St Petersburg IndyCar: Newgarden beats Dixon, Rosenqvist stars

Team Penske's Josef Newgarden won the IndyCar season-opener in St Petersburg, beating reigning champion Scott Dixon

St Petersburg IndyCar: Newgarden beats Dixon, Rosenqvist stars

Newgarden began the race from the front row but dropped behind rookie sensation Felix Rosenqvist into third at the start.

The critical moment came around half-distance, where Newgarden stayed out longer than team-mate and race leader Will Power and Chip Ganassi Racing driver Rosenqvist during the second pitstop phase.

Whereas the rest of the frontrunners stopped for the harder black-sidewalled tyres, Newgarden opted for the softer compound for that stint and emerged in a lead that he was able to build.

Ganassi's Dixon also jumped both Power and Rosenqvist during those stops, and pressured Newgarden in the final stint when both were on the harder tyres.

As Newgarden struggled to get past backmarker Marco Andretti, Dixon closed what had been a seven-second gap down to just under two.

But Newgarden resisted, eventually winning by just under three seconds.

Polesitter Power rounded off the podium, ahead of Rosenqvist - who led early on after passing Power on the first restart, which followed a caution period for Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay's day coming to a premature end due to an engine issue.

Rosenqvist lost the lead to Power at the first stops, and then fell to fourth when he next pitted.

Four Honda-powered cars failed to reach the chequered flag due to mechanical problems, as 2017/18 race winner Sebastien Bourdais, Hunter-Reay, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Takuma Sato and debutant Marcus Ericsson all retired.

The only other caution period was due to a collision involving Ed Carpenter Racing with Scuderia Corsa's Ed Jones and AJ Foyt Enterprises' Matheus Leist.

Jones clipped the inside of Turn 9, sending him into the barriers, and Leist had some oversteer while trying to avoid it and clipped his wheel against Jones's car. Both were out on the spot.

Rookies Colton Herta and Santino Ferrucci both had strong results, finishing eighth and ninth respectively after their respective qualifying woes.

Last year's championship runner-up Alexander Rossi rounded out the top five after a somewhat uneventful race. He beat Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' James Hinchcliffe and Penske's Simon Pagenaud, the latter having started 13th.

Jack Harvey achieved his and Meyer Shank Racing's first IndyCar top 10 finish in 10th.

Spencer Pigot - another driver to experiment with the softer tyres through the race - finished 11th, ahead of Graham Rahal, who opted for a four-stop strategy.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 110 2h04m18.2588s
2 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 110 2.8998s
3 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 110 12.7442s
4 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 110 14.5858s
5 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 110 18.3616s
6 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 110 31.1596s
7 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 110 31.4401s
8 Colton Herta Harding Racing Dallara/Honda 110 40.4700s
9 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 110 57.6029s
10 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 110 59.1909s
11 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 110 1m02.6866s
12 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 109 1 Lap
13 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 109 1 Lap
14 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 109 1 Lap
15 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 109 1 Lap
16 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 109 1 Lap
17 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 109 1 Lap
18 Ben Hanley DragonSpeed Dallara/Chevrolet 108 2 Laps
19 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 75 Mechanical
20 Marcus Ericsson Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 54 Mechanical
21 Ed Jones Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 25 Contact
22 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 25 Contact
23 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 19 Mechanical
24 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 11 Mechanical

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Josef Newgarden 53
2 Scott Dixon 40
3 Will Power 37
4 Felix Rosenqvist 33
5 Alexander Rossi 31
6 James Hinchcliffe 28
7 Simon Pagenaud 26
8 Colton Herta 24
9 Santino Ferrucci 22
10 Jack Harvey 20
11 Spencer Pigot 19
12 Graham Rahal 18
13 Marco Andretti 17
14 Zach Veach 16
15 Tony Kanaan 15
16 Max Chilton 14
17 Charlie Kimball 13
18 Ben Hanley 12
19 Takuma Sato 11
20 Marcus Ericsson 10
21 Ed Jones 9
22 Matheus Leist 8
23 Ryan Hunter-Reay 7
24 Sebastien Bourdais 6


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About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon , Josef Newgarden , Felix Rosenqvist
Author Craig Woollard
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