Watch: Mechanical failure denies Scott Dixon chance of IndyCar win
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Scott Dixon, a driver who looked like a true dark horse to win the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series, has been forced to lick his wounds after a second sequential poor result in a row with just one race to go in the calendar.
Having started from third for the Grand Prix of Portland event, Dixon fought his way to the front by lap 37 on where he remained until a battery issue halfway through the race.
He was eventually classified in 16th place, while series leader Josef Newgarden finished fifth. Victory went to Australian Will Power, with Felix Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi completing the podium. Pole-sitter and series rookie Colton Herta finished fourth, while Spencer Pigot, Simon Pagenaud, Matheus Leist, Sebastien Bourdais, and Charlie Kimball completed the top 10.
“I lifted, downshifted, and everything went blank,” said Dixon following the mechanical failure. “The screen went out. The problem then once you lose power is you can’t use the clutch, you can’t use anything, you can’t shift down. Luckily we were kind of close to pit entry so we could coast in to there.
“The PNC Bank car was super fast, a super easy race for us. It’s a shame to give away a win like that especially in the situation we were in with the championship. It definitely makes it almost impossible now.
“We’ll come back in the next couple of weeks and see what we can do at Monterrey, Laguna Seca, and see if we can get another win before the end of the year.”
Newgarden's fifth-place finish is enough for him to enter the last round of the season with a 41-point buffer over Rossi, with just one extra point separating Rossi and Pagenaud. Dixon, parked on 508 points, is a distant 85 points behind Newgarden.
A lap-one crash punctuated the early running. The multi-car shunt [video below] was triggered by contact on the run to turn one between Graham Rahal and Zach Veach; sending the latter sliding into James Hinchcliffe. Newgarden was also sucked into the wreck, but rebounded as the race progressed to claim his top-five finish.
This was one of several crashes during the race — followed up not long afterwards by a crash at the same corner between Jack Harvey and a late-braking Ryan Hunter-Reay. The former series champ later took full responsibility for the incident.
Dixon's one last championship hope is the final round's points system. The Monterrey event pays double the points, meaning that with 100 points on the table for the victor Dixon is still mathematically in the championship hunt if he wins and Newgarden fails to finish.