FORT WORTH, TX — Scott Dixon blew the field away in Saturday’s Race 1 of the twin bill at the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver led 206 of the 212 laps en route to his 51st career NTT IndyCar Series victory. Now, we’re back again on Sunday for the XPEL 375 (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN, INDYCAR Radio Network).
Who wins the 372 mile race?
Trends say to pick Dixon.
On the season, the third place starter (Alex Palou) won the season opener in Barber. The second race was won last weekend by the pole sitter (Colton Herta) on the streets of St. Pete. Dixon, stared third in his win last night on the 1.5-mile track.
3rd, 1st, 3rd…1st?
Dixon, is on the pole Sunday. He led 157 laps in his Texas win last year and 111 more in a runner-up in last years Indy 500.
Plus, Texas has become a track position race. It’s very difficult to pass there, so having a top starting spot is a huge advantage. Mix in the fact that this race will be run under warmer conditions with the sun beating down on the track and you will see drivers and teams needing to make setup changes as the race goes on.
Give me the GOAT in that scenario.
On top of all of this, 11 of the last 12 INDYCAR races have been won from a top three starter. While 10 of the last 12 winners at Texas have come from a starting spot off the front row. Dixon’s win last year and the one last night are the only exceptions since 2011. In fact, he’s the only race winner to have a top five starting spot since 2015 with last year and now this year.
Furthermore, 35 of the last 36 series races saw the eventual race winner come from a top 10 starting spot. Simon Pagenaud (23rd) last July in Iowa is the only exception since the 2018 season finale. Also, 31 of the last 40 races have been won by a driver coming from the Fast 6.
So with Dixon the likely winner, who finishes second?
Team Penske is 0-for-3 this season in terms of race wins, but they’ve had the second driver across the finish line each race. Power finished runner-up in Barber, Josef Newgarden in St. Pete and Scott McLaughlin last night. Does that mean Simon Pagenaud is up?
I’d say so. Pagenaud, was 10th on Saturday and rolls off eighth on Sunday. He has six straight top 10 results at Texas including two runner-ups in the last four years.
Power, is a past Texas winner but he’s not had a top five since his 2017 win. Furthermore, three of his last four Texas finishes have resulted outside of the top 10. Newgarden, has three straight top six Texas finishes and rolls off sixth on Sunday. He’s the only Chevy driver to lead a lap at Texas since 2019. He’s also had seven straight top six finishes on superspeedway’s.
Pato O’Ward has clean air at the start and is coming off of a third place effort last night. He starts fourth on Sunday. Palou, was fourth on Saturday and driving a No. 10 Honda that led the only other laps last night and was a top two car last year too. He starts second.
Graham Rahal is the sleeper to watch. He starts ninth and was fifth last night. He has five top six finishes in his last six Texas starts.
Predicted Top 5 Results
- 9 Dixon
- 22 Pagenaud
- 5 O’Ward
- 2 Newgarden
- 15 Rahal