Josef Newgarden moved within striking distance of IndyCar championship leader Scott Dixon with an emphatic victory in the 12th race of the season on the Indianapolis road course.
In the first of two races this weekend, Newgarden took victory from second on the grid, after being relegated to third place on the opening lap.
Colton Herta muscled his way forward from third on the grid to take the lead from pole winner Rinus Veekay at the start. But Veekay, having started on the softer alternate tyres, began the second lap on the tail of Herta’s primary-shod car, and the pair thrillingly disputed the lead for a lap, Veekay eventually emerging on top.
Veekay drew clear while Herta fell into Newgarden’s clutches. The Penske driver held back initially, conserving his fuel, easing his way into the lead via the pit stops later in the race.
Veekay and Herta fell victim to a charge by Alexander Rossi to second place, though the Andretti driver finished over 14 second behind the winner. VeeKay improved on his fourth place at Gateway with third, the best finish of his rookie season so far.
Dixon finished ninth from a lowly 12th on the grid after his qualifying session was disrupted by a red flag triggered by Takuma Sato. He slipped back on the first lap and was passed by Santino Ferrucci, though the Coyne driver’s race was spoiled by a needless tangle with Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Ahead of Dixon were his team mate Felix Rosenqvist in fifth, Will Power who slipped from fourth early on to sixth at the flag, Graham Rahal who recovered from an early spin, and Jack Harvey. The third Ganassi car of Marcus Ericsson completed the top 10.
Having arrived at Indianapolis 72 points behind Dixon, Newgarden goes into tomorrow’s race only 40 adrift. The season is due to finish on the streets of St Petersburg later this month.
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2020 F1 season