Despite the miserable season for Chip Ganassi’s team, Dixon was at a track where he has dominated. It was the team’s first win of the season, but The Iceman has now won five of the last eight races here. There was a little bit of luck that helped Scott get to the front, but he did a phenomenal job of saving fuel and managing his tires. This is the tenth win for Ganassi at Mid-Ohio, and they have now won the last six races here. Sebastien Bourdais started on the pole and finished second, and James Hinchcliffe grabbed his first podium of the season.
It was a terrible day for championship leader Helio Castroneves. The Brazilian was set to start the race in 15th position, when his throttle stuck before the green flag waved. The crew eventually got the problem sorted out, but Helio was four laps down when he finally hit the track. Fortunately for him, Ryan Hunter-Reay had some problems of his own. He had a pit road speeding violation, then later spun on the course and went a lap down.
Will Power was able to capitalize on the miscues for Helio and Hunter-Reay. They finished in tenth and 19th respectively. Power drove a clean race and finished in sixth. He entered the day trailing Castroneves by 13 points in the championship. Power now leads his teammate by 4 points heading into the final three races of the season. Hunter-Reay is in third, 63 points behind Power, and Simon Pagenaud remains in fourth, just one point behind Hunter-Reay.
The race got off to a messy start, as Josef Newgarden and Tony Kanaan made contact on the first lap. Kanaan spun, Marco Andretti had nowhere to go, and the two saw their day end very early. Hinchcliffe moved from 17th to fourth during it all. Carlos Munoz had a nice day, finishing in fourth, and hometown driver Graham Rahal rounded out the top five. This was the 34th career win for Dixon, which ties him for sixth all-time, with Al Unser Jr.
The heart breaker moment of the race came on Josef Newgarden’s final pit stop. The talented young driver was leading the race when the incident occurred. Coming into his pit box, he ran over the hose to the air gun, causing the crew member to fall down. It was an extremely slow pit stop, which essentially cost him the race. He finished in 12th position. It was another punch in the gut for the Sarah Fisher Hartman team, who simply cannot catch a break this year.
Teams and drivers will have one final week off before the last three weeks of the season conclude. The next race on the 2014 schedule is the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250, at Milwaukee on August 17th. Qualifying starts at 6 PM ET on Saturday, with the race broadcast set for 3 PM on Sunday, on NBC Sports Network. Ryan Hunter-Reay has won the last two races at Milwaukee. The finish to this season will be a whirlwind, with the last three races all taking place within 20 days. The championship battle is far from over, with the title not being decided until the final race in each of the last eight seasons. The last race this year at Fontana will award double points, which makes it even more unpredictable.