Scott Dixon fights through ankle injury for podium in Detroit 1

Bret Kelley/INDYCAR

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Scott Dixon’s only halfway through the weekend at Belle Isle Park, but he’s already defied any who thought his ankle injury may impact his performance with a second-place showing in Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

There were fears that Dixon may struggle in this weekend’s races, coming just one week after a harrowing crash for the Auckland, New Zealand native in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500. The 36-year-old incredibly walked away from his destroyed No. 9 Honda under his own power after the shunt, but was later seen in a walking boot and with crutches after sustaining injuries to his left ankle.

There was never any doubt that Dixon would be among the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock the following weekend in Detroit, but the track’s bumpy surface promise to provide a significant physical challenge.

Yet at the end of Race 1, there Dixon stood on the podium, a triumphant second-place run completed. While he was unable to pose much of a threat to race-winner Graham Rahal, the four-time IndyCar champion’s run proved enough to give himself the points lead heading into Race 2.

“It was a tough race no matter what,” Dixon said. “Physically for me it was tougher than normal. I think I was favoring a lot of things, but I’m just so proud of the whole Camping World crew. They did an amazing job, and the car was fast.

“Today was great for points. I’m definitely going to go back to my RV here and put my foot in a big bucket of ice, and see if I can cool it off. Hopefully get some good rest tonight and obviously qualifying tomorrow is going to be key for the race. We’ve got to come out blazing. We’ve definitely got to improve the car – it’s not perfect right now.”

Dixon won’t have much time to celebrate his points lead – instead, he’ll be defending it. The New Zealander will lead Chip Ganassi Racing back on-track at Belle Isle for Race 2 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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