Dixon Wins First of Two Houston IndyCar Races, Closes Points Gap

October 5, 2013 Updated: October 5, 2013

Scott Dixon had everything go his way at the IndyCar Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Race One Saturday. The Target-Ganassi driver started the day 49 points behind championship leader Helio Castroneves; he finished the day only eight points back.

Dixon won the race and led the most laps, scoring maximum race-day points, while Castroneves had every possible thing go wrong, finishing 18th, scoring only twelve.

“Going into this race after the last two, the points deficit was big, it was 49 points,” Dixon told the post-race press conference, on IndyCar.com. “We talked about the scenarios and the scenario that we needed was for the 3 car [Helio Castroneves] to have a bad day and us to have a good one, and that would make a big difference in the championship fight. It was nice to see that today.”

Dixon and the target-Ganassi team are too experienced to let the day’s results go to their heads.

“Tomorrow is another day. It could be the opposite, and we could be in the hole tomorrow. It’s a nice move for us today, and hopefully we can build on that.”

Dixon is pursuing his third IndyCar championship; Castroneves has won the Indy 500 three times but has never yet won the championship. The Target-Ganassi driver had a rough first half of the season, but came on strong in the past several races scoring four wins. Castroneves, driving for Penske Racing, has been consistent since the start of the season but has only a single win.

The Houston Grand Prix is a double-header, so Scott Dixon gets another chance to race on the course he mastered Saturday. Castroneves also gets another chance. He had some problems in the first Houston race, starting with the transmission failure which cost him a lot of laps, but Helio said after the race that he felt like he had the car dialed in by the end of the day.

Dixon has been unbeatable on street courses once car, crew, and driver came together at the Pocono race. The Penske driver’s only win came on an oval at Texas; he has scored two seconds on street courses, but to win the championship, he needs to win races.

Sunday’s race should be even more exciting than Saturday’s.

The IndyCar Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Part Two will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 6.