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Barber IndyCar: Newgarden withstands late Rahal charge to win

Josef Newgarden survived a late charge from Graham Rahal to take his first career IndyCar win in a thrilling race at Barber

Newgarden had announced himself as an early contender by jumping from his starting position of fifth to third in the first corner.

He moved into the lead for the first time by beating Helio Castroneves off pit road after the first round of stops, and later reclaimed the position by doing the same thing to Scott Dixon at the beginning of the final stint.

At that point the CFH driver had amassed a comfortable lead, but he and Dixon were also having to carefully watch their fuel and tyres over their final stint.

That created an opportunity for Rahal, who had gone off strategy earlier in the race when he elected not to pit during the second full-course caution.

Rahal's gamble paid off when he made his final stop eight laps later than the leaders, and rejoined in sixth, with more fuel and fresher tyres than everyone ahead of him.

He quickly picked off Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Castroneves to get himself on the podium, but was still more than 10 seconds behind Dixon and almost 18s off Newgarden with just eight laps to run.

Those gaps were rapidly slashed: two laps before the end he'd caught Dixon; one lap later he passed him for second. He crossed the line just 2.2s down on Newgarden.

"I was so nervous [over the final laps]," said Newgarden. "And I'm not usually nervous in races.

"It has been such a long time coming. I knew one of these days it was going to happen with this team, they're so solid ... I want to thank everyone who helped make me an IndyCar driver."

Dixon was left to settle for third.

"Fuel was not a problem today," said the Ganassi driver, who won at Long Beach last week. "We just couldn't hold on to the tyres."

Power was fourth, which was pretty remarkable after the reigning champion was issued a drive-through for clouting into the unsighted Takuma Sato as he exited the pits after his first stop.

Equally impressive was Hunter-Reay, who went off-strategy early on in an attempt to compensate for a poor qualifying position, was later run off the track by Sage Karam, and still managed to climb back to fifth.

If there was a loser from the race, it was Castroneves.

The Brazilian was sitting in fourth and stood to move into the championship lead when what he described as a "miscommunication" resulted in his running out of fuel on the final lap.

As a result, team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya, who had an awful afternoon due to a combination of a bad grid spot and two broken front wings, still manages to go to the next race at the IMS road course with a slender points advantage.

RESULTS - 90 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Josef Newgarden CFH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1h55m53.0630s
2 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 2.2061s
3 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 4.8371s
4 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 19.4903s
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 22.0663s
6 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 24.0595s
7 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 24.6529s
8 Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 25.4534s
9 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 30.6139s
10 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 33.4777s
11 Luca Filippi CFH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 34.1607s
12 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 34.6792s
13 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 35.3334s
14 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 36.6361s
15 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 39.4194s
16 Gabby Chaves Bryan Herta Autosport Dallara/Honda 45.8965s
17 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 50.8442s
18 Sage Karam Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 55.1372s
19 Stefano Coletti KV Racing Technology Dallara/Chevrolet 55.4160s
20 Rodolfo Gonzalez Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m07.9855s
21 Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 1m13.1828s
22 James Jakes Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1 Lap
23 Francesco Dracone Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1 Lap

DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP:

Pos Driver Points
1 Juan Pablo Montoya 136
2 Helio Castroneves 133
3 Scott Dixon 123
4 Josef Newgarden 119
5 Will Power 112
6 James Hinchcliffe 110
7 Tony Kanaan 110
8 Graham Rahal 103
9 Simon Pagenaud 96
10 Sebastien Bourdais 91
11 Carlos Munoz 84
12 Ryan Hunter-Reay 81
13 Marco Andretti 81
14 Luca Filippi 69
15 James Jakes 62
16 Charlie Kimball 58
17 Jack Hawksworth 57
18 Gabby Chaves 56
19 Takuma Sato 50
20 Simona de Silvestro 44
21 Stefano Coletti 41
22 Sage Karam 35
23 Francesco Dracone 30
24 Sebastian Saavedra 20
25 Carlos Huertas 20
26 Conor Daly 13
27 Rodolfo Gonzalez 10


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