Vintage Rossi and Dixon on Sunday in Belle Isle, why each could have a win coming soon too

BELLE ISLE, Mich — It’s no secret, Alexander Rossi and Scott Dixon had to come to Belle Isle frustrated. Rossi was riding a 43 race winless streak and knew for almost a year now that he was going to move onto a different team. If anything could go wrong in this 2 year drought, it did.

Same for Dixon. He hasn’t won a race in over a year (19 race winless drought) and had just 1 victory in his last 28 tries. In that 28 race span are just 6 podiums too.

Both ended up on the podium on Sunday and looked like the drivers of the past for them.

Rossi pit on Lap 4 and basically ran qualifying laps for 70 Laps. He was going all out and he came up just 1.0027-seconds for earning his first win since June 2019 at Road America. For a driver that led 0 laps all day, it sure felt like a win on Sunday for him.

Dixon did what Dixon does best in saving fuel. He and Alex Palou went the longest on the 1st stint than anyone else in going to Lap 26 before their first pit stop.

The qualifying laps and saving laps put both on alternate strategies but ones that nearly paid off. It was only that Will Power going blacks-blacks on his 1st two stints and Dixon going blacks-reds to what allowed Power to beat him.

Alexander Rossi may be riding a 44 race skid but that appears to be coming to an end soon. Photo Credit: INDYCAR Media Site

Rossi’s qualifying laps put him ahead of Dixon too but Dixon settled in to score his 128th career podium and 186th top five. It was also just his 2nd top five in his last 5 Belle Isle starts but 9th top 10 in the last 10 here.

“Obviously with the three-stop we knew it was just basically a qualifying run for 70 laps type of thing,” Rossi said.

“The team did an amazing job and the NAPA AutoNation Honda was fantastic. We thought we had a car to be in the front yesterday, and circumstances prevented that. It’s good to get the car where it should have been and have a shot there at the end.

“Obviously Will did a fantastic job on a tire that has a lot of falloff at the end. We did our best to kind of manage the pace and go for it at the end, but we were probably a lap short.

“Still all in all a good result for the team.”

For Rossi, this was what we’ve been waiting to see. This is the Rossi that we grew accustomed to seeing between 2017 and 2019. This is what happens when things don’t go against him. Now he heads to a track to where his last win came on.

“Two weeks in a row where we’ve had very good races and overall a good weekend,” Rossi says. “That’s the result of a lot of work from the whole organization.

“I think the 27 car in particular has some good momentum going right now into one of our best tracks frankly at Road America. We feel good about the position we’re in. We’ll just have to go out and continue that here in five or six days.”

Rossi has 2 podiums in his last 4 Road America tries. Then it’s to Mid-Ohio to where he has 6 straight top 6 results including 3 podiums in his last 5 tries. After that we go to Toronto to where he has 2 podiums in his last 3 efforts there too.

He’s steadily improved in poitns too going from 27th to 18th to 13th to 15th to 11th and now to 7th.

Dixon has 5 top 5’s in his last 6 at Road America, 6 wins at Mid-Ohio and 3 wins at Toronto including 2 straight top 2’s there.

“Yeah, last week didn’t go as planned. You just got to keep looking forward,” said Dixon.

“Honestly, I think we had great pace all weekend. These sessions are crazy. Going into qualifying I think I did two consecutive laps at speed. Definitely a wild weekend. Not a race that I thought would have gone green-checkered either. We couldn’t even do five minutes in a row in practice without a red flag.

“It’s good for myself. It’s great for the team. Hopefully we can keep it rolling.”

I think Rossi and Dixon can each get a win in this next 4 race stretch.

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