 15 and Graham Rahal hit the barrier in Turn 1 on Lap 20 after making contact with Kimball. Neither Aleshin and Rahal nor were injured.

The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend runs from Sept. 16-18. NBCSN will blanket the weekend with live coverage of the second practice session on Sept. 16 (5 p.m. ET), Verizon P1 Award qualifying on Sept. 17 (6 p.m. ET) and the 85-lap race from Sonoma Raceway in Northern California beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET Sept. 18.

“What They’re Saying” from the NDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was really good. The Hitachi Chevy was actually running smooth. But, unfortunately when I saw the numbers, and the way the set-up for our car, I don’t think we’d be able to save fuel. And I told those guys on the radio. Guys, let us think of some other strategy because this is going to be tough to save fuel. I’m glad they were able to pick-up really quick. We bailed out right away and were able to push as hard as we could and open up enough of a gap so in the end, I guess the No. 5 and the No. 18 ended-up running out of fuel, so it was a great strategy with Roger (Penske) and the Hitachi car. Now let’s keep going. I know the championship might be over, but it’s not over for Team Penske. So, now we need to focus and go win Sonoma.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It was a frustrating end to a frustrating weekend. I was meeting fuel numbers during the last stint and I could easily have saved more at the end, but I lost the radio on the last lap. I was just cruising because I didn’t know if I needed to save more or not. Either way, I have to give credit to the No. 5 Arrow Electronics crew because the pit stops were on point today and they did what they needed to do. The car had the speed all weekend and hopefully we’ll be able to carry that over to Sonoma.”

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda): “This was a great weekend to start and not so great to finish. I hope that we got all of the bad luck out of the way here and we can have a strong finish to the season in Sonoma. The No. 7 SMP Racing car was fantastic in the first stint. I had the second best time in the race, which shows the potential we have for Sonoma.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was a day that could have been fantastic but ended up slightly disappointing after running P2. I got damage on Lap 1, Turn 1, with the steering and then for the rest of the race my pace was pretty decent considering I was held back by the issue.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “These are the weekends you definitely don’t forget. Just in the shear fact that we had such a smooth one, which made it hard also going into the race. We’d been fast in practice, fast in qualifying, and then obviously got the pole. You just think of the problems and maybe the strategy not going your way or having a mechanical that takes you out of it. All of it is what the team does. Huge credit to everybody at Team Target and the whole of the Ganassi organization. From the people back the workshop to the guys that are here on the weekend to make this opportunity possible. The car was just fantastic and the track I love. I love coming to upstate New York. This track is one of the old school great American tracks that we are lucky enough to come back here and race. A huge thanks to the Verizon IndyCar Series and everyone at The Glen for working this out in a very short timeframe and the fans responded. It was great to see so many people here with not even having this on the schedule really earlier. I just love being back here and I think we should have a double points race here and probably race two or three times more (a year) at The Glen.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet): “We had such a fast car with the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet – I think we actually had the fastest lap of the race. It’s just a shame that we had the issue we did and lost a few laps getting it fixed in the pits because we definitely had a chance to get on the podium today. I’m really happy for Scott (Dixon) though – he really deserved this win, especially with how much he dominated here all weekend.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “Overall I am pretty happy. The Hydroxycut/DPS Nutrition – KVSH Racing Team was competitive all weekend. It was a tough race and we knew push-to-pass was going to be really important. I didn’t want to use it at the start. That was a mistake because everyone else did and I got swallowed up and got hit. After that it was always going to be a tough race trying to come from the very back. I got a lucky break with the first yellow and then as usual we were really good on fuel, so I wasn’t worried about that. I was getting big vibrations and blisters on the rear tires. The last two or three laps I was really worried. I am just glad it stuck and thanks to our sponsors Hydroxycut, DPS Nutrition and Chevy. I am just really happy for the whole KVSH Racing organization. We had the pace, passed a couple of cars and to finish in the top-five is very satisfying and a heck of an achievement.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “Quite an eventful and exciting race. The yellows made us decide on a good strategy. At one stage it was a mixed strategy but the team made a good call on the last one. We had a couple good battles, and in the end, we were able to charge when everyone else had to save fuel. We attacked our way through the field. With two laps to go, I tried to set up (Simon) Pagenaud and I approached the turn wider than usual to make a good exit but I got in the marbles and lost grip in Turn 7. I lost it and screwed up-I have no words for that. I feel really sorry for the sponsors and the mechanics. It could have been a strong result but I couldn’t put it together.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “I had a great run on (Charlie) Kimball, I got inside, completed the pass and he decided not to give me any room on the exit. That was a hard hit, probably the hardest I’ve taken in my life, ovals included. It’s a shame. We were looking really good before that yellow (Mikhail Aleshin). My United Rentals car was phenomenal. We were able to move up and pass more cars than I thought we could, save a lot of overtakes and our tires were better than everybody else. We were just taking our time and saving a ton of fuel looking to go longer on that stint than anybody. But then the caution came out which was a little unlucky but I thought we could bounce back from it. Unfortunately, we got back there with Kimball. I have to take blame too because I put myself in that position. I should know better than to race him like that. It’s disappointing and I’m a little ticked off. I disagreed heavily with the penalty yesterday that put us back there in the first place. And when you take an impact like that the guys are going to have a heck of a lot of work to get this fixed for the Sonoma test on Thursday. I don’t know if this car is even repairable, the tub was bad. It’s a great crowd at Watkins Glen. We can’t thank everybody enough. With our Turns for Troops program with United Rentals, $50 for every lap completed goes to Soldier Strong and we were tied for the most laps completed until today. This put a dent in that total.”

CONOR DALY (No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda): “I really just can’t believe that we ended up fourth. It was a back-and-forth race with all kinds of stuff going on. But our car was fast, we knew it all weekend. We just had horrible luck. At the end they said we were making the right fuel number and I was making up positions and then I was told we could go a little bit quicker, so one lap we used a bit more fuel and then they came on the radio and said ‘code red’. If we would’ve saved a little bit more on that one lap, we maybe could have held off Helio. I had no idea where we were, third or fourth or fifth, but at the end of the day, I’ll take fourth.”

RC ENERSON (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “It’s pretty crazy. We had one killer start. We went from 11th to seventh just with people spinning off. I was on the push-to-pass, made a pass into the bus stop a little sideways and then held sixth for a long time. We then got caught out by the yellow, which for me was a big confidence destroyer. We were sitting at the back, the last running car. The team made the right call on the pit stop and we were just trying to hit the fuel number to make it to the end. It was pretty exciting. I think saving fuel is more of a mental thing. You have to keep reminding yourself to lift before a corner and then you catch yourself and realize you should’ve saved fuel in that last corner. It was tough but we were able to fly up the field there at the end.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “The race was going pretty well. We were battling inside the Top 10 for the majority of the race, especially through the middle stints. We were looking good to get a Top 10 finish but after we had to start saving fuel we fell back. It was a bit of a shame we had to start saving so much. We couldn’t keep the pace up and save fuel, so we fell back to 15th. It was a lot of fun, I had some great battles out there. The car was really good and the guys gave me excellent pit stops. It was great to have Samsung come on board this weekend and also thanks to Fuzzy’s Vodka, Rising Star Racing, Mockett and everyone else that makes this happen.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka/ECR Chevrolet): “Well, there’s a little discrepancy there with the timing stand and the driver. They give you a number to hit for fuel, and if you beat it a couple of laps in a row, you think ‘OK they’re going to raise the number and give me more fuel.’ And they weren’t giving me more fuel. So, I was screaming at them. I was like, ‘Guys, I’m hitting this number, you give me more fuel now!’ They finally gave it to me in the end. We were kind of in a different race compared to (Scott) Dixon. The right guy won it this weekend. There was really no stopping this guy. Congratulations to him and all of Chip Ganassi Racing. For us, I think we can’t be too displeased with second place. It’s been a tough weekend. It’s not been our smoothest. I think we came back really strong. We had a phenomenal race with great pit stops and we got on the podium. So, it’s a pretty good day. Hopefully we can go to Sonoma now and get even better results to finish off the year right.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet): “It was a pretty eventful day. The last caution made it so the guys in front had to save a lot of fuel, and we didn’t save enough at the start of the stint and was very slow. We made it back in seventh and for the championship the day was very good. We collected a lot of points and we have a bit of a cushion going into Sonoma. We still have to race hard, but it’s going to be a lot more comfortable.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 hhgregg Honda): “I don’t know, it was kind of a weird race, really. We were a little bit lucky on the yellow in the beginning and then we just didn’t have enough speed. I think compared to where we were in qualifying we improved, but it wasn’t enough. I think the hhgregg team worked really hard over the weekend. We tried hundreds of different things but we never got it exactly right. But I can’t say thanks enough to the guys for working really, really hard this weekend, it’s too bad we just didn’t get it right.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 United Fiber & Data/Snapple Honda): “That’s as good as we were going to get for the UFD / Snapple car today. It was fun running up with the leaders for a bit, but we knew it was short lived due to the strategy we were on. We need to pick up mechanical grip. I’m sawing at the wheel when guys are just going straight and putting the power down. It’s just frustrating. We don’t seem to have the grip anyone else does.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “Not the position we wanted to see the DHL Honda in to end our weekend at Watkins Glen. We really enjoyed being back at The Glen and are looking forward to being back in 2017. Our strategy was just off all day. We ended up saving fuel when in the end it would have been faster to have just taken a pit stop. On to Sonoma where we can hopefully end the season on a better note.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “The car was really good and I was very happy with the car the whole race especially with the black. I wish I could have done Takuma (Sato)’s strategy and pushed. That would have been a lot of fun. The guys did a nice job with the car – it was fast all weekend. I made a mistake on the second lap and lost a couple positions and then we had some issues with the stops. A shame about the result, nothing really worked out.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet): “I didn’t think we had a lot of contact with Graham (Rahal) – I felt like I gave him plenty of room around the inside. I was focused on the exit because the big passing opportunity especially with a restart like that was up the hill into the Bus Stop. The No. 83 Chevrolet was so fast and the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing guys were so fast in the pit lane. That last stint we were focusing on the fuel mileage number. We came up the hill and everyone else that I passed I got to the left, and everyone stayed right to block, and Will – it’s like he had no idea I was there. He just kept following I think the 26 car over, and ran me onto the grass, and when I bounced off the grass I bounced into him. I was sorry to have gotten into him, but frankly if he would have known I was there, I know he wouldn’t have run me off the road. It was a crazy race for us for sure. If you would’ve told me after we had to stop at the end for a splash of fuel that I’d end up in the top six I’m not sure I would’ve believed you. I’m really happy with the result for the No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet and even happier for (Scott) Dixon for grabbing the win today.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda): “I think it was a decent race. We had to save a lot of fuel there at the end, so I think a potential top five slipped through our hands because of that. But generally I think with a disappointing qualifying, that is the best that we could come up with. We’ll have to take this result and move on to Sonoma.”

INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi Sept. 4, 2016 race results

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Results Sunday of the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 3.37-mile Watkins Glen International, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, car, driver, aero-kit engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Car 9 Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 60, Running
2. (12) Car 21 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 60, Running
3. (4) Car 3 Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 60, Running
4. (17) Car 18 Conor Daly, Honda, 60, Running
5. (3) Car 11 Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 60, Running
6. (14) Car 83 Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 60, Running
7. (7) Car 22 Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 60, Running
8. (15) Car 98 Alexander Rossi, Honda, 60, Running
9. (11) Car 19 RC Enerson, Honda, 60, Running
10. (6) Car 8 Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 60, Running
11. (16) Car 26 Carlos Munoz, Honda, 60, Running
12. (18) Car 27 Marco Andretti, Honda, 60, Running
13. (8) Car 2 Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 60, Running
14. (19) Car 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 60, Running
15. (21) Car 20 Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 60, Running
16. (9) Car 41 Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 60, Running
17. (22) Car 14 Takuma Sato, Honda, 60, Running
18. (13) Car 5 James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 59, Running
19. (5) Car 10 Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 59, Running
20. (2) Car 12 Will Power, Chevrolet, 38, Contact
21. (20) Car 15 Graham Rahal, Honda, 19, Contact
22. (10) Car 7 Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 14, Contact

Race Statistics:
Winner’s average speed: 119.334
Time of Race: 1:41:39.8592
Margin of victory: 16.5308 seconds
Fastest Lap: 144.526 mph (83.9436 seconds) on Lap 46 by 10 – Tony Kanaan
Fastest Leader Lap: 143.535 mph (84.5229 seconds) on Lap 28 by 9 – Scott Dixon
Verizon P1 Award: Scott Dixon (01:22.5259, 147.008 mph)
Legend: R = Sunoco Rookie of the Year Candidate; All Cars use fourth-generation Verizon IndyCar Series Chassis (IR-12) with Chevrolet or Honda aerodynamic bodywork and Firestone tires
Cautions: 3 for 9 laps
Lead changes: 8 among six drivers

Next Race: Sep 16-18 The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Graphics & Photos Courtesy of Indycar

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