INDIANAPOLIS — Scott Dixon was in disbelief.
After leading for nearly half of the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 (95 of 200 laps) on Sunday, Dixon failed to slow down enough by the pit-road speed limiter and was penalized with a drive-through after making his final stop.
In an instant, the dominant Dixon’s hopes of securing a second Indy 500 title evaporated.
“Are you serious?” Dixon yelled on the team radio. “(Expletive). I’m so sorry. What the (expletive)?”
“It’s just heartbreaking, to be honest,” he said afterward. “I must have been very close. I came into the pit, locked the gears, and then locked over four.
“I knew it was going to be close — I think it was a mile-an-hour over or something. It’s just frustrating. The car was really good there, we had really good speed. The team did an amazing job on strategy. I just messed up.”
Dixon’s mistake on pit road — his second in as many years — soured a record-setting performance by the Chip Ganassi driver.
“He’s as disappointed as anybody, I can tell you,” Ganassi said.
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The pole-sitter for the second consecutive season, Dixon entered needing 75 laps led to surpass Al Unser Sr.’s Indy 500 record.
Dixon led for 95, surpassing Ralph DePalma (612) on Lap 98 and Unser (644) on Lap 133.
“The car was definitely super fast. I had good speed all day,” said Dixon, who led with 30 laps remaining. “If things went smoother, we would’ve been in the fight at the end, but obviously not.”
Sunday’s misstep was an unfortunate example of history repeating itself for Dixon.
A year ago, he tried to stretch his first stint too long and was shut out of the pits when Stefan Wilson spun too close the pits before he could get in. Dixon’s car stalled after running out of gas, forcing him to take emergency fuel. He made another stop and restarted the race in back, ultimately finishing 17th.
Dixon’s latest mistake opened the door for teammate Marcus Ericsson, who won despite leading only 13 laps.
“You have to be realistic when you have multiple cars,” Ganassi said. “You can have a good day and a bad day in the same day. Sure, you just have to be realistic.
“The good news is that the good outweighs the bad.”