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IndyCar Gateway: Dixon avenges Indy 500 defeat by besting Sato in race one

Scott Dixon fended off a late charge from Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato at Gateway to record his 50th IndyCar career win and extend his championship points lead

The five-time series champion's Chip Ganassi machine had jumped long-term leader Patricio O'Ward (Arrow McLaren SP) in the final green-flag pit-stops on lap 162 of 200 to take a net lead, with Sato (Rahal Letterman Laningan) running 13 laps longer than Dixon.

However Sato's right-rear tyre change was slow and an 11-second stop denied him the opportunity to overcut Dixon.

Sato emerged in third place, but the ex-Formula 1 driver quickly passed O'Ward around the outside of Turn 1 with 21 laps remaining and set about closing the two second buffer to Dixon.

With fresher Goodyear tyres and less fuel aboard, Sato soon closed to within 0.3s but was unable to make a move on Dixon, who recorded his fourth win of 2020 and became just the third driver after A.J Foyt (67) and Mario Andretti (52) to reach the landmark of 50 wins in US open wheel racing.

O'Ward, who had undercut poleman Will Power at the first round of pitstops around lap 63, took his second top three result of the season ahead of Colton Herta's Andretti Autosport machine.

After starting fourth, Marcus Ericsson made it two Ganassi finishers in the top five with an effective drive to fifth, his second top five of the campaign.

Rinus Veekay ran off-strategy for a majority of the race, often pitting around 15 laps before the pack, and this brought the Dale Coyne Racing rookie sixth place ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti) and Felix Rosenqvist (Ganassi).

In what is expected to be his final non-Indy 500 weekend in IndyCar, 2004 champion Tony Kanaan scored his best result in over a year by bringing his A.J Foyt Racing entry home in ninth, one place ahead of Carlin's Conor Daly.

Reigning champion Josef Newgarden's race was scuppered by a brief lap 109 caution for weather.

Newgarden and Penske team-mate Power had made their second pitstops in the laps prior to the caution, and did not have time to cycle out before the yellows were flown.

Whilst Power could only finish a twice-lapped 17th after pitting for a puncture on lap 134 and having to make another late stop, Newgarden salvaged a 12th place finish.

Before the race had even started, Alexander Rossi was taken out in a bizarre incident triggered by Alex Palou breaking out of line early just before the start.

Simon Pagenaud had to brake sharply to avoid Palou but was then rammed by McLaren's Oliver Askew and tagged Rossi as he spun.

Rossi's front right clipped the wall, and further contact including team-mates Marco Andretti and Zach Veach eliminated all three, as well as Ed Carpenter - whose Indy 500 was ruined by lap one contact with Veach.

Pagenaud struggled on to lap 67 before he retired with gearbox gremlins.

Results - 200 laps

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 1h44m30.7944s
2 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan 0.1404s
3 Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP 7.0052s
4 Colton Herta Andretti Harding 7.7019s
5 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing 8.3504s
6 Rinus Van Kalmthout Ed Carpenter Racing 12.4145s
7 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 13.0556s
8 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing 13.8107s
9 Tony Kanaan A.J. Foyt Enterprises 15.0319s
10 Conor Daly Carlin 15.6721s
11 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing 16.2600s
12 Josef Newgarden Team Penske 16.8155s
13 Charlie Kimball A.J. Foyt Enterprises 21.4079s
14 Oliver Askew Arrow McLaren SP 24.0143s
15 Alex Palou Dale Coyne Racing 24.6954s
16 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan 27.0938s
17 Will Power Team Penske 2 Laps
18 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Mechanical
19 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Contact
20 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Contact
21 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Contact
22 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Contact
23 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Contact


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Previous article Will Power and Takuma Sato share pole for Gateway IndyCar double-header
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