Dixon expects rivals to copy "aggressive" undercut strategy in second Road America race

Scott Dixon expects the strategy employed by Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing in the first of this weekend's IndyCar races at Road America will be copied in race two

Dixon expects rivals to copy "aggressive" undercut strategy in second Road America race

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver maintained his unbeaten start to the season despite only qualifying 10th, leading Team Penske's Will Power and rookie Alex Palou.

Power revealed the benefit of the undercut when he stopped on lap 12 to switch from Firestone's softer alternate compound to a set of primary tires, and vaulted from 10th to third.

Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh's Palou did the same, and he too moved forward from ninth to fourth.

Ganassi appeared to learn swiftly from such tactics and pulled Dixon in early at the second round of stops, where polesitter Josef Newgarden dropped out of contention after stalling in the pits.

Five-time series champion Dixon then found himself second to Power, and went on to win after a fumbled pitstop for Power.

Dixon said the benefit of the undercut "unexpected" and admitted to being "shocked" when his team radioed to say his battle with Power was for the race lead.

"I thought they must have the timing and scoring wrong, how did we jump five cars in that one pit stop exchange?" he said.

"The undercut was big today, so it will be interesting to see if a bunch of people jump on that.

"I think there will be a lot more people that are aggressive tomorrow with that strategy and that undercut because everybody can see how it works for them."

Why Ganassi is excelling

Dixon explained that IndyCar teams are still in a process of learning how the aeroscreen-equipped cars' revised weight distribution and centre of gravity impacts on the tires.

He feels Ganassi's squad is responding better than its rivals to the highly compressed schedule of the current race weekends, with the first race starting less than five hours after first practice had ended.

PLUS: How Ganassi's pursuit of perfection is paying off

"We didn't particularly have great speed this morning or even in qualifying, the problem right now is there's no time," said Dixon.

"[We had] 1hr15min practice, where typically we would have a couple of hours in practice and those sessions would be split - you get some downtime, a bit of time to look at data.

"There's no time to process any of that stuff right now, you're definitely flying by the seat of your pants a little bit.

"These doubleheaders for the crew and the team are just brutal."

Graham Rahal had been running second to Newgarden when he suffered refuelling problems at his first pitstop that dropped him back to 11th.

Rahal said he believed he had a car capable of scoring his first win since Detroit 2017, but conceded that Dixon is currently in a different league.

"Dixie is in a world of his own right now," said Rahal.

"All of the bounces are certainly going his way, too.

"And that happens in racing. It happened for us in 2015, and we're working on getting back in that position."

shares
comments
Road America IndyCar: Dixon maintains unbeaten start, pitstop woe for Newgarden

Previous article

Road America IndyCar: Dixon maintains unbeaten start, pitstop woe for Newgarden

Next article

O'Ward grabs shock maiden IndyCar pole for second Road America race

O'Ward grabs shock maiden IndyCar pole for second Road America race
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon
Author David Malsher
Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans? Plus

Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans?

IndyCar's gold standard teams Ganassi and Penske are set for another slugfest beginning this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park. A poor start to the first season with the new aeroscreen left Josef Newgarden with too much ground to make up on Scott Dixon in the title chase, but his strong end to 2020 suggests a battle royale lies ahead...

The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021 Plus

The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021

From rookies arriving with big reputations to veterans who still have the fire and an F1-linked squad pushing to join the big leagues, IndyCar has it all this year. Here are six of the key storylines to keep track of

IndyCar
Apr 15, 2021
The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed Plus

The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed

Often unfairly characterised as a car-breaker, judged for his lack of an Indianapolis 500 win and a disappointing part-season of Formula 1 in 1993, Michael Andretti was highly respected by his rivals and only thwarted greater success by ill-fortune. When it all came together in 1991, he was a truly formidable force

IndyCar
Mar 6, 2021
How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite Plus

How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite

The second year of McLaren's full-time IndyCar return is looming, with Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up. Strong team personnel and work behind the scenes means that 2021 could be the year it joins the established elite

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart Plus

The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart

Flashes of brilliance amid spells of obscurity have been too common for Marco Andretti. While the third-generation racer has opted to bring his full-time IndyCar career to a close, his peaks and troughs have never been for want of trying

IndyCar
Jan 20, 2021
Why American racing's top dog is without equal Plus

Why American racing's top dog is without equal

A byword for success in business and in motorsport for over 50 years, Roger Penske's importance to the US scene cannot be understated. In an exclusive interview, the custodian of the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway reflects on his journey

IndyCar
Jan 11, 2021
The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete Plus

The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indycar game-changer that won its third Indianapolis 500 five years after its debut

IndyCar
Dec 22, 2020
Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough Plus

Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough

Josef Newgarden feels he didn't put a foot wrong in 2020, yet his finest season-long run of performances failed to yield a third series championship. But in a warning shot to Scott Dixon, Team Penske's team leader has vowed to redouble his efforts in 2021

IndyCar
Dec 21, 2020