With a national audience watching in prime time, Scott Dixon showed why he’s been the standard-bearer of the NTT IndyCar Series for so long.
The five-time series champion led 157 of 200 laps to win tonight’s season-opening Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, claiming his 47th career win and his fourth at TMS.
Dixon dominated much of the race, but Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Felix Rosenqvist emerged to challenge him late. The two Dallara-Hondas seemed poised to duke it out, but after their final pit stops, they had to deal with lapped traffic.
RESULTS, STATS, POINTS: Click here for the full rundown at Texas
With 10 laps to go, Rosenqvist attempted an outside pass on the lapped car of James Hinchcliffe in Turn 2 but lost control and spun into the outside wall.
That set up a three-lap sprint to the finish, but Dixon quickly pulled away to end any more drama. He took the checkered flag by 4.4 seconds over 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud.
“We could check out; it was just kind of when we got to a few people we knew were going to be a little more challenging to pass,” Dixon told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “That definitely cropped up. Will [Power] was tough. I knew he was gonna be. He was trying to stay on the lead lap.
“A bunch of those guys were … But, all in all, that’s racing, man.
“Such strange times right now, and I just can’t thank the team enough, it’s such a team effort … huge thanks to everybody involved and bummed that the fans weren’t here. I wish everyone was here to celebrate.”
Reigning series champion Josef Newgarden battled through tire vibrations to finish third. Behind him, Zach Veach tied his career-best result in fourth, and oval specialist Ed Carpenter completed the top five.
Conor Daly made up 13 positions to finish sixth in the No. 59 Carlin Chevrolet. Daly will split the full season between Carlin and Ed Carpenter Racing, where he’ll suit up for all road/street course races and the Indy 500.
While his fellow rookies suffered misfortune (see below), Oliver Askew quietly scored a ninth-place finish for Arrow McLaren SP. It’s a nice start to the big-league career for last year’s Indy Lights champion.
Zach Veach led the Andretti Autosport brigade, tying a career best with a fourth.
After falling a lap down because of a drive-through penalty for unapproved adjustments before the start, Ryan Hunter-Reay rebounded for eighth, ending a long day in which his team scrambled to fix his No. 28 Dallara-Honda after he hit the wall in practice (and he still qualified fourth).
Tony Kanaan started his ‘Last Lap’ farewell season with a 10th-place showing for A.J. Foyt Racing. Kanaan sported his famous green/white/orange 7-Eleven scheme that he ran with for much of his career.
Rinus VeeKay and Alex Palou’s IndyCar debuts were short-lived. The two rookies were eliminated in a crash on Lap 38, when VeeKay got too high up in Turn 2, spun on exit, and collected Palou. VeeKay’s car had already been repaired following a wreck earlier in afternoon practice.
An electrical problem before engines were fired and a drive-through penalty for unapproved adjustments dropped Alexander Rossi out of contention before the start. He made up a lap but still finished a lap down in 15th.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s hopes also went south before the race began. Following Takuma Sato’s crash in qualifying, RLL couldn’t repair his car in time for the green flag. As for Graham Rahal, his car failed to start and needed its ECU to be reprogrammed; that and subsequent penalties forced him to scrap for a 17th-place finish.
Charlie Kimball’s otherwise solid debut for A.J. Foyt Racing ended with a backstretch crash on the last lap. He was credited with an 11th-place finish after running legitimately inside the Top 5 during the race’s middle stages.
The NTT IndyCar Series will return in a historic Fourth of July weekend doubleheader with NASCAR at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. IndyCar and the NASCAR Xfinity Series will take on the IMS road course July 4, then the NASCAR Cup Series hits the legendary IMS oval July 5 – only on NBC.
IndyCar: Scott Dixon wins season opener at Texas Motor Speedway originally appeared on NBCSports.com