Dixon on front row for IndyCar finale

Speedcafe.com

Sunday 16th September, 2018 - 11:54am

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Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon has put himself in a strong position to win the Verizon IndyCar Series by qualifying on the front row for the final race of the year at Sonoma.

Dixon will start alongside Ryan Hunter-Reay, who did his title aspirant team-mate Alexander Rossi a small favour by preventing the New Zealander from gaining the pole position bonus point.

The #9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda sat on pole until Hunter-Reay’s (#28 Andretti Autosport Honda) late effort bettered Dixon’s by 0.1322s.

Rossi (#27 Andretti Autosport Honda), who trails Dixon by 29 points, will start from sixth have opted to not use a set of red alternate compound tyres in the Fast Six.

He will be joined on Row 3 by the shock of the afternoon in Indy Lights winner Patricio O’Ward (#8 Chevrolet), who is debuting in the extra Harding Racing entry.

Ahead of them are title longshot Josef Newgarden (#1 Team Penske Chevrolet) in third and Marco Andretti (#98 Andretti-Herta w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda) in fourth.

Will Power (#12 Chevrolet), tied with Newgarden at 87 points behind Dixon (and only 100 available to the winner, plus bonuses for laps led), starts seventh after getting caught out by trying to save red tyres.

He had made the top six on the grid for every other road course and street circuit race this year.

Alongside the Australian is Team Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud (#22 Chevrolet), ahead of Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) and Zach Veach (#26 Andretti Autosport Honda).

Sebastien Bourdais is one spot outside the top 10 in the #18 DCR w/ Vasser-Sullivan Honda.

The 2018 champion, which will certainly be Dixon if he finishes second or better, will be decided over 85 laps at Sonoma Raceway at 0840 AEST.

Highlights: Qualifying

Starting grid: Sonoma

Pos Num Driver C/E/T Time Session
1 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay D/H/F 1:17.6277 Fast Six
2 9 Scott Dixon D/H/F 1:17.7599 Fast Six
3 1 Josef Newgarden D/C/F 1:17.7937 Fast Six
4 98 Marco Andretti D/H/F 1:17.7999 Fast Six
5 8 Patricio O’Ward (R) D/C/F 1:17.9737 Fast Six
6 27 Alexander Rossi D/H/F 1:18.0019 Fast Six
7 12 Will Power D/C/F 1:17.6495 Round 2 / Top 12
8 22 Simon Pagenaud D/C/F 1:17.7489 Round 2 / Top 12
9 15 Graham Rahal D/H/F 1:17.9043 Round 2 / Top 12
10 26 Zach Veach (R) D/H/F 1:17.9111 Round 2 / Top 12
11 18 Sebastien Bourdais D/H/F 1:17.9242 Round 2 / Top 12
12 30 Takuma Sato D/H/F 1:17.9919 Round 2 / Top 12
13 19 Pietro Fittipaldi (R) D/H/F 1:18.5281 Round 1 / Group 1
14 10 Ed Jones D/H/F 1:18.5088 Round 1 / Group 2
15 5 James Hinchcliffe D/H/F 1:18.5740 Round 1 / Group 1
16 60 Jack Harvey (R) D/H/F 1:18.5892 Round 1 / Group 2
17 21 Spencer Pigot D/C/F 1:18.6687 Round 1 / Group 1
18 14 Tony Kanaan D/C/F 1:18.5966 Round 1 / Group 2
19 88 Colton Herta (R) D/C/F 1:18.6823 Round 1 / Group 1
20 39 Santino Ferrucci (R) D/H/F 1:18.6172 Round 1 / Group 2
21 59 Max Chilton D/C/F 1:18.7536 Round 1 / Group 1
22 6 Carlos Munoz D/H/F 1:18.7211 Round 1 / Group 2
23 4 Matheus Leist (R) D/C/F 1:18.9665 Round 1 / Group 1
24 23 Charlie Kimball D/C/F 1:18.8495 Round 1 / Group 2
25 20 Jordan King (R) D/C/F 1:19.1519 Round 1 / Group 2

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

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