The following story first appeared on the INDYCAR Mobile powered by NTT DATA app. For more information,visit www.indycar.com/mobile-app
LEXINGTON, Ohio – There is a popular hashtag in the overall sport of auto racing that was created by a comment NTT IndyCar Series team owner made during the offseason. It’s #CHIPLIKESWINNERS.
It’s a philosophy that circulates through all three of Chip Ganassi Racing’s programs including the NTT IndyCar Series, NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series and IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car racing.
The 61-year-old Ganassi had those words play out in front of him in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He watched both of his drivers fight it out for the victory to the very end before Scott Dixon defeated rookie teammate Felix Rosenqvist by just 0.0934-of-a-second in the third-closest road course finish in IndyCar history and the closest at this track. The only two closer races on a road course occurred at Portland in 1997 and 1986.
It was Dixon’s sixth win in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, the most of any driver in history. It was also career win No. 46 as he closes in on Mario Andretti’s 52 for the No. 2 position in career wins. A.J. Foyt leads that category with 67 victories.
But it was also another important day in the development of the 27-year-old rookie from Malmo, Sweden as Rosenqvist raced aggressively and smart to secure the team’s 1-2 finish.
“It feels good,” Ganassi told NTT INDYCAR Mobile. “Felix did a hell of a job. He was coming pretty hard there at the end. I don’t want to take anything away from him. Another lap, and Felix would have won the thing. He put on a real show there.”
Ganassi said with Rosenqvist on the Firestone blacks and Dixon on the scuffed reds, both drivers were burning the rear tires off with the fierce racing at that stage of the race.
“It was a little difficult at the end for Scott, but he persevered,” Ganassi said. “For Felix, this is full circle because he tested for us at Mid-Ohio back in 2016 and 2017. Albeit for his teammate, he would have won the race so I’m really happy for him and for the team.
“I think Scott is still in this championship race. With Felix coming on, I feel very good about the future of this team.
“To finish 1-2, that’s why we do this. Nothing better.”
One of Ganassi’s greatest drivers of the past remains with the team as a driver coach for the future. That’s three-time Indianapolis 500 winning driver and four-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti, who works closely with Rosenqvist.
Franchitti has seen improvement from the driver all season, and he nearly became a winner on Sunday.
“That was good,” Franchitti told NTT INDYCAR Mobile. “Felix drove a wonderful race. The pass he made on Will Power was incredible in the race. The guys called a great race. It was close between Felix and Scott at the end, but a 1-2 for the team, that was cool. Honda had the fuel mileage, too.
“Felix was comfortable here all weekend. He’s been quick most places. It’s good to see that. Him and Scott both fourth hard and it’s great to see both cars up there.
“I love working with Felix. He’s a fiery little guy. Working with him and Scott, it’s fun coming to work.”
As a rookie, Rosenqvist has experienced the typical ups and downs, but he has also shown flashes of brilliance and tremendous potential. He was able to share that journey and experience with both Ganassi and Franchitti in victory lane.
“Chip was over the moon,” Rosenqvist said. “I think he was happy with the one-two. Dario was also over the moon. I think everyone deserved this. We had a tough year. I think even Scott has had a tough year. He's been excellent. I've been struggling a little bit mid-season, had sort of flashes of speed all the time, never managed to put it together.
“But this weekend, everything just came together for both of us. It's a big relief, especially for the 10 car crew to get that podium. It's been a long time, and you can see they're hungry for it every weekend.”