Texas IndyCar: Ganassi's Scott Dixon takes points lead with win

Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon surged into the IndyCar championship lead after a controlled victory at Texas Motor Speedway, taking advantage of Penske's woes

Texas IndyCar: Ganassi's Scott Dixon takes points lead with win

Penske had taken a 1-2-3 in qualifying with Josef Newgarden leading Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, but two of the leading three were rendered virtual onlookers on race night.

Newgarden lost the early lead of the race due to a combination of significant tyre blistering - requiring an extra stop - and Chevrolet's fuel-mileage disadvantage compared to Honda.

The engine imbalance quickly played out to give Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' Robert Wickens and Dixon the edge approaching the halfway distance.

Wickens pitting from the lead at the halfway point gave Dixon the platform to go on to win.

The Ganassi driver, who had not led a lap in 2018 until last weekend's Detroit double-header, cruised to the front of the field.

But his lead was eradicated when Ed Carpenter turned in on the low-running Wickens and wiped the pair out on lap 173 of 243.

The leaders pitted for fuel and tyres under caution and Dixon lost chief rival Rossi due to a slow pitstop caused by the Andretti car's fuel hose initially failing to engage.

Dixon was again forced to hold his lead on a restart when Penske's Will Power collided with Dale Coyne Racing driver Zachary Claman de Melo and set up a 24-lap dash to the finish.

His charge to the flag was then completed virtually unchallenged, meaning Dixon opens up a 23-point series lead, after Pagenaud was dragged into holding off the fast-charging Rossi for second.

The Penske-run car of Pagenaud was the least affected by the tyre wear, while Rossi again starred on ovals with a series of overtakes that lifted him from eighth into the leading pack for his fifth podium of 2018.

SPM's James Hinchcliffe finished fourth after complaining of a slow car in Friday's qualifying that put him 15th on the grid.

He worked his way onto the lead lap but fell back a couple of places under the late restart.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was fifth for Andretti ahead of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal who continued his habit of racing well on ovals after qualifying poorly, having started the race in 20th.

His team-mate Takuma Sato was seventh ahead of his long-time battler Sebastien Bourdais in the DCR car run in partnership with Vasser and Sullivan.

Bourdais had been hurt by the Wickens/Carpenter-induced caution having been the first driver a lap down, alongside Newgarden, but recovered prior to the final yellow.

Ed Jones was ninth ahead of Carlin's Charlie Kimball in the British team's third top 10 result.

Newgarden ended the day in 13th after a woeful night was completed with a drivethrough penalty for jumping a restart.

He finished ahead of Marco Andretti, who lost a potential top-five finish to a stall in the pitlane.

AJ Foyt Racing had a nightmare race when Matheus Leist caused the first caution of the day on lap seven when his car caught fire.

Team-mate Tony Kanaan retired shortly later after colliding with the Turn 2 wall in an incident believed to be caused by a suspension-related failure.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 248 2h00m53.2155s
2 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 248 4.2943s
3 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 248 4.5670s
4 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 248 5.0869s
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 248 6.7301s
6 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 248 7.2744s
7 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 248 8.3457s
8 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 248 9.4523s
9 Ed Jones Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 248 25.0938s
10 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 247 1 Lap
11 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 247 1 Lap
12 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 247 1 Lap
13 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 244 4 Laps
14 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 244 4 Laps
15 Gabby Chaves Harding Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 240 8 Laps
16 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 238 10 Laps
17 Zachary Claman Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 205 Contact
18 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 204 Contact
19 Robert Wickens Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 171 Contact
20 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 168 Contact
21 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 31 Contact
22 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 5 Fire

Leading drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Scott Dixon 357
2 Alexander Rossi 334
3 Will Power 321
4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 308
5 Josef Newgarden 289
6 Graham Rahal 250
7 Robert Wickens 244
8 Simon Pagenaud 229
9 Sebastien Bourdais 218
10 Marco Andretti 213

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon
Author Tom Errington
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