After a hectic start and dramatic finish to the first race of the REV Group Grand Prix Presented by AMR Doubleheader at Road America, Scott Dixon came out on top yet again to win his third consecutive race in 2020, the first time in his career that he’s won three straight INDYCAR races.
At the drop of the green flag, Ryan Hunter-Reay shot to second place by turn one. Jack Harvey, who started second, slipped down to fifth by turn five as Santino Ferrucci dipped a tyre into the grass and made it three wide with Harvey and Will Power.
Rookie Rinus Veekay made a brilliant move in the carousel around Simon Pagenaud on the opening lap, very gutsy by the young dutchman.
The opening lap was not kind to Andretti Autosport cars as Alexander Rossi and Marco Andretti both hit foam sponsor boards and had to pit to remove them on the next lap. To make matters worse, Andretti was hit with a speeding penalty entering the pitlane.
That same lap, Zach Veach made for another Andretti car off track, as he went off in the same corner Rossi did.
Early on in the race, Will Power was on the radio reporting an issue with power output in second gear. It clearly didn’t hamper him much as he worked his way back towards the front.
On lap eight, Graham Rahal dived under Hunter-Reay in turn five. Rahal immediately blitzed away and got a gap of two seconds by the end of the lap once he got past the #28 car. As Hunter-Reay’s red wall Firestone option tyres began to fade, Santino Ferrucci made the same move Rahal did, with an audacious dive into turn 5 that he made stick.
On lap 12, drivers like Power and Pagenaud started to open the first cycle of pit stops. Josef Newgarden pit on lap 14 for primary black wall tyres from the lead, giving the top spot to Rahal who was attempting the overcut. Disaster struck on pit road as there was an issue with getting fuel in the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda. Rahal slowly clawed his way back through the field to finish in the top 10.
By the second stint the race was much more calm, and come lap 25 Dixon was one of the first cars to pit for another set of primary tyres. Leader Newgarden came in on lap 27 and stalled the car not once but twice.
Due to Newgarden’s issues on pit road, Dixon’s undercut put him right in the mix for the race lead with Power.
On lap 38 Jack Harvey lost the brakes on his car and ended up in the gravel trap in turn three, bringing out the first caution at Road America in three years. Everyone came in under yellow, and it was on pit road where Dixon would make his pass for the lead that he wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the race.
More heartbreak came in the pits this time for Santino Ferrucci, who after running in third for most of the afternoon was caught in a minor collision with Dalton Kellett, costing him what could have been a podium.
Felix Rosenqvist’s poor 2020 continued after having engine issues despite running in the top 10 for most of the day. Marco Andretti had more issues as his car lost power on track just as the field was getting ready for a restart.
The green eventually came out with 14 laps to go and without even one full lap of green flag racing the yellow was back out again as Patricio O’Ward made contact with Conor Daly in turn 7. Daly initially saved the car, but it was too late as he smashed the tire walls in a hard collision. Despite reporting that his shoulder hurt immediately after the wreck, he was okay.
Under this caution, Josef Newgarden pit for new primary tyres as he had flat spotted his option tyres in turn 1 trying to pass Santino Ferrucci.
The green flag came out once again with 11 laps to go and yet again the caution came right back out. Dalton Kellett, who was in the earlier incident with Ferrucci on pit lane, ended up beached in turn 14. Due to restart order being done by the last timing line, rookie Alex Palou of Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh , who we haven’t mentioned until now, had a brilliant dive into turn one under Hunter-Reay negated, but got the move done much easier when the green came out again with eight laps left.
Immediately on the restart, Scott Dixon checked out and had already gapped Power by 1.2 seconds. No more cautions would plague the race, but more problems would come for Alexander Rossi and the Andretti team as contact with Max Chilton broke his left front steering arm, ending his day. Rossi hasn’t led a single lap of INDYCAR competition since he dominated this same race last season.
Dixon ended up crossing the line in first place ahead of Power and Palou, who got his first career podium in INDYCAR in only his third race in the series. Dixon is the first driver to win the first three races of the season since Sebastien Bourdais won the first four races of the season in 2006 in the Champ Car series, the start of his third championship winning campaign.
|1||9||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||1:54:09.869|
|2||12||Will Power||Team Penske||+2.538|
|3||55||Alex Palou (R)||Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh||+3.192|
|4||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||+3.984|
|5||88||Colton Herta||Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport||+7.249|
|6||18||Santino Ferrucci||Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan||+8.200|
|7||15||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||+11.355|
|8||5||Pato O”Ward||Arrow McLaren SP||+14.784|
|9||30||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||+15.004|
|10||8||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing||+15.766|
|11||4||Charlie Kimball||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||+16.170|
|12||22||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||+17.623|
|13||21||Rinus Veekay (R)||Ed Carpenter Racing||+19.114|
|14||1||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||+19.184|
|15||7||Oliver Askew (R)||Arrow McLaren SP||+20.977|
|16||26||Zach Veach||Andretti Autosport||+22.649|
|18||10||Felix Rosenqvist||Chip Ganassi Racing||Mechanical|
|19||27||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Crash|
|20||14||Dalton Kellett (R)||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Crash|
|21||20||Conor Daly||Ed Carpenter Racing||Crash|
|22||98||Marco Andretti||Andretti Herta Autosport||Mechanical|
|23||60||Jack Harvey||Meyer Shank Racing||Crash|