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Sport Dixon breaks through at Indianapolis with victory in GP

00:27  05 july  2020
00:27  05 july  2020 Source:   ap.org

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a man jumping in the air: Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, celebrates with the trophy after winning the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) © APWF Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, celebrates with the trophy after winning the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) It took Scott Dixon 12 years to make a second trip to victory lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

He's already plotting a third trip next month.

The 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner ended what had been a frustrating quest for a second win at the Brickyard, beating Graham Rahal to the checkered flag by 19.9469 seconds Saturday and claiming his first IndyCar Grand Prix title.

''It's really nice to get another win at Indianapolis even though it's not the big one,'' Dixon said. ''It is significant, man, to win at this place. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck and sometimes you need a clean race like we had today.''

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The atmosphere at Indy was subdued.

Dixon donned a face mask as he raised his arms and pumped his fist inside the recently redone winner's circle. The stands were empty and the usual celebratory noise was almost nonexistent.

a large long train on a steel track: Race driver Dalton Kellett, of Canada, drives down the main straight in front of empty stands during the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. No fans where allowed due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) © APWF Race driver Dalton Kellett, of Canada, drives down the main straight in front of empty stands during the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. No fans where allowed due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

But after three consecutive runner-up finishes in this race and a resume full of near-misses and bad luck on Indy's 2.5-mile oval, Dixon was going to have some fun, and he appeared to savor one of the rare spoils of victory - giving the starting command for NASCAR's inaugural Xfinity Series race on the road course.

Dixon breaks through at Indianapolis with victory in GP

  Dixon breaks through at Indianapolis with victory in GP INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Scott Dixon finally made his second trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway's victory lane.Twelve years after winning his only Indianapolis 500 on the Brickyard's historic 2.5-mile oval, the five-time series champion added a second title Saturday - this one by a dominant 19.9469 seconds over Graham Rahal in the IndyCar Grand Prix.

Dixon couldn't have scripted a better strategy for the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course, either.

The New Zealander opted to start on the slower black tires and maneuvered his way through the field after starting seventh. Then, just a few laps after pitting to put on the reds, Dixon got the break he needed when rookie Oliver Askew crashed into the outside wall as he tried to enter the front straightaway.

a person riding a motorcycle down the road: The car driven by race driver Oliver Askew is removed from the track after making contact with the wall during the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) © APWF The car driven by race driver Oliver Askew is removed from the track after making contact with the wall during the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Dixon knew immediately he was in charge.

''We were in the right situation to go hard. It was a bit of a no-brainer,'' he said. ''Some of those guys were just sitting ducks with the tires they were on.''

Dixon controlled most of the second half of the 80-lap race, helped in part when pole-winner Will Power stalled in the pits.

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a motorcycle is parked on the side of a road: Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, drives through a turn during the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) © APWF Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, drives through a turn during the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

And when he made a clean pass of Rahal, whose team-owning father, Bobby, won the Indy 500 in 1986, it was only a matter of time before Dixon chalked up his 48th career IndyCar win. Only A.J. Foyt (67) and Mario Andretti (52) have more.

''Dixey just had tremendous pace in the middle of the race,'' Graham Rahal said.

He was so fast in the clean air, nobody could get close.

Dixon's victory broke up Team Penske's monopoly on winning this race - the first at the track since Roger Penske bought it from the Hulman family in November.

a airplane that is driving down the road: Race driver Colton Herta drives through a turn during the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) © APWF Race driver Colton Herta drives through a turn during the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Power, of Australia, and Simon Pagenaud, of France, split the previous six races on the road course - the last five as teammates for the series powerhouse. Pagenaud finished third Saturday after qualifying 20th.

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Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, takes the checkered flag as he crosses the start/finish line to win the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) © APWF Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, takes the checkered flag as he crosses the start/finish line to win the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

''We weren't totally happy when we started the race, but we made up a lot of ground in pit sequence and gained a lot of ground that way,'' Pagenaud said. ''The yellow helped us a bit because we pitted five laps before.''

a group of people riding on the back of a motorcycle: Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, jumps off his car after winning the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) © APWF Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, jumps off his car after winning the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Still, he couldn't catch Dixon, who has opened the season with back-to-back wins for the first time in his 20-year career, both in dominant fashion. He won last month at Texas.

Saturday's race ended a one-month hiatus for the series and kicked off a busy schedule that features four races over the next two weekends. It was also the opener of an unprecedented IndyCar-NASCAR weekend that includes Sunday's Brickyard 400.

a group of baseball players playing a football game: Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, hugs car owner Chip Ganassi after winning the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) © APWF Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, hugs car owner Chip Ganassi after winning the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, celebrates after winning the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) © APWF Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, celebrates after winning the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The last two GP winners also won the 500.

''I'm pretty aware of those stats,'' Dixon said. ''And, yes, it's been a long time since 2008. It's definitely eluded us and we'll try to get another one next month.''

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a group of people on a bridge: Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, drives down the main straight in front of empty stands during the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. No fans where allowed due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) © APWF Race driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, drives down the main straight in front of empty stands during the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. No fans where allowed due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) a man that is standing in the grass: Mark Kellett, father of race driver Dalton Kellett, of Canada, watches the race in front of a video screen during the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. The race was run without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) © APWF Mark Kellett, father of race driver Dalton Kellett, of Canada, watches the race in front of a video screen during the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, July 4, 2020. The race was run without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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BROWNSBURG, Ind. (AP) — Two-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan heard the stories throughout the pandemic-forced shutdown. Furloughed crew members sought out odd jobs to pay bills. Some of his teammates started driving cement trucks. And Hagan thought about how his father, a car dealership owner, continued paying employees despite losing millions during the recession that hit in 2008. Eventually, Hagan concluded, the world's premierFurloughed crew members sought out odd jobs to pay bills. Some of his teammates started driving cement trucks. And Hagan thought about how his father, a car dealership owner, continued paying employees despite losing millions during the recession that hit in 2008.

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