Scott Dixon triumphs in Texas to take championship lead

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Credit: Chris Owens / Courtesy of IndyCar

Scott Dixon has taken his second win of the season in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series at the DXC Technology 600 from Texas Motor Speedway. With a majority of his championship rivals hitting trouble during last night’s race, Dixon was able to take over the lead of the championship, with the 2018 season now beyond its halfway point.

For the second race weekend in a row, Dixon and his Chip Ganassi Racing team executed a fantastic race. After starting seventh, Scott slowly picked off driver after driver to get up into the fight for the race lead. Rookie Robert Wickens had been running out front after overtaking the trio of Team Penske drivers, but a perfect pit-stop from Ganassi saw the lead change hands, with Dixon taking over the top spot from lap 130 of 248.

After that, Dixon would not relinquish the race lead. Two cautions would stack the field in the later stages, but ultimately, no one would be able to usurp the New Zealander. He would lead 119-laps en-route to the chequered flag on lap 248. The victory would be Scott’s second of the season, following up his superb drive in last weekend’s first race of the Duel in Detroit. The win would also be the forty-third of his career, putting him in third place in the all-time wins list behind A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti.

After the race, Dixon would speak about happy he was to be hitting his stride after a difficult start to the season earlier this year.

“We won two races and led a bunch of laps [in the past week]. That’s a positive,” Dixon said. “I think we had great speed at the start of the year. I was disappointed with how it went down at St. Pete, how it went down at Long Beach.

“The speed has been there. Unfortunately, we’ve either made mistakes as a team, I made a mistake, we just didn’t really hit our stride. It’s nice to finally show the speed the car has, the performance that the team has.”

A late-race battle over second place saw Simon Pagenaud just hold off the hard-charging Alexander Rossi, who, once again, displayed supreme bravery during some of his overtakes. The pair’s battle meant that neither could try and hunt down the race-leader; with both finishing four seconds behind Dixon at the chequered flag.

James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay would complete the top five, with fifth place earning Hunter-Reay another solid haul of points for the second weekend in a row. Graham Rahal once again fought back after a poor qualifying position, going from twentieth to a superb sixth place, just ahead of his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team-mate Takuma Sato in seventh place.

Dale Coyne Racing‘s Sebastien Bourdais would take eighth place, just ahead of Ganassi’s sophomore driver Ed Jones in ninth. Rounding out the top ten would be Charlie Kimball, who earned Carlin their first-ever top ten finish on an oval in the Verizon IndyCar Series. It was an encouraging race for the British team, with Kimball’s team-mate Max Chilton not far behind in twelfth place.

After leading the opening fifty-nine laps from pole position, Josef Newgarden‘s day took a turn for the worse when he was penalized for jumping a race restart. He would ultimately finish in thirteenth place, four laps down on the race leaders. It was a similarly tough day for his team-mate Will Power, who finished further back in eighteenth after colliding with Zachary Claman De Melo.

One of the stars early on in the race was Andretti Autosport rookie Zach Veach. The young American was passing cars left and right early on, only for his race to unravel when he made contact with the wall on the exit of turn two. He would be forced to pit for repairs and would fall ten laps down on the leaders en-route to a sixteenth place finish.

It was a case of what might have been for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports‘ Robert Wickens. The rookie once again defied expectations and raced fantastically in his first visit to Texas Motor Speedway; leading many laps early on. However, whilst trying to pass Ed Carpenter, who was a lap down, the pair would make contact into turn three, putting both into the wall and out of the race. A furious Wickens would put the blame on Carpenter, who could only apologise once both were released from the infield care centre.

Finally, it was a weekend to forget for A.J. Foyt Enterprises. Neither Tony Kanaan nor Matheus Leist would finish the race. In fact, they were the first two retirements. Leist would retire after just five laps after his #4 Chevrolet caught fire. Thankfully he got out of the car unscathed. Not long after, Kanaan would make contact with the wall and be forced into retirement with suspension damage.

With Dixon now in the lead of the championship, the Verizon IndyCar Series will head back to a road course for the tenth race of the 2018 season. The next race, the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America, takes place on Sunday, June 24.

Credit: Chris Owens / Courtesy of IndyCar

2018 Verizon IndyCar Series – DXC Technology 600 – Race results:

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