Scott Dixon has led home the quartet of Team Penske entries to win the Road America Grand Prix and extend his Verizon IndyCar Series lead.
Dixon took the lead from Josef Newgarden upon a restart midway through the 55-lap race and had enough to keep Penske’s latest recruit behind him at the end, with Helio Castroneves third, ahead of Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.
Pole-sitter Castroneves (#3 Penske Chevrolet) led the pack through Turn 1 with Newgarden (#2 Penske Chevrolet) getting past Power (#12 Penske Chevrolet) to move into second and Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Honda) gaining one position to be fourth as Pagenaud (#1 Penske Chevrolet), who qualified fourth, was shuffled back.
Those five would run first to fifth, in that order, for the first quarter of the race as Castroneves gapped Newgarden, Newgarden gapped Power, Power held off Dixon, and Pagenaud was the odd man out in starting on black tyres.
All five pitted for the first time on Lap 13 or 14, with Dixon moving up to third and Alexander Rossi (#98 Andretti Autosport Honda) fourth, having pitted several laps earlier and looking set for a four-stop strategy.
Power had exited pit lane in front of Rossi, but eventually lost the place in a hard fight which saw the two make contact.
The Australian, now on blacks, tried to keep Pagenaud, now on reds, behind him, but in the end was ordered by race control to give up fifth position for blocking.
Meanwhile, Newgarden pulled off the first effective lead change on the outside of Castroneves at Turn 1 on Lap 20.
Newgarden began to pull away, as Dixon and then Pagenaud caught Castroneves, with Rossi having taken his second pit stop.
The front-runners made their second round of pit stops across Laps 27 and 28, during which time Dixon gained another position, passing Castroneves for second, and Charlie Kimball (#83 Chip Ganassi Honda) got fifth position off Power.
While that was unfolding, Takuma Sato (#26 Andretti Autosport Honda) had run off and couldn’t get restarted, causing a one-lap Caution period on Lap 29
At the restart, Dixon on reds drove around the outside of Newgarden on blacks, Max Chilton (#8 Chip Ganassi Honda) got past Power, and then Castroneves too demoted Newgarden later in the lap.
The race leading New Zealander then started to drive away until Castroneves was first to make his final pit stop on Lap 41.
Dixon, Newgarden, Pagenaud, and Power, who had by this time recovered the position from Chilton but couldn’t find a way past Kimball, also peeled off the race track on Lap 42.
The final stint to the chequered flag would see Dixon lead by nearly 2s to Newgarden, Castroneves in third but under pressure from Pagenaud, and Power several seconds further back as Kimball emerged sixth when he pitted a lap later again.
A second Caution came on Lap 46 when Tony Kanaan (#10 Chip Ganassi Honda) ended up in the fence while trying to take ninth position from Rossi, the pair having made contact which damaged car #10’s front wing and caused it to run off.
The front-runners were unchanged when the race restarted on Lap 48, and while Newgarden could run with Dixon he was not strong enough to genuinely threaten.
Castroneves rounded out the podium as he held out Pagenaud and Power.
Dixon’s 41st career IndyCar win sees his championship lead over Pagenaud grow to 34 points ahead of the 11th race of the season, the Iowa 300, on July 8-9.
Results: Road America Grand Prix
|Pos||Driver||Grid||C/A/E/T||Laps||Race time, gap||Laps led||Status||Pit stops|
|7||Ed Jones (R)||11||D/H/H/F||55||+21.6338||–||Running||3|
|17||Esteban Gutierrez (R)||17||D/H/H/F||55||+1:28.4634||–||Running||5|
|18||Marco Andretti||8||D/H/H/F||54||+1 lap||–||Running||5|
|19||Takuma Sato||20||D/H/H/F||54||+1 lap||–||Running||4|
|20||James Hinchcliffe||9||D/H/H/F||53||+2 laps||–||Running||5|
|21||Tony Kanaan||16||D/H/H/F||44||+11 laps||–||Contact||4|
(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (A)erokit: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)yre: F=Firestone
|23||Juan Pablo Montoya||93|
VIDEO: Race highlights