IndyCar Detroit: Dixon beats Andretti cars for first win of 2018

Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon claimed his first win of the 2018 IndyCar season, holding off Ryan Hunter-Reay in the first of this weekend's races in Detroit

In a race that featured a mixture of strategies, Dixon utilised a two-stop approach while Hunter-Reay elevated himself from fifth place into race-winning contention by taking advantage of clean air after an early pitstop on a three-stop plan.

Dixon led the race entering the closing stages but had his advantage eradicated when Graham Rahal crashed at the high-speed Turn 14 right-hander on lap 47 of 70.

Both Dixon and Hunter-Reay had pitted in the two laps before that caution was called.

The Ganassi driver had the advantage of twice the level of push-to-pass compared Hunter-Reay in the closing stages but, when Carlin's Charlie Kimball pitched IndyCar rookie Santino Ferrucci into the barriers at Turn 7, Dixon was forced to survive another race restart with 10 laps remaining.

Successfully holding off Hunter-Reay, Dixon sealed victory by 1.8249 seconds with Alexander Rossi completing the podium in third.

Rossi battled for the final spot on the podium during the final race restart, passing Andretti team-mate and polesitter Marco Andretti around the outside of Turn 3. Andretti, who took his first pole since 2013 by nearly half a second, finished fourth.

He had led the race in the opening laps, but dropped to a de facto third after being jumped by Dixon and Rahal during the first pitstop phase.

Hunter-Reay made his way into second at his second stop, emerging narrowly ahead of the Andretti and Rossi battle with all three drivers requiring one more stop at that stage.

Andretti's pace deteriorated after he was passed by Rossi. He finished just three tenths ahead of fifth-placed Takuma Sato.

RLLR driver Sato was aggressive on the restart following Rahal's crash, passing Ed Jones. Although the two swapped places again later in the lap, Sato eventually cemented fifth place by pulling away from Jones after the final restart.

By crossing the line in sixth, Ganassi's Jones rounded out a top-six lock-out for Honda-powered cars, with Indianapoli 500 winner Will Power the first Chevrolet-powered driver in seventh.

His Penske team-mate and reigning champion Josef Newgarden lost eighth place in the closing stages to a charging Robert Wickens, who elevated his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-prepared machine from 10th to eighth after the final pitstops.

Wickens, who started the race from third, lost ground in the opening stint after struggling on the red-walled option tyre.

Spencer Pigot rounded out the top 10.

James Hinchcliffe finished 11th, after a picking up a drivethrough penalty at his first pitstop for crossing the pit exit line that dropped him to 20th.

Result - 70 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1h39m24.6189s
2 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1.8249s
3 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 4.1771s
4 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 11.5191s
5 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 11.8757s
6 Ed Jones Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 13.7649s
7 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 15.0733s
8 Robert Wickens Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 21.4715s
9 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 21.5622s
10 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 21.9523s
11 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 22.3158s
12 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 23.0621s
13 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 23.3441s
14 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 26.1877s
15 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 26.5471s
16 Jordan King Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 27.0156s
17 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 29.8038s
18 Gabby Chaves Harding Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 33.7246s
19 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 34.0911s
20 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 34.8584s
21 Rene Binder Juncos Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 3 Laps
22 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda Contact
23 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda Contact

Leading drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Alexander Rossi 276
2 Scott Dixon 272
3 Will Power 269
4 Josef Newgarden 255
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay 227
6 Robert Wickens 202
7 Graham Rahal 191
8 Sebastien Bourdais 185
9 Marco Andretti 175
10 Simon Pagenaud 168

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