IndyCar: Scott Dixon’s Mid-Ohio flop actually bodes very well for him

Scott Dixon’s race weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was a weekend to forget, but looking at his IndyCar career, it actually bodes well for him.

Leave it to Scott Dixon to have a trend point in a positive direction after a disastrous IndyCar race weekend.

The driver of the #9 Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing entered the Honda Indy 200 race weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a lead in the championship standings great enough that he could have sealed his sixth career IndyCar title once it concluded despite the fact that there are still three races remaining on the 14-race schedule.

Additionally, the 40-year-old New Zealander was the reigning winner at the track, and he had won there six times in 15 tries with just two finishes outside of the top nine.

Everything was lined up for a dominant weekend for Dixon. Then he turned in his worst race weekend in quite some time.

He qualified in an abysmal 17th place for the first race around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile (3.634-kilometer) road course in Lexington, Ohio, and he was only able to rally to finish in 10th.

He qualified in a much better third place for the second race, but an early and uncharacteristic spin coming out of turn one dropped him all the way to the back of the pack. He rallied to finish in 10th.

For the average driver, a weekend in which said driver secures two top 10 finishes is obviously far from a flop.

But Dixon had entered this race with a whopping 96-point lead in the standings over Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden and with just one finish outside of the top five through nine races this year. That lone finish outside of the top five came at Road America back in July during a doubleheader weekend, and he won the other race of that doubleheader.

However, this “flop” actually bodes quite well for him for two reasons.

First of all, Newgarden would have needed to close the gap by an average of at least 19.2 points per race (depending on the wins tiebreaker, which Dixon currently leads four to two) over the course of the season’s final five races to challenge Dixon for the title.

Even though Dixon struggled, Newgarden couldn’t do that this weekend. He did claw 24 points closer, but that was over the course of two races.

Over the course of the final three events, he must average at least 24.0 points per race (again, depending on the wins tiebreaker) more than Dixon in order to challenge him since there are no double points on offer in the season finale on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

In no individual race this year has Newgarden even managed to outscore Dixon by 24 points, much less carried that average over a span of multiple events.

Secondly, as many times as the five-time champion has won at Mid-Ohio, he has somehow never managed to win at Mid-Ohio and win a championship in the same season.

He competed at Mid-Ohio in the 2001 and 2002 CART seasons and has done so ever since the 2007 IndyCar season.

Here’s a quick rundown.

  • 2001 – neither
  • 2002 – neither
  • 2003 – IndyCar champion
  • 2007 – Mid-Ohio winner
  • 2008 – IndyCar champion
  • 2009 – Mid-Ohio winner
  • 2010 – neither
  • 2011 – Mid-Ohio winner
  • 2012 – Mid-Ohio winner
  • 2013 – IndyCar champion
  • 2014 – Mid-Ohio winner
  • 2015 – IndyCar champion
  • 2016 – neither
  • 2017 – neither
  • 2018 – IndyCar champion
  • 2019 – Mid-Ohio winner
  • 2020 – *two Mid-Ohio non-wins; can become six-time IndyCar champion*
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Look for that trend to continue with three races remaining on the 2020 IndyCar schedule, including the two races of the IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on Friday, October 2 and Saturday, October 3 as well as the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, October 25.