Home / Racing / Dixon makes it three-in-a-row as stall halts Newgarden’s victory charge · RaceFans

Dixon makes it three-in-a-row as stall halts Newgarden’s victory charge · RaceFans

Josef Newgarden appeared to have the third round of the IndyCar championship at Road America well under control when he headed into the pits for his second refuelling stop.

Then the reigning champion’s Penske stalled – twice – and threw the door open for Scott Dixon to extend his victory run at the start of the season to three races.

Newgarden’s misfortune handed the lead to team mate Will Power, who fought tooth and nail to keep Dixon behind him after their first pit stops. But the lead changed hands again when they came into the pits for the final time.

Jack Harvey, who had shared the front row of the grid with Newgarden but been shuffled back to fifth on lap one, triggered a caution period when he skidded into a gravel trap with a suspected car problem. The field pitted en masse, Dixon following leader Power slightly too closely, and nudging his rival as they reached the pit lane speed limit line.

Power’s rear axle spun on the jacks, delaying his tyre change, and allowing Dixon through into the lead. It was a remarkable rise for the championship leader who had started ninth on the grid.

It wasn’t plain sailing from there to the chequered flag. After Harvey triggered the first caution period at Road America for three years, two more followed in quick succession, requiring Dixon to use his well-honed skills to keep Power at bay.

Conor Daly triggered the first, spinning into a wall while trying to go around the outside of Pato O’Ward. The third and final caution was provoked by Dalton Kellett, whose race ended in a gravel trap.

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While Power was unable to pass Dixon at either restart the third champion in the top three, Ryan Hunter-Reay, lost his rostrum place to Alex Palou. The rookie pursued Power closely over the run to the chequered flag.

Colton Herta collected fifth place ahead of Santino Ferrucci. The Coyne racer had an eventful day, running second early in the race, but lost time in his final pit stop when he was delayed by Kellett. He made a smart pass on Newgarden after the restart to recover sixth.

The luckless Graham Rahal came in seventh. He also held second early in proceedings, but a refuelling rig problem caused a lengthy first pit stop and ruined his day.

O’Ward took eighth after clashing with Simon Pagenaud, who went off and lost three places vainly trying to keep the McLaren SP driver behind. Ex-F1 drivers Takuma Sato and Marcus Ericsson completed the top 10, the latter throwing a better finish away with a last-lap spin at Canada corner.

Newgarden’s disappointing day was complete as he slipped to 14th at the flag behind Charlie Kimball, Pagenaud and Rinus VeeKay.

While Dixon’s season has got off to a near-perfect start, Alexander Rossi’s continues to be anything but. He and team mate Marco Andretti ran wide on lap one, collecting substantial chunks of advertising hoardings on their front wings, forcing early pit stops. Rossi later clashed with Max Chilton, picking up a puncture. Last year’s top non-Penske driver added a 19th-place finish to his 15th and 25th from the opening rounds.

He can at least console himself with the thought that he can make amends for it in tomorrow’s repeat race at the Elkhart Lake circuit, the mid-point of IndyCar’s punishing run of five rounds in 15 days.

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