Scott Dixon wins in the IndyCar return to Phoenix International Raceway
Reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon wins in the IndyCar return to the Phoenix International Raceway. Chip Ganassi Racing’s driver won the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix ahead of two Team Penske’s drivers Simon Pagenaud and Will Power. After two races of the 2016 season, Pagenaud took the lead in the points standings.
Chequered flag under the caution
The 250-lap race at the historic 1.022-mile oval was finished under the caution after rookie Alexander Rossi (Andretti Herta Autosport) made contact with the wall two laps from the finish. It was the 39th win in Dixon’s Indy career and his first victory in Phoenix.
The race, which marked the IndyCar’s return to Phoenix International Raceway for the first time since 2005, saw four cautions period for a total of 56 laps. During the last caution period, Dixon crossed the finish line as a winner and took 101th victory for the Ganassi team.
Pagenaud took the championship lead
Dixon started from sixth place and took the lead with a good pit stop strategy. He led for 155 laps to win ahead Simon Pagenaud, who finished second for the second consecutive race and took over the lead in points standings. Pagenaud has 83 points and leads Dixon by four.
Will Power, who missed the season-opening race at St. Petersburg, took the final spot on the podium ahead of Chip Ganassi’s Tony Kanaan. Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan) was the best Honda driver in the fifth place.
Tire problems for two leaders
Josef Newgarden (Ed Carpenter Racing) finished sixth, ahead of the highest-finishing rookie Max Chilton (Chip Ganassi). Juan Pablo Montoya (Team Penske) finished ninth and took third place in the points standings. Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport) rounded the Top 10.
Helio Castroneves, who started from the pole position, cut the right-front tire early in the race and he was forced to pit from the lead. He finished 11th. The same thing happened to Montoya, who was leading for 56 laps and lost the lead because of a cut tire.
The next IndyCar Series race is Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 17th.