Scott Dixon comes out on top in a thrilling return to Phoenix International Raceway. This comes after Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya would suffer tire troubles while leading early in the race. This win puts Dixon at 39 wins putting him even with Al Unser for fourth all-time in IndyCar wins.
“The Target car was fast, really, really fast,” said Dixon. “I think at any point we had enough for anybody that was challenging. We definitely, definitely had some speed in reserve for sure.”
Helio Castroneves would start from pole leading early until lap 39 when he would suffer a puncture. This would allow Juan Pablo Montoya to take the lead with Tony Kanaan not far behind. Montoya would also run into trouble on lap 95 when he would fall off of pace due to a tire failure. Kanaan would take the lead afterwards. This would put half of the Penske squad a lap down. Montoya and Castroneves would fight back for ninth and eleventh place finishes.
While under caution Scott Dixon would take the lead from his teammate Kanaan. After getting caught out Ryan Hunter-Reay would be sent to the back of the field pitting just laps before the caution would come out. Hunter-Reay would fight back only to be sent back to 10th after being caught out again by another caution. “I couldn’t believe that happened twice and it’s a shame because we were pretty strong,”
Charlie Kimball would serve a drive through penalty after avoidable contact with Josef Newgarden. The incident would send Kimball spinning and breaking off part of Newgardens wing forcing them both to pit. That wouldn’t be the last of Ed Carpenter Racing’s troubles. Ed Carpenter would try passing Will Power making Carpenter slow allowing Graham Rahal to pass. This would send Carpenter into the wall ending his race and bring out the penultimate caution.
During the last round of pitstops Simon Pagenaud crew would help get the frenchmen out into second place. Pagenaud though not showing as much speed as Dixon, Kanaan, or Power would fight to a second place finish giving him the points lead in the championship.
“I was content to finish second after my guys did such a fantastic job in the pits.”
After battling sickness and missing the first round Will Power would finish a solid hard fought third.
The third place finish would catapult Power from last with zero points to 11th place in the points standings.
Max Chilton in his oval debut would impress running in the top 10 for most of the race and could even could be seen in the top 5. During post race interviews Graham Rahal who was the top finishing Honda in fifth place would go on to say that “Chilton had the fastest car.”
IndyCar will be back in two weeks at Long Beach where Scott Dixon looks to defend his race win from last season.
Featured Image Credit – indycar.com