Scott Dixon said he was honored to equal Sam Hornish Jr.'s record by winning his 19th Indy Racing League IndyCar race at Richmond on Saturday night, but suspects other active drivers could overhaul his tally before their careers are over.
Dixon got the lead when his Ganassi team-mate Dario Franchitti pitted for a splash of fuel (permitted under the rules) while the pits were closed just seconds after Mike Conway hit the wall and brought out a caution on the 137th lap of the 300-lap race. That meant a second stop during the same caution, which kept Franchitti behind Dixon when both emerged from the pits on lap 140.
The reigning champion then kept Franchitti behind for the rest of the race and clinched his record-equaling win.
"Achievements like that are something you can look back at someday and treasure," Dixon said. "There will be many years, hopefully, in my career that I can try to build on that. But there are a lot of people like TK [Tony Kanaan] and Helio [Castroneves] that are pretty close. I have to stick at it for a long time to try to keep that going."
Kanaan has 13 IRL IndyCar wins to his name, while Castroneves is on 16. After the merger of the IRL IndyCar Series and the Champ Car World Series at the start of 2008, attempts are being made to create combined historical statistics for American open-wheel racing.
Franchitti, who had started from pole, said the key to his defeat was that he had burned more fuel trying to chase down the out of sequence Hideki Mutoh for the lead for 74 laps prior to the caution, forcing the additional stop.
"My mistake was using too much fuel trying to pass Mutoh," Franchitti said. "Ultimately I was trying to put some distance between myself and Scott, and ultimately that hurt us."