I should have chosen 'Blacks' for final stint - Scott Dixon
Reigning series champion Scott Dixon believes the final laps of the Honda Indy 200 would have been less arduous had he used the harder black Firestone tyres.
Dixon was one of the only runners to go with a two-stop strategy whilst starting on the 'blacks' and the Kiwi utilised it to his advantage as he made his way forward through the field in the early stages of the race.
At his first stop on lap 29, he made his first stop and put on a set of fresh 'Red' tyres for his second stint.
Team-mate Felix Rosenqvist had also looked to go on a two-stop strategy before moving to three-stop after getting caught out in traffic, this allowed Dixon to take the lead.
For Dixon's final stint, he put on a set of scuffed 'Red' tyres which had done a handful of laps in qualifying and the Kiwi felt the balance had gone on the #9 PNC Back car.
"I think it was honestly with about 15 to go, I started moaning to the team," said Dixon. "I'm like, ‘Man, I think we're going to have to pit again.’ A lot of it, I think, was just bad choices from my front.
"I think after the race, Chip (Ganassi) said that he had decided that we should have gone to blacks. And I said, well, how did you and the team -- how did we not go to blacks?
"But I said, it looks like the reds are holding on pretty well, but we made adjustments to the first set of sticker reds, had quite a bit of understeer.
"We made those changes for the used second set that already had four laps on it from qualifying, and they just couldn't take it. It was too aggressive.
"Luckily I used them early to try and get past some of those lap traffic cars that did help us later on, I think at least delay Felix getting to us.
The issues had left Dixon vulnerable from the hard-charging Rosenqvist who had chased him down in the final laps of the race, despite leading by almost 10 seconds after his team-mates third and final stop.
Rosenqvist made an attempt for the lead at the keyhole on the final lap and the pair touched, but Dixon held onto the lead until the finish line by a narrow 0.09s.
"Ultimately, had we gone to the black tires, we would have maintained our eight or 10-second gap," he added. "It definitely made it exciting for me and I'm sure everybody else. And huge respect for Felix (Rosenqvist).
"He drove clean, and ultimately, I don't know, it was going to be hard for any car to come past, even though we were about three seconds slower a lap than anyone else."