Dixon beats Penskes for first win of season

Speedcafe.com

Monday 26th June, 2017 - 6:00am

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Scott Dixon

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
1 Scott Dixon 5 D/H/H/F 55 01:47:18.9870 24 Running 3
2 Josef Newgarden 3 D/C/C/F 55 +0.5779 13 Running 3
3 Helio Castroneves 1 D/C/C/F 55 +4.1918 17 Running 3
4 Simon Pagenaud 4 D/C/C/F 55 +4.9721 Running 3
5 Will Power 2 D/C/C/F 55 +5.7227 Running 3
6 Charlie Kimball 10 D/H/H/F 55 +14.7178 1 Running 3
7 Ed Jones (R) 11 D/H/H/F 55 +21.6338 Running 3
8 Graham Rahal 6 D/H/H/F 55 +22.2273 Running 4
9 Max Chilton 7 D/H/H/F 55 +23.3076 Running 3
10 Mikhail Aleshin 19 D/H/H/F 55 +24.3586 Running 4
11 Carlos Munoz 13 D/C/C/F 55 +26.1402 Running 4
12 Spencer Pigot 14 D/C/C/F 55 +33.4983 Running 5
13 Alexander Rossi 15 D/H/H/F 55 +38.1370 Running 4
14 Ryan Hunter-Reay 12 D/H/H/F 55 +39.8433 Running 3
15 Conor Daly 21 D/C/C/F 55 +43.1988 Running 4
16 JR Hildebrand 18 D/C/C/F 55 +1:16.5039 Running 4
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

Championship points

Pos Driver Pts
1 Scott Dixon 379
2 Simon Pagenaud 345
3 Helio Castroneves 342
4 Takuma Sato 323
5 Josef Newgarden 318
6 Will Power 316
7 Graham Rahal 307
8 Tony Kanaan 273
9 Alexander Rossi 271
10 Ed Jones 254
11 Max Chilton 251
12 James Hinchcliffe 242
13 Marco Andretti 222
14 Mikhail Aleshin 212
15 Ryan Hunter-Reay 210
16 JR Hildebrand 205
17 Carlos Munoz 199
18 Charlie Kimball 172
19 Conor Daly 155
20 Spencer Pigot 142
21 Sebastien Bourdais 136
22 Ed Carpenter 124
23 Juan Pablo Montoya 93
24 Gabby Chaves 83
25 Oriol Servia 61
26 Fernando Alonso 47
27 Esteban Gutierrez 40
28 Sebastian Saavedra 33
29 Pippa Mann 32
30 Jay Howard 24
31 Zach Veach 23
32 Sage Karam 23
33 James Davison 21
34 Jack Harvey 17
35 Tristan Vautier 15
36 Buddy Lazier 14

VIDEO: Race highlights

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