Los Angeles (AFP) - Felix Rosenqvist surged to his first IndyCar victory on Sunday, powering past Pato O'Ward in the closing laps to win the second of two weekend races at Road America in Wisconsin.
The 28-year-old Swede passed O'Ward on the second-to-last lap and took the chequered flag 1.8699sec ahead of the Mexican -- who was gunning for his first IndyCar race win.
Rosenqvist became the first driver other than his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon of New Zealand to win a race in this coronavirus disrupted season.
Dixon's three-race winning streak -- including Saturday's race at Elkhart Lake -- ended with a 12th-place finish.
A.J. Foyt (1964) and Al Unser (1971) are the only other drivers to open an IndyCar season with at least three consecutive wins. Foyt won the first seven races in 1964.
Rosenqvist and pole-sitter O'Ward duelled for the lead throughout the second half of the race.
O'Ward moved in front on the 43rd of 55 laps, but Rosenqvist erased a six-second deficit after the final round of pit stops and seized the lead in turn seven of the 14-turn road course.
American Alexander Rossi, who won at Road America last year, finished third ahead of Marcus Ericsson and Colton Herta.
Rosenqvist, who had two runner-up finishes last season, became the first Swedish driver to win an IndyCar race since Kenny Brack triumphed at Mexico City in 2002.
The race opened in dramatic fashion as Australian Will Power -- second to Dixon on Saturday -- made contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay who was sent spinning off the track. Power also made contact with Graham Rahal in a separate incident and was penalized for avoidable contact and sent to the back of the field for the restart.
"He seems to be driving a little bit desperate today," Hunter-Reay said in a TV interview, calling Power "a wrecking ball."
Eventually Power spun and hit a sign, recovering enough to briefly take the lead before finishing in 11th.
The weekend marked the return of spectators to IndyCar races, after the first two were run without fans in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus.
Road America hosted the first of three double-header weekends in a schedule that has been redrawn because of COVID-19 concerns.