LEEDS, Ala — While a 22 year old beat a 25 year old in Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and a 21 year old won the pole, led the most laps and finished 3rd, if you look behind them, the Wiley old veterans of Will Power and Scott Dixon sat.
Power, brought his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet home in 4th. Dixon, was 1 spot back in 5th in his No. 9 Dallara-Honda. The only reason as to why they weren’t more of a threat to the youngsters?
When you come to Barber Motorsports Park, you think of Dixon, Power, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Takuma Sato. Combined, they had won 5 of the 11 races entering the weekend but also 8 of the 11 poles too.
In fact, they had won the pole in 5 of the last 7 tries here. However, none of them made it out of the first round in qualifying. That may be the most eye opening stat of the weekend and the detriment to keep Power and Dixon off the podium and bringing home new hardware home with them.
Power’s 63 career poles rank 2nd most ever. Castroneves’ 50 is 4th all-time. Dixon has 27 poles which is tied with Al Unser for 10th most in INDYCAR history.
Coming into this weekend, Dixon had never qualified outside of the Fast 6 in any of his 11 Barber starts. He qualified 13th. Power, had 8 front row starting spots here in the same 11 tries. He started 19th.
The thing is, on a track that’s notoriously had to pass on, there both were on the same 2 stop strategy in the top 5.
Power, pit on Lap 30 and at the end of the 1st stint, was in the top 10. He’d pit again on Lap 61 for the alternate tires and use them to pass Dixon for 4th in the closing laps.
It was Power’s 4th top 4 in as many starts of the season and 115th career top 5 result. The last time he even had 4 straight top 10’s to start a season was his championship winning one of 2014. The only others were 2010, 2011 and 2012 and he was 2nd in the final standings in all 3.
Right now, he sits 4th in points, 10 markers back heading to Indy.
For Dixon, he now has 4 straight top 10’s to start 2022 as well including 259 top 10’s and 185 top fives. This is only the 5th time of Dixon’s career that he’s had 4 straight top 10’s to start a year off with. The others were 2006 (4th), 2007 (2nd), 2016 (6th), 2017 (3rd).
However, the thing keeping Dixon out of being more of a championship threat right now is the lack of podiums. He’s 6th in points, 31 markers back of his teammate Alex Palou heading to Indy.
Dixon has just 1 win in his last 26 starts overall dating back to the second Gateway race in 2020. He had six wins in the 20 races prior as this span between wins is the second longest of his career. The other was 39 races between wins at Richmond in 2003 and Watkins Glen in 2005 as well as 36 races between his win in Nazareth during the 2001 season and his next victory in the 2003 season opener in Homestead. In fact, Dixon has just 6 podiums in his last 26 starts compared to 20 in his previous 31.
So, while top 10’s is one thing, the lack of podiums is another.
Also, he’s still winless at Barber (0-for-12). He’s also never won at St. Pete (0-for-18), Iowa (0-for-15), Portland (0-for-5), Laguna Seca (0-for-4) and COTA (0-for-1). He did get to cross off winless tracks in 2020 on the IMS road course as he was 0-for-6 prior to that year and World Wide Technology Raceway with him being 0-for-4 on the St. Louis area oval prior to that season too. Barber, Portland, Laguna Seca and COTA were all canceled in 2020, so he never got a chance to maybe scratch off more.
It’s not like Dixon hasn’t been close at Barber either though. In 12 career starts now, he has 9 podiums. 6 of those 9 podiums were runner-ups.
Meanwhile, Dixon has also won at 11 venues currently not on the schedule too: COTA, Motegi, Houston, Kansas, Edmonton, Homestead, Richmond, Nashville, Kentucky, Watkins Glen, Pikes Peak and Nazareth.