Dixon takes Phoenix victory after Penske puncture woes

Scott Dixon secured his thirty-ninth career win after victory on the Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to the Phoenix International Raceway under the lights on Saturday evening.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver and reigning series champion led 155 laps of the one-mile oval after taking advantage of punctures for race leaders Helio Castroneves on lap 39 and Juan Pablo Montoya on lap 95 that saw the Team Penske duo drop out of contention.

Dixon had jumped ahead of team-mate Tony Kanaan during the opening round of pit stops that took place under caution when Italian Luca Filippi spun his Dale Coyne Racing entry on the exit of turn two on lap 50, and was able to control the race from the front when Montoya followed Castroneves into the pits with a right front puncture.

Simon Pagenaud secured the runners-up spot ahead of Team Penske team-mate Will Power after their respective pit crews were able to jump Kanaan in the pits, with the Brazilian ultimately being forced to settle for fourth at the chequered flag.

Graham Rahal drove a strong race to claim fifth place for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, finishing as the leading Honda-powered racer, while Josef Newgarden claimed sixth for Ed Carpenter Racing ahead of Max Chilton and Sebastien Bourdais.

Montoya made it back onto the lead lap and finished ninth, while Ryan Hunter-Reay ended tenth after a late mistake where the Andretti Autosport driver grazed the outside wall saw him damage his rear wing and lose some ground having been running eighth.

The race had ended under caution when Alexander Rossi struck the wall with two laps remaining, with the American suffering a puncture as he was attempting a pass on a backmarker, although the Andretti driver was able to continue to the flag in fourteenth, having run as high as seventh on his first oval event.

Carlos Munoz caused the second caution flag of the evening with a crash on the front straight in his Andretti machine on lap 120, while the third was caused when Newgarden and Charlie Kimball clashed at turn one on lap 134 that saw the Chip Ganassi Racing driver penalised with a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

Bourdais caused the fourth caution after touching the wall as he battled Montoya but was able to continue, before Ed Carpenter crashed out on lap 195 after running competitively inside the top four earlier in the race in his own team.

Phoenix International Raceway Race Result

19Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing1hr49m38.3855s
222Simon PagenaudFRATeam PenskeRunning
312Will PowerAUSTeam PenskeRunning
410Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi RacingRunning
515Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan RacingRunning
621Josef NewgardenUSAEd Carpenter RacingRunning
78Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi RacingRunning
811Sebastien BourdaisFRAKVSH RacingRunning
92Juan Pablo MontoyaCOLTeam PenskeRunning
1028Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti AutosportRunning
113Helio CastronevesBRZTeam PenskeRunning
1283Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi RacingRunning
1327Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti AutosportRunning
1498Alexander RossiUSAAndretti AutosportRunning
1514Takuma SatoJAPAJ Foyt Enterprises+1 Lap
1618Conor DalyUSADale Coyne Racing+1 Lap
177Mikhail AleshinRUSSchmidt Peterson Motorsports+2 Laps
185James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports+2 Laps
1941Jack HawksworthGBRAJ Foyt Enterprises+4 Laps
2019Luca FilippiITADale Coyne Racing+7 Laps
RET20Ed CarpenterUSAEd Carpenter RacingRetired
RET26Carlos MunozCOLAndretti AutosportRetired