Honda Indy Toronto takeaways: Determined Dixon ends drought for historic 52nd victory

The three-year wait for the return of the Honda Indy Toronto was certainly worth it.

Scott Dixon cruised to the polychrome flag on Sunday to requirement his 52nd IndyCar race victory and fourth at the Exhibition Place street course.

The Chip Ganassi Racing suburbanite moved into a tie with the legendary Mario Andretti for second on the all-time wins list.

Pole sitter Colton Herta of Andretti Autosport settled for second with Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist completing the podium in third.

Here’s what you need to know from Sunday’s race.

Determined Dixon ends drought to score historic win

A 22-race drought must have felt like an eternity for someone so yawner to winning with Dixon last driving into victory lane at Texas in May 2021.

Dixon just missed out on pole position qualifying .0894 of a second overdue Herta. Starting on the front row in Toronto still kept the New Zealander in quite a favourable spot as he won from that same position in 2018.

The six-time series champion known as the “Iceman” crush like a man on a mission to remoter stake his requirement in the record books.

The hair-trigger pass came early as Dixon completed an undercut and made his first pit stop a lap superiority of Herta. As Herta exited the pits on unprepossessed tires pursuit his stint, Dixon breezed by. Although it wasn’t for the lead, Dixon found himself in front once everyone superiority of him cycled in for their stops.

Dixon never relinquished tenancy from there — plane with spare circumspection periods bunching up the field — leading 40 of the 85 laps virtually Exhibition Place.

Yet flipside milestone was reached as Dixon has now made it a record-extending 18 subsequent seasons with at least one victory.

Dixon, who turns 42 on Friday, moreover now sits overdue flipside Andretti, Mario’s son Michael, for second-most wins in Toronto. He still has a ways to go to reservation the younger Andretti, who was victorious seven times on the street circuit.

Dixon remained idle in the standings in sixth place, if Sunday is any indication, he has a serious shot of transmissible seven-time series champion A.J. Foyt for first in that category.

All class, Andretti was quick to praise Dixon pursuit the race.

Herta holds steady for P2

Although Herta was tamed to the finish line by Dixon, he was moreover worldly-wise to hang on and hold off Rosenqvist for second place.

Herta was told to save fuel during the late stages of the race unless he was worldly-wise to pounce and pass Dixon — an opportunity which never came. That left him vulnerable to Rosenqvist, who had Herta in the sights but couldn’t tropical the half-a-second gap in time.

Street races have brought out the weightier in Herta with wins at St. Petersburg and Long Beach, and the 23-year-old is looking like a superstar in the making. Just whether it will be in IndyCar or Formula One is the question as Herta completed a successful test momentum with McLaren this past week.

Did Rosenqvist stave penalty? Your mileage may vary

The Honda Indy Toronto can be upturned and the cauldron was brewing at the midway mark when Rosenqvist and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi were playing bumper cars near the notorious Turn 3.

The potential future teammates tapped tires with Rosenqvist sending Rossi into the tire windbreak and out of the race. No penalty was issued for avoidable contact and as Rossi watched the remainder of the race from the paddock, Rosenqvist stepped on the podium holding a crystal trophy.

One might scream where is the justice, but let’s not moreover forget this is the second subsequent race where Rossi has tangled with flipside suburbanite as he was involved in a spicy situation with current teammate Romain Grosjean just two weeks ago in Mid-Ohio.

IndyCar may have set dangerous precedence heading into the final stretch of the season by brushing this one aside. Was it avoidable contact? You be the judge and see below.

It was moreover an worrisome moment as Rossi will join McLaren next season. Rosenqvist has re-signed — although whether it’s with their IndyCar team or their new Formula E outfit is TBD. For now, Rosenqvist is just looking to prove IndyCar is where he belongs.

Palou’s gamble pays off

Who says you can’t pass in Toronto? Gridlock is a problem for drivers on Lake Shore Boulevard any other day of the week and the Honda Indy Toronto is no exception as it’s a tricky track to make up ground.

Not so for reigning series champion Alex Palou, who wrecked in practice and started 22nd due to engine problems during qualifying but somehow finished sixth in the race.

Palou has been the talk of the paddock without Chip Ganassi Racing said last week they were retaining his services for next season only for Arrow McLaren SP to issue a printing release saying they had signed him.

The 25-year-old Spaniard won’t say who he’ll be racing for next year and is letting his driving do the talking.

Palou went off schedule and pitted older than everyone else. It was a gamble financial on a yellow flag to put him superiority of the field when it was time for them to pit — although not a huge gamble as in Toronto you can practically set your watch to when there will be a caution. Suffice it to say, it paid off.

Meanwhile, Palou and Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Marcus Ericsson kept it wipe to finish fifth and maintain his spot at the top of the championship leaderboard.

Woe, Canada

Toronto’s Devlin DeFrancesco and Dalton Kellett of Stouffville, Ont., were both making their homecoming debuts as the pandemic kept the lone Canadian stage off the schedule during the previous two seasons.

Kellett, who had raced in Toronto on his way up the ladder in the feeder series, had a weekend to forget, however. His A.J. Foyt Enterprise car was plagued with gremlins as a fuel issue ended his qualifying bid early and smoke emerged from the when during the race that forced him to retire.

DeFrancesco, who drives for Andretti Autosport, had a bit of a dustup at the whence of the race with teammate Grosjean (but then who hasn’t at this point) and couldn’t quite capitalize on his career-best start of 12th by finishing 18th.

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