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Dixon Ends Drought, Ties Mario with Commanding Toronto Win – INDYCAR

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The drought finally is over for Scott Dixon.

Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Dixon earned his first victory since May 2021 at Texas Motor Speedway – a span of 23 races, the second-longest winless streak of his illustrious career – by capturing the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday. Dixon drove his No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to a victory by .8106 of a second over Colton Herta in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda.

The victory also was the 52nd of Dixon’s career, tying him with fellow legend Mario Andretti for No. 2 on the all-time INDYCAR SERIES win list. A.J. Foyt leads with 67 wins. Dixon’s fourth career Toronto victory extended his record to 18 consecutive INDYCAR SERIES seasons with at least one win, and he also has won a race in a record 20 seasons overall.

SEE: Race Results | Race Highlights

“Ended a streak there, which is fantastic,” Dixon said. “Just so happy for the team. A crazy year for the 9. The PNC Bank No. 9 back in winner’s circle. It just feels so good.

“To be close to Mario, every time I’m asked these questions, I’m just so thankful that we still have A.J. and him in the pits. We get to see them; we get to talk to them. It’s just fantastic. It’s huge, man. I just feel so lucky to be a part of this group.”

Felix Rosenqvist finished third in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet to earn his first podium result since his sole career INDYCAR SERIES victory in July 2020 at Road America.

Graham Rahal finished a season-best fourth in the No. 15 United Rentals Honda, while NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship leader Marcus Ericsson finished fifth in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Ericsson expanded his lead from 20 to 35 points over second-place Will Power in the series standings. Power finished 15th after starting 16th in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

Dixon is fifth in the standings, 44 points behind his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Ericsson. Dixon would tie Foyt as the all-time championship winner in INDYCAR SERIES history with a seventh title.

“Hopefully we’re kind of in the title hunt now,” Dixon said. “I’m hoping this is the start of the roll. I know the team definitely deserves it.”

Dixon, who started second, used canny strategy from his pit box earlier in the race to take the lead for the first time on Lap 32 of the 85-lap race.

Dixon chased NTT P1 Award winner Colton Herta for the first 17 laps around the 11-turn, 1.786-mile temporary street circuit around Exhibition Place. The Ganassi team called Dixon for fuel and to change from Firestone alternate “red” tires to the primary “black” tires on Lap 17.

That move prompted Andretti Autosport to call Herta to the pits for an identical tire change on Lap 18, and Dixon – on hot primary tires – passed Herta and his cold primary tires on track during Herta’s out lap after his pit stop. That overtaking maneuver proved decisive, and Dixon circulated to the front on Lap 32 when Pato O’Ward surrendered the lead after finally making his first pit stop in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.

“We struggled a little bit on reds,” Dixon said of the Firestone alternate tires. “We made some adjustments after this morning (based) on some of the different tracks that we’ve been throughout the year. We had fought with understeer, and that definitely wasn’t the case today. It was a tough drive, man.”

The race was remarkably clean for the first 44 laps, with just one caution for two laps in the opening laps after contact damaged the No. 51 Deloitte Honda of Takuma Sato. But the treacherous, bumpy circuit with its unforgiving walls spawned three caution periods between Laps 45 and 60, giving Herta and others a chance to jump Dixon on a restart.

But Dixon held firm and assumed the lead for good under caution on Lap 61 when an off-sequence Rinus VeeKay pitted from the front in the No. 21 Bitcoin Racing Team with BitNile Chevrolet. Dixon led a race-high 40 of the 85 laps, with VeeKay second with 18 laps in front.

Herta couldn’t get past Dixon on the final restart of the race on Lap 66. Then Herta focused on his mirrors and resisted intense pressure from behind from Rosenqvist, prevailing for second over the Swede by .5384 of a second at the finish.

“Felix was really fast, and I’m glad we were able to keep him behind us,” Herta said. “He looked like a few more laps, and he was going to get us. We struggled a little bit with tire wear at the end, but other than that, our car was amazing.”

Dixon will split $10,000 with his team and a charity of his choice for the victory as part of the PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge.

The crucial run of five NTT INDYCAR SERIES races in four weeks continues with the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend this Friday through Sunday at Iowa Speedway, featuring a doubleheader on the .875-mile oval. The Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 presented by DoorDash is scheduled for 4 p.m. (ET) Saturday (NBC/INDYCAR Radio Network), with the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 presented by Google at 3 p.m. (ET) Sunday (NBC/INDYCAR Radio Network).

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Juan Brunetta has a goal and an assist to lead Liga MX All-Stars over MLS All-Stars 4-1

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Juan Brunetta and Maximiliano Meza scored a minute apart in the second half, and Mexico’s Liga MX All-Stars beat the Major League Soccer All-Stars 4-1 in the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday night.

Brunetta (Tigres) scored in transition in the 68th minute to make it 3-1 and set up Meza (Monterrey) soon after in front of a record crowd of 20,931 at Lower.com Field.

It was the first MLS All-Star Game victory for Liga MX in three tries. The MLS All-Stars won in 2022 and won on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw a year earlier.

“It was an incredible game,” Liga MX coach Andre Jardine said. “There were a lot of high-level players. It was a tight game. Both teams definitely came out to play. In the second half they came out with a lot of great names as well. I was a bit surprised. It was a bit difficult, especially in the first 15 minutes, but we had to adjust and ultimately it was a great game.”

There were plenty of big names on the field, but the absence of the brightest and biggest one took some luster out of the event. The league announced Monday that Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi was unable to play because of ligament damage in his right ankle.

The 2022 World Cup champion was injured while playing for Argentina in its victory over Colombia in the Copa America final on July 14.

Fans cheered when Columbus forwards combined to tie the match 1-all in the 17th minute, about a minute after Germán Berterame (Monterrey) scored for Mexico on a header.

From the left flank, Diego Rossi found Crew teammate Cucho Hernandez racing unmarked down the middle of the box for the equalizer.

“Unbelievable for me to score in front of my home fans,” Hernandez said.

Oussama Idrissi (Pachuca) made it 2-1 in the 41st with a strike from the top of the penalty area.

MLS had two chances to tie it in the 63rd when Riqui Puig (Los Angeles Galaxy) hit the crossbar and on the follow, Luca Orellano (Cincinnati) was denied on a goal-line clearance by Unai Bilbao (Tijuana).

Minutes later, Liga MX put the game out of reach.

MLS recognized the revival of the Columbus market by awarding it the All-Star Game. The Crew, a 1996 charter member, were threatened in the fall of 2017 with relocation to Austin, Texas, by then-owner Anthony Precourt.

A grassroots movement called Save the Crew drew international attention and helped persuade Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam to buy the team and keep it in Columbus.

The Crew won the MLS Cup in 2020 and 2023, reached the final of the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup and opened Lower.com Field in 2021, where there have been 28 straight sellouts for MLS matches.

“It shows everyone the courage of the owner,” Crew and MLS All-Stars coach Wilfried Nancy said. “Listen, this is a representation of what Columbus is and the passion for the soccer.”

The All-Star squad had five Crew players. Hernandez and Rossi were joined by midfielder Darlington Nagbe and defenders Rudy Camacho and Steven Moreira.

UP NEXT

MLS and Liga MX continue the rivalry with the start of the Leagues Cup on Friday All 47 teams will compete in a World Cup-style format, with the championship match on Aug. 25. There will be 77 matches in the United States and Canada. Inter Miami is the defending Leagues Cup champion.

___

AP soccer:

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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Chelsea salvages 2-2 tie with Wrexham in friendly at Levi’s Stadium

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Lesley Ugochukwu scored in the 82nd minute to help Chelsea salvage a 2-2 tie with Wrexham in a friendly match Wednesday night at Levi’s Stadium.

Ugochukwu rolled a shot from the middle of the box through traffic into the right corner.

Wrexham took a 2-1 lead when Jack Marriot scored on a counterattack in the 72nd minute.

Luke Bolton also scored for Wrexham, the Welsh team co-owned by Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds that was promoted this year to the third tier of English soccer.

Christopher Nkunku scored first for Chelsea in the perennial Premier League power’s first pre-season match and its first under manager, Enzo Maresca, the former Leicester City manager.

Nkunku fired a shot from the middle of the box into the left corner of the net past goalie Arthur Okonkwo in the 35th minute off an assist from Marc Guiu after a corner kick.

Wrexham tied it in the 58th minute when Bolton scored from the right wing off an assist from Sebastian Revan, who connected with Bolton on a crossing pass.

Chelsea goalkeeper Robert Sanchez blocked a breakaway shot from James McLean in the 29th minute.

Chelsea beat Wrexham 5-0 in a friendly last season.

UP NEXT

Wrexham: Visits the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.

Chelsea: Plays the Celtic on Saturday at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

AP soccer:

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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Preseason Opener: Enzo Maresca’s Chelsea Takes on Wrexham

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Welcome to the first match of the summer, the first preseason game, and the first chance to see Enzo Maresca’s Chelsea in action. While the main focus today is on fitness, this game will undoubtedly spark analysis and excitement among fans.

Football, sort of, is back! Let’s see how the teams line up for this highly anticipated friendly.

Chelsea Starting XI:

  • Sánchez
  • James (c)
  • Tosin
  • Badiashile
  • Colwill
  • Lavia
  • Chukwuemeka
  • Nkunku
  • Madueke
  • Guiu
  • George

Substitutes:

  • Beach
  • Bergström
  • W. Fofana
  • Veiga
  • Acheampong
  • Gusto
  • Chilwell
  • Santos
  • Ugochukwu
  • Sterling
  • Ângelo
  • Broja

Wrexham Starting XI:

  • Okonkwo
  • Cleworth
  • Brunt
  • O’Connor
  • Bolton
  • Jones
  • Dobson
  • Lee
  • Revan
  • Palmer
  • McClean (c)

Substitutes:

  • Howard
  • Burton
  • Boyle
  • Barnett
  • James
  • Forde
  • Evans
  • Ashfield
  • Cannon
  • Davies
  • Bickerstaff
  • Waters
  • Dalby
  • Marriott

Match Details:

  • Date / Time: Wednesday, July 24, 7pm PDT; 3am BST (next day); 7:30am IST (next day)
  • Venue: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA, USA
  • On TV: ESPN (USA); none (UK); elsewhere
  • Streaming: ESPN+ (USA); Chelsea TV (int’l pay-per-view)

Both teams will be eager to test their tactics and players ahead of the upcoming season. Chelsea fans are particularly excited to see how new manager Enzo Maresca will shape the team, while Wrexham supporters are keen to see their team perform against top-tier opposition.

Let’s see how the starting formation and tactics unfold as we get a first glimpse of what’s to come this season. Stay tuned for an exciting game!ea

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