Scott Dixon wins fourth Honda Indy Toronto, matches Mario Andretti for 52 career wins

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TORONTO — Scott Dixon joked all week that Honda Indy Toronto is his home race because Canada is part of the Commonwealth of Nations, making it as close as IndyCar gets to his native New Zealand.

Dixon took full advantage of that quasi-home track advantage on Sunday, winning the Honda Indy Toronto for a fourth time. More importantly, he tied racing legend Mario Andretti for the second most wins in IndyCar history at 52.

"You don't always get to win at home, you know? That's when you turn it up a little bit," said Dixon with a laugh. "Honestly, I feel like I'm home. The fans are super into it."

A.J. Foyt is IndyCar's all-time wins leader with 67. The 41-year-old Dixon said that despite his continued success he is no threat to Foyt's record.

"I probably need to be racing well into my 50s," said Dixon, who noted that IndyCar has become more competitive over his 21 years of racing. "It's tough but we'll keep going, man.

"If we can get on a roll here and knock out some wins anything's possible, but (Foyt) is pretty safe."

Dixon has now won in 18 consecutive seasons, but it was his first victory in 23 races — the second longest winless streak of his career — since he took the checkered flag at Texas Motor Speedway in May 2021.

Colton Herta, who tested for McLaren in Formula 1 earlier in the week, finished second on the Exhibition Place street track. Felix Rosenqvist was third, Graham Rahal fourth and Marcus Ericsson finished fifth to add to his points lead in the IndyCar standings.

Herta and Rosenqvist both praised Dixon not just as a driver but as a person.

"It's very rare that you get a guy that's fast all the time and just be extremely respectful of other drivers," said Herta. "He's amazing to drive against because he never puts you in a crappy situation where you have to make a choice of hitting the wall or back out of a pass or something like that."

Rosenqvist, who was on Dixon's Chip Ganassi Racing teammate in 2019 and 2020, said he admires how Dixon conducts himself on and off the track.

"He's just able to keep coming back and winning every year and I think it's really impressive," said Rosenqvist. "I think he's like the ultimate role model for young drivers out there.

"Just shows that if you want something you can do it, no matter how old or how bad of a season you have, you can always come back if you want it bad."

IndyCar rookie Devlin DeFrancesco of Toronto was 18th. Dalton Kellett of nearby Stouffville, Ont., completed nine laps before mechanical failure ended his race.

Both Canadians drove in the Honda Indy for the first time as the event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was nice to be home with all the fans, and I really did get a lot of support this weekend. Hugely grateful for that," said DeFrancesco, who had a career-best 12th place in qualifying on Saturday. "I was quite happy yesterday with how qualifying went, knowing that we had more in the tank.

"But, obviously, how the race played out was definitely not how we wanted it to go."

Although Herta earned pole position in qualifying, Dixon was in control for most of the race. Late in the race Herta's strategist could be heard on the broadcast telling him to try and make a move on Dixon if the opportunity presented itself, but otherwise focus on conserving fuel.

Not only did that opening never materialize, but Herta said after the race that his head sock broke, allowing his long hair to get in his eyes and obscure his vision for the race's final laps.

"This head sock that I have has to hold back a lot of hair so I can understand why it broke," said Herta. "It's the first time I've ever actually seen that or heard of that.

"I'm just going to be wearing a brand new one every time I race because I can't leave anything up like that."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 17, 2022.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

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