Dixon wins eventful Toronto IndyCar race

Daniel Herrero

Monday 16th July, 2018 - 7:57am

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Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon has tightened his grip on the Verizon IndyCar Series after a restart mistake from Josef Newgarden ultimately handed the New Zealander victory in Toronto.

The pivotal moment came upon the first restart on Lap 34 when Newgarden, as leader, skated up to the wall on dirty track before the field had even made the control line.

Each of the other three title contenders also struck during the 85-lap race around the streets of Exhibition Place, including multiple problems for Will Power and Alexander Rossi during a chaotic first half of the race.

Pole-sitter Newgarden led the field through the opening corners from Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Power, Rossi, and Pagenaud, the latter of whom had been kept wide at Turn 1 due to a big dive from Power.

Takuma Sato quickly gained two positions to run fifth and he was the main mover by the time the front-runners reacted to Sebastien Bourdais’s slide into the wall and pitted on Laps 23 to 24.

Power jumped Hunter-Reay through the stops to sit effectively third before Hunter-Reay ran into the wall on Lap 28, prompting a Caution.

In an unrelated incident, his Andretti Autosport team-mate Alexander Rossi broke the front wing on the #27 Chevrolet when he rear-ended Power.

It was then that it became apparent that the Australian’s #12 Team Penske Chevrolet had a damaged right-rear toe link, likely a cause rather than symptom of the contact.

He pitted under the Caution, as did the wounded Andretti pair for new front wings, before the race-changing restart.

Not only did Newgarden glance the wall in the #1 Team Penske Chevrolet, dropping to fifth before he too had to pit to check the toe link, there was carnage at Turn 1.

Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) locked up and spun Max Chilton (#59 Carlin Chevrolet), with Power, Sebastien Bourdais (#18 DCR w/ Vasser-Sullivan Honda), and Hunter-Reay caught in the incident.

So too was Rossi, who launched off Hunter-Reay’s #28 Honda as he tried to drive through and had to return to the pits for a third front wing.

Robert Wickens had been lurking in the back half of the top 10 but a great restart had elevated the #6 Schmidt Peterson Honda to second position, behind Dixon.

Marco Andretti (#98 Andretti-Herta w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda) had been rising through the field and he passed Sato for fourth after a couple of attempts in the next short run of green flag racing.

That came to an end on Lap 42 due to Rene Binder and the stalled #32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet at Turn 8.

A third and final restart came on Lap 45, when Pagenaud had to defend his position from Marco Andretti.

The race finally settled down as Dixon and the #9 Chip Ganassi Honda skipped three seconds clear of Wickens.

The final pit stops cycle took place with around 30 laps remaining and Dixon held onto the effective lead despite trouble changing the right-front.

Pagenaud, however, got back onto the track in front of Wickens and the Canadian, brakes locked, nudged the #22 Team Penske Chevrolet through Turn 1.

He went to the outside of the Frenchman at Turn 3 only for Pagenaud to feed him towards the wall and keep the spot, but race control decided the manoeuvre was fair.

Dixon had been as many as eight seconds clear but that margin dropped to less than three seconds as the effective leader got stuck waiting for Hunter-Reay, who was trying to stay on the lead lap, to make his final pit stop.

The Kiwi even brushed the wall but, once released, was comfortable until the end and now leads Newgarden by 62 series points with five races remaining.

Pagenaud took the chequered flag over five seconds adrift, ahead of Canadians Wickens and James Hinchcliffe (#5 Schmidt Peterson Honda).

Charlie Kimball (#23 Carlin Chevrolet), Tony Kanaan (#14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet), and Zach Veach (#26 Andretti Autosport Honda) filled fifth through seventh.

Rossi and Newgarden managed to finish on the lead lap in eighth and ninth respectively, while Marco Andretti dropped from fourth to 10th when he had to pit for fuel with a lap remaining.

Hunter-Reay and Power were both running at finish in 16th and 18th, but Sato (#30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) was a DNF in 22nd after he hit the wall in the final 20 laps.

Race 13 is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on July 27-29 (local time).

Race results: Toronto

Pos Num Driver C/E/T Race time/Split Pit stops Status Grid pos
1 9 Scott Dixon D/H/F 1:37:00.3100 2 Running 2
2 22 Simon Pagenaud D/C/F +5.2701 2 Running 3
3 6 Robert Wickens (R) D/H/F +6.7753 2 Running 10
4 5 James Hinchcliffe D/H/F +18.3362 2 Running 9
5 23 Charlie Kimball D/C/F +18.8439 2 Running 20
6 14 Tony Kanaan D/C/F +30.4354 2 Running 15
7 26 Zach Veach (R) D/H/F +32.2732 2 Running 22
8 27 Alexander Rossi D/H/F +34.5257 6 Running 5
9 1 Josef Newgarden D/C/F +35.5755 3 Running 1
10 98 Marco Andretti D/H/F +38.9089 3 Running 14
11 20 Jordan King (R) D/C/F +39.3331 2 Running 8
12 10 Ed Jones D/H/F +42.3674 4 Running 21
13 88 Conor Daly D/C/F +46.5785 2 Running 11
14 19 Zachary Claman DeMelo (R) D/H/F +54.4973 2 Running 23
15 4 Matheus Leist (R) D/C/F +59.0749 5 Running 12
16 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay D/H/F +1 lap 5 Running 6
17 32 Rene Binder (R) D/C/F +2 laps 3 Running 19
18 12 Will Power D/C/F +2 laps 4 Running 4
19 18 Sebastien Bourdais D/H/F +2 laps 5 Running 17
20 21 Spencer Pigot D/C/F +9 laps 2 Contact 16
21 15 Graham Rahal D/H/F +17 laps 4 Running 13
22 30 Takuma Sato D/H/F +19 laps 2 Contact 7
23 59 Max Chilton D/C/F +51 laps 1 Contact 18

(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)yre: F=Firestone

Series points

Pos Driver Pts
1 Scott Dixon 464
2 Josef Newgarden 402
3 Alexander Rossi 394
4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 373
5 Will Power 371
6 Robert Wickens 339
7 Simon Pagenaud 320
8 Graham Rahal 313
9 James Hinchcliffe 312
10 Marco Andretti 266
11 Sebastien Bourdais 265
12 Takuma Sato 245
13 Ed Jones 240
14 Spencer Pigot 222
15 Tony Kanaan 215
16 Charlie Kimball 198
17 Zach Veach 191
18 Matheus Leist 171
19 Gabby Chaves 158
20 Max Chilton 156
21 Ed Carpenter 148
22 Zachary Claman DeMelo 122
23 Jordan King 108
24 Jack Harvey 53
25 Carlos Munoz 53
26 Rene Binder 52
27 Kyle Kaiser 45
28 Helio Castroneves 40
29 JR Hildebrand 38
30 Conor Daly 35
31 Stefan Wilson 31
32 Oriol Servia 27
33 Santino Ferrucci 18
34 Danica Patrick 13
35 Jay Howard 12
36 Alfonso Celis Jr 10
37 Sage Karam 10
38 James Davison 10
39 Pietro Fittipaldi 7

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