Scott Dixon came into the doubleheader at Mid-Ohio race weekend with a 96 point advantage over Josef Newgarden and 119 points up on third place Pato O’Ward. His advantage remained similar to O’Ward as he’s 117 points up with three races remaining.
But, the one that matters is the gap between Dixon and Newgarden. It’s down to 71 now. Newgarden, gained 20 more points on Saturday and additions on Sunday. Since Newgarden’s win at World Wide Technology Raceway two weeks ago, the gap has shortened 54 points. He made up 29 points following his win in Race 2 that day then 20 points on Saturday and five on Sunday.
That’s why despite there being a 71 point advantage for Dixon over Newgarden now, the title hunt isn’t over with yet. Newgarden warned as much in St. Louis. He said that they gave Dixon three wins already and did so by bad luck. If luck started to turn, watch out.
It’s now started.
Dixon, qualified a bad 17th on Saturday. Newgarden started third. O’Ward and Sato rolled off 15th and 18th respectively too. That’s why Newgarden took another chunk out of the deficit with a runner-up in comparison to Dixon’s 10th place result. O’Ward was 11th with Sato 17th.
On Sunday, Dixon qualified third but made what he said was a rookie mistake when he spun on Lap 22 while running third in terms of the leaders. He fell to 19th as a result. Newgarden, only started ninth, so he had his work cut out for him.
Newgarden would only finish eighth for what he was was just an average day.
“We were just a little too average today,” Newgarden said. “We didn’t really have superior pace, and our starting position didn’t help us out.
“We tried to make some hay in the beginning, and the caution didn’t really work in our favor for what we were planning strategy-wise. We were just kind of stuck where we were all day, to be honest. We just need to work on getting a little more race pace. I think that’s what we were lacking.
“On the car itself, we needed a little better grip and a little more balance. Everything else was solid. I think Team Chevy came with a great engine today. We had what we needed from them, and obviously the support from PPG is always great here at Mid-Ohio, so we just need to work on ourselves a little next time out.”
Dixon, charged back for another 10th place finish in the interim. Dixon’s final stint was why he may win this championship. The gap was below 70 points, but Dixon came from 14th to 10th.
Dixon has won six times at Mid-Ohio and five series championships. None of those happened in the same year together.
Now, it’s to Indy for two races as Dixon won on this track on July 4 and had three runner-up finishes prior. St. Pete wraps it up as they finished 1-2 last year too.
It’s likely down to two drivers now for the title, can Newgarden keep makingup ground? They’ve combined to win the last three championships and likely will push that to four. Will Newgarden get his third in that time frame or will Dixon score his second?