Portland IndyCar: Dixon extends points lead as Sato wins wild race

Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon survived a wild race at Portland to extend his points lead into the final IndyCar weekend of the season, as Takuma Sato took victory

Portland IndyCar: Dixon extends points lead as Sato wins wild race

The race lasted just three corners before a huge crash triggered by Zach Veach squeezing James Hinchcliffe at the exit of the Festival Chicane, unsettling the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-run machine.

Hinchcliffe collected the cars of Dixon and his Ganassi team-mate Ed Jones, as well as Graham Rahal, and Marco Andretti was vaulted over Hinchcliffe before his car landed upside down. All the drivers were uninjured.

Dixon somehow emerged virtually unscathed and continued, using the subsequent full-course caution to top-up on fuel and put on fresh tyres in a strategy mirrored by the likes of Sebastien Bourdais, as they gambled on running longer in the first stint but still matching the conventional three-stop strategy.

The early stops and removal of several cars helped Sato climb from his starting position of 20th up into the midfield and he ran longer than anyone else in the opening stints.

That placed him perfectly when Dale Coyne Racing's Santino Ferrucci, returning to IndyCar after his controversial exit from Formula 2, ran out of fuel with 30 laps to go.

That triggered a full-course yellow and encouraged all but Carlin's Max Chilton to pit for a final stop and sprint to the finish.

Sato's quick stop meant he rejoined behind only Chilton at the restart, assuming the lead when the Carlin driver subsequently pitted.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Sato held enough push-to-pass and fuel in reserve to hold off the rapidly advancing Ryan Hunter-Reay and score his first IndyCar victory since the 2017 Indianapolis 500.

Hunter-Reay regularly ran inside the top three despite starting the race on the slower black-walled tyre compound and was also able to run longer stints than his rivals.

Bourdais, who won the previous Portland race in 2007, finished third, despite taking damage in the lap one pile-up.

Fourth went to Spencer Pigot, who impressively dispatched Dixon with an expert pass late on.

But Dixon's fifth place means he extends his championship lead to 29 points with just the double-points finale at Sonoma to go.

Having survived the lap one excursion, Dixon was hit with a pitlane speeding violation during his recovery drive, which could have hampered his title bid.

But the Ganassi man was helped by poor strategies from Alexander Rossi and reigning IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden, with both drivers stopping at the three-quarters distance and getting dragged into the midfield.

Rossi had led at the start, having used Hunter-Reay as his buffer, but could only finish eighth, three places down on Dixon.

Outside title contender Newgarden finished down in 10th, failing to make up ground once Rossi dispatched him late on.

Will Power, who was also on the fringes of the title race, had a nightmare day. While leading after running longer than Rossi in the first stint, he suffered a gearbox problem that prevented him using first gear.

He dropped down the field before later clouting the tyre wall at Turn 12 after running wide and becoming unsettled in the previous corner.

He fell to 21st after a stop to examine his gearbox and repair the damage to his car.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 105 2h00m09.7537s - CLA
2 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 105 2h00m10.3621s 0.6084s CLA
3 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 105 2h00m11.5803s 1.8266s CLA
4 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 105 2h00m14.3094s 4.5557s CLA
5 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 105 2h00m15.0752s 5.3215s CLA
6 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 105 2h00m21.2142s 11.4605s CLA
7 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 105 2h00m21.7594s 12.0057s CLA
8 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 105 2h00m23.1306s 13.3769s CLA
9 Pietro Fittipaldi Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 105 2h00m28.1290s 18.3753s CLA
10 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 105 2h00m29.5581s 19.8044s CLA
11 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 105 2h00m31.8899s 22.1362s CLA
12 Carlos Munoz Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 105 2h00m32.4606s 22.7069s CLA
13 Gabby Chaves Harding Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 105 2h00m33.4675s 23.7138s CLA
14 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 105 2h00m39.5495s 29.7958s CLA
15 Jordan King Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 105 2h00m41.8889s 32.1352s CLA
16 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 105 2h00m42.1728s 32.4191s CLA
17 Alfonso Celis Juncos Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 105 2h00m58.5575s 48.8038s CLA
18 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 105 2h01m04.9660s 55.2123s CLA
19 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 104 2h00m45.9269s 1 Lap CLA
20 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 101 2h00m42.3067s 4 Laps CLA
21 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 98 2h00m43.9627s 7 Laps CLA
22 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 76 1h53m35.4864s 29 Laps CLA
23 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 4 1h28m13.1705s Contact CLA
24 Ed Jones Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 0 0.9205s Contact CLA
25 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 0 1.0311s Contact CLA

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Scott Dixon 598
2 Alexander Rossi 569
3 Will Power 511
4 Josef Newgarden 511
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay 462
6 Simon Pagenaud 428
7 Robert Wickens 391
8 Graham Rahal 378
9 Sebastien Bourdais 369
10 James Hinchcliffe 361
11 Takuma Sato 341
12 Marco Andretti 332
13 Spencer Pigot 313
14 Ed Jones 303
15 Zach Veach 281
16 Tony Kanaan 276
17 Charlie Kimball 271
18 Matheus Leist 231
19 Max Chilton 205
20 Ed Carpenter 187
21 Gabby Chaves 187
22 Jordan King 141
23 Zachary Claman 122
24 Jack Harvey 77
25 Carlos Munoz 71
26 Pietro Fittipaldi 63
27 Rene Binder 61
28 Conor Daly 58
29 Kyle Kaiser 45
30 Helio Castroneves 40
31 J.R. Hildebrand 38
32 Stefan Wilson 31
33 Santino Ferrucci 28
34 Oriol Servia 27
35 Alfonso Celis 23
36 Danica Patrick 13
37 Jay Howard 12
38 James Davison 10
38 Sage Karam 10


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon , Takuma Sato
Author Tom Errington
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