Pole sitter Takuma Sato had the dominant car early in Saturday’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
That all changed with one disastrous pit stop.
Sato led the first 60 laps but drove his No. 30 Honda too fast into the pit stops and upended his inside front tire changer as well as tore apart his sign board.
Sato’s car finally came to a stop in Ryan Hunter-Reay’s pits and was rolled back into Sato’s pit. The lengthy stop cost Sato two laps and he was then assessed a stop-and-go penalty for the incident. By the time Sato was back up to speed again he was three laps down.
Chris Welch, the crew member hit, remained in the pits for a while but was taken to the infield care center to be evaluated. He was released from the center later in the race.
“I’m all good, a few aches and pains, nothing’s broke,” Welch said. “It happens. I’ll be back out there next week.”
Bad luck for Hinchcliffe
A disappointing season for James Hinchcliffe appeared to be turning around Saturday night as Hinchcliffe, who hasn’t had a top-five finish this year, was running in the top 5 late in the race.
That positive run came to an end on with 28 laps to go when Hinchcliffe got loose exiting Turn 2 and hit the outside wall. That sent his No. 5 Honda into the inside wall and ended his night with a 19th-place finish.
“The car just snapped up there,” Hinchcliffe said. “It’s my fault. It was an unforced error. We just can’t catch a break. This was on me.”
Crusher for Dixon, Herta
Scott Dixon’s late-race crash with Colton Herta didn’t just end his chance at winning his first race at Texas Motor Speedway. It may have also ended his chances at winning a sixth series title.
Dixon came into the race fourth in points. He’s still fourth in points but now trails leader Josef Newgarden by 89 points with only eight races remaining on the schedule.
Dixon was running second when he tried to protect his positon against the charging Herta. That crash brought out the third and final caution of the race as ended up netting Dixon a 17th-place finish.
Dixon shouldered the blame for the incident.
“I started to track down the track just to try and close it off,” Dixon said. “I saw the shadow on the apron and knew it wasn’t going to work out. Sorry if it was my fault. I was trying to get the most out of it and ended both of our nights.”
Herta said Dixon apologized after the race.
“He just turned down on me,” said Herta, who was 18th. “He didn’t need to do it. The outside lane was there. It’s a DNF I’ll take because I was really happy with my performance.”