Ganassi's Scott Dixon beats Penske pack for Phoenix IndyCar win

Reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon claimed the first oval win of the 2016 season at Phoenix, taking advantage of a pair of Team Penske tyre failures

Ganassi's Scott Dixon beats Penske pack for Phoenix IndyCar win

Polesitter Helio Castroneves maintained the lead from the start, with team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya able to pass Tony Kanaan in the opening laps to underline the Penske Dallara-Chevrolet pair's speed.

But Castroneves was forced into an early first pitstop after a right front tyre failure that put him out of race-winning contention.

That left Montoya leading Kanaan by 0.9 seconds before the first race to the pits, which was prompted by a Turn 2 spin on lap 50 of the 250 for oval debutant Luca Filippi.

Montoya maintained the lead coming out of the pits, but a similar front right tyre failure around 40 laps into the stint meant he was forced to pit and handed the lead to Dixon.

From there the four-time IndyCar champion was able to control the race from the front, aided by a host of cautions through the middle of the race.

First Carlos Munoz underlined his torrid weekend with another slam into the wall, following on from his qualifying shunt, before a touch between Charlie Kimball and Josef Newgarden prompted another full-course caution.

A handful of laps later Sebastien Bourdais touched the wall attempting a pass on Montoya, followed by Ed Carpenter crashing in Turn 3 and retiring.

The race finished under yellow flags to confirm Dixon's 39th IndyCar win after a late touch into the wall by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who managed to hold 10th.

Simon Pagenaud and Will Power completed the podium for Team Penske, as the latter returned after being forced to sit out St Petersburg.

The Chevys dominated the season's first oval race with Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal the only Honda runners able to challenge for the top five.

Andretti driver Hunter-Reay was able to gain several places on each of the restarts while Rahal's clean race allowed him to finish fifth despite a lowly 19th qualifying spot.

Max Chilton finished highest of the rookies in seventh, while Montoya and Castroneves ended the race ninth and 11th respectively.

RESULTS - 250 LAPS

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1h49m38.3855s
2 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 0.6825s
3 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1.7264s
4 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1.9589s
5 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 2.5272s
6 Josef Newgarden Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 2.7457s
7 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 2.9914s
8 Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 3.9491s
9 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 4.4548s
10 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 5.2143s
11 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 8.0324s
12 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 9.3366s
13 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 10.0918s
14 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 13.0555s
15 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 1 Lap
16 Conor Daly Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1 Lap
17 Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 2 Laps
18 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 2 Laps
19 Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 4 Laps
20 Luca Filippi Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 7 Laps
21 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet Contact
22 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda Contact

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Pos Driver Points
1 Simon Pagenaud 83
2 Scott Dixon 79
3 Juan Pablo Montoya 74
4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 56
5 Tony Kanaan 54
6 Helio Castroneves 53
7 Graham Rahal 44
8 Mikhail Aleshin 43
9 Takuma Sato 43
10 Max Chilton 39
11 Charlie Kimball 38
12 Will Power 36
13 Josef Newgarden 36
14 Alexander Rossi 34
15 Sebastien Bourdais 33
16 Carlos Munoz 32
17 Marco Andretti 32
18 Conor Daly 32
19 Jack Hawksworth 30
20 James Hinchcliffe 23
21 Luca Filippi 20
22 Spencer Pigot 16
23 Oriol Servia 12
24 Ed Carpenter 9


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