Scott Dixon's third straight win at Watkins Glen International was so dominating, and such a runaway, that it was almost routine. What was not routine was what happened a few car lengths away from victory lane.
Dixon completed an IndyCar triple play at the Glen by leading 23 of the 60 laps, including the last 18, to win Sunday's Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix by 6.2951 seconds over Sam Hornish.
"I look forward to coming to this race every year -- it's just been a fantastic track for myself," said Dixon. "We've always had great cars from Chip Ganassi Racing and today just all things played our way."
The New Zealander matched Formula One legend Graham Hill and Nextel Cup great Mark Martin as a winner of three straight major races here, but his joining road racing royalty was overshadowed by some nearby jesters thanks to a postrace skirmish which centered around Hornish and Tony Kanaan.
While Dixon's red No. 9 car pulled into victory lane, Hornish and fourth-place finisher Kanaan bumped their way down pit lane, then exited their cars pointing fingers and shouting. Shortly after, Sam Hornish's father, Sam Hornish Sr., shoved Kanaan. Hornish Sr. was then taken to the ground by an unidentified Kanaan supporter before groups from both teams were separated.
"I don't know what happened there," said Dixon, who had been busy posing for trophy photos and doing interviews in victory lane. "Fights? I don't even know who it was between."
Dixon was as oblivious to the incident as he was to challengers most of the afternoon, especially once he assumed the lead when Helio Castroneves crashed in Turn 11 on lap 20. Castroneves, who has won all three IndyCar poles at the Glen since the race began here in 2005, had another disappointment by finishing 18th of 18 cars. The spectre of Dixon behind him had something to do with it.
"I just overthought things and ended up spinning," said Castroneves, whose other Glen finishes were 12th (2005) and seventh (last year). "I knew Dixon was fast in Turn One, so I was pushing to get up there in front of him and I spun in Turn 11. I was thinking a turn ahead, and it cost us."
Dixon, who started second, would be the driver to beat the rest of the way. He cruised through traffic to work his way to the front after different waves of cars pitted, then assumed the lead on lap 43 when Marco Andretti (fifth) pitted. Dixon even kept the lead through his own pit stop a couple laps later. His 1.42-second advantage on Hornish would get longer on each lap around the 11-turn, 3.37-mile course.
Dixon needed a good finish due to his second-place standing in the points race, but his win only trimmed 18 points (from 65 to 47) because series leader Dario Franchitti finished third.
The roughhousing between Hornish and Kanaan was rooted in an incident on lap 29, as the two bumped entering the track's "boot" section in Turn Five.
"You think, 30 laps later [Kanaan] could have let it go," said Hornish, who recorded his best career road course finish. "After the race it was quite frustrating. Tony came up right behind me through some of the corners. I figured he's probably going to make his point. He drove by me and ran into me, bent the toe links and tried to put me in the inside wall, and that's something I'm not going to take."
Said Kanaan: "You'll have to ask Sam what happened on the track. He was the one who hit [my] car from behind. After the race, I wasn't very happy, and I got out of the car to talk to him. I think he needs his dad to defend himself or something. Sam's dad bumped me, which I think is totally wrong.
"When something happens on the track, we need to sort it out between me and him, and if we can't sort it out, then [IndyCar President] Brian Barnhart has to sort it out. His dad can't knock me out of the way like that. We were not going to fight; I was not going to go punch [Hornish Jr.]. That's why dads should be in the grandstands, not in the pits."
Hornish's dad wasn't the only father involved. Part of the melee saw Marco Andretti jumping out of his cockpit to restrain his finger-pointing father, Michael, who is owner of the Andretti-Green team that includes Kanaan.
IndyCar officials said after a thorough video review of the incident, sanctions will be handed down to those involved in the incident.
As for Dixon, he definitely has some long-term plans for the Glen.
"We're going to try to go for another one next year and make it four."