Scott Dixon started Sunday’s IndyCar race at Road America down in the 23rd position, but was able to turn that into a strong result for his Chip Ganassi Racing team.

The veteran started so far back on account of a Saturday morning crash with Will Power in practice.

Dixon took the blame for the incident, and his crew had to scramble to get the car ready for qualifying later in that day. Not everything was set up correctly on the car with the short turnaround, leaving him to start from near the rear of the pack.

There’s a reason Dixon is known as The Iceman, however, and he immediately began gaining positions one by one throughout the entire afternoon.

He worked his way up to fourth position by the checkered flag, and was very nearly able to pick off Pato O’Ward for third as well.

Speaking to NBC after the race, Dixon described all the aspects that went into his recovery drive on Sunday.

“We could have won,” Dixon joked when asked if his day could have gone any better. “Just one spot away from a podium, which would have been nice too. Huge credit to the PNC Bank #9 crew, and Honda as well. It was definitely a day where you needed drivability, trying to look after those Firestones and also fuel mileage.

“[The new track surface] definitely spiced it up. Off line was kind of rough. Even later in the race when you had to make some dives, it would take two or three corners to clean [the tires] up and get going again. But it was also beneficial for myself if somebody went off up front.

“I think they did a great job here. It was nice to have some pretty high grip back in IndyCar. A lot of the circuits we go to now are pretty low grip for us. The tires, surprisingly, went really well. A lot of people were having a bit of a downer on how the reds would be, but they did a hell of a job.

Dixon employed the harder black walled tire for most of the race. Photo: Kevin Dejewski

“It would have helped us a lot if [race control] didn’t wait for that Grosjean crash, they keep doing that, I think would have benefitted us a lot more.

“Congrats to the #10 car. He’s having a hell of a championship right now. Definitely a great lead there going on. Time to get to work and see if we can all start closing that gap. Congratulations to the team.”

Dixon employed a bold tire strategy, which saw him start on the softer red-walled tires. The consensus going in was that they were not the best tire, and the harder tires would be preferred.

His strategy was helped by a first-lap caution, which allowed him to come to the pits after only two laps and change onto the preferred compound. He then stayed on the harder tires for the remained of the 55 laps.

Dixon’s result added another top 10 to his resume, of which he now has seven from eight races on the season. He sits fifth in points and is still looking for his first win of the year.

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