Texas IndyCar: Ganassi's Scott Dixon takes points lead with win

Tom Errington
Autosport
Dixon takes points lead with Texas win
Dixon takes points lead with Texas win

Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon surged into the IndyCar championship lead after a controlled victory at Texas Motor Speedway, taking advantage of Penske's woes.

Penske had taken a 1-2-3 in qualifying with Josef Newgarden leading Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, but two of the leading three were rendered virtual onlookers on race night.

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Newgarden lost the early lead of the race due to a combination of significant tyre blistering - requiring an extra stop - and Chevrolet's fuel-mileage disadvantage compared to Honda.

The engine imbalance quickly played out to give Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' Robert Wickens and Dixon the edge approaching the halfway distance.

Wickens pitting from the lead at the halfway point gave Dixon the platform to go on to win.

The Ganassi driver, who had not led a lap in 2018 until last weekend's Detroit double-header, cruised to the front of the field.

But his lead was eradicated when Ed Carpenter turned in on the low-running Wickens and wiped the pair out on lap 173 of 243.

The leaders pitted for fuel and tyres under caution and Dixon lost chief rival Rossi due to a slow pitstop caused by the Andretti car's fuel hose initially failing to engage.

Dixon was again forced to hold his lead on a restart when Penske's Will Power collided with Dale Coyne Racing driver Zachary Claman de Melo and set up a 24-lap dash to the finish.

His charge to the flag was then completed virtually unchallenged, meaning Dixon opens up a 23-point series lead, after Pagenaud was dragged into holding off the fast-charging Rossi for second.

The Penske-run car of Pagenaud was the least affected by the tyre wear, while Rossi again starred on ovals with a series of overtakes that lifted him from eighth into the leading pack for his fifth podium of 2018.

SPM's James Hinchcliffe finished fourth after complaining of a slow car in Friday's qualifying that put him 15th on the grid.

He worked his way onto the lead lap but fell back a couple of places under the late restart.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was fifth for Andretti ahead of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal who continued his habit of racing well on ovals after qualifying poorly, having started the race in 20th.

His team-mate Takuma Sato was seventh ahead of his long-time battler Sebastien Bourdais in the DCR car run in partnership with Vasser and Sullivan.

Bourdais had been hurt by the Wickens/Carpenter-induced caution having been the first driver a lap down, alongside Newgarden, but recovered prior to the final yellow.

Ed Jones was ninth ahead of Carlin's Charlie Kimball in the British team's third top 10 result.

Newgarden ended the day in 13th after a woeful night was completed with a drivethrough penalty for jumping a restart.

He finished ahead of Marco Andretti, who lost a potential top-five finish to a stall in the pitlane.

AJ Foyt Racing had a nightmare race when Matheus Leist caused the first caution of the day on lap seven when his car caught fire.

Team-mate Tony Kanaan retired shortly later after colliding with the Turn 2 wall in an incident believed to be caused by a suspension-related failure.

Race result

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Laps

Gap

1

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Honda

248

2h00m53.2155s

2

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

248

4.2943s

3

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

248

4.5670s

4

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Dallara/Honda

248

5.0869s

5

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

248

6.7301s

6

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Dallara/Honda

248

7.2744s

7

Takuma Sato

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Dallara/Honda

248

8.3457s

8

Sebastien Bourdais

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

248

9.4523s

9

Ed Jones

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Honda

248

25.0938s

10

Charlie Kimball

Carlin

Dallara/Chevrolet

247

1 Lap

11

Spencer Pigot

Ed Carpenter Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

247

1 Lap

12

Max Chilton

Carlin

Dallara/Chevrolet

247

1 Lap

13

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

244

4 Laps

14

Marco Andretti

Andretti Herta

Dallara/Honda

244

4 Laps

15

Gabby Chaves

Harding Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

240

8 Laps

16

Zach Veach

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

238

10 Laps

17

Zachary Claman

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

205

Contact

18

Will Power

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

204

Contact

19

Robert Wickens

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Dallara/Honda

171

Contact

20

Ed Carpenter

Ed Carpenter Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

168

Contact

21

Tony Kanaan

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Chevrolet

31

Contact

22

Matheus Leist

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Chevrolet

5

Fire


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