Scott Dixon was untouchable for almost the entirety of IndyCar’s first race of the season from Texas Motor Speedway, earning a win to start the year off right.
The five-time champion didn’t quite earn the pole position, but was quickly able to advance from second up to the lead and had the car to beat all evening. The only challenge was from Chip Ganassi team-mate Felix Rosenqvist near the end of the race, but Dixon never lost his grip on the top spot.
With only ten laps remaining, Rosenqvist was attempting to pass a lapped James Hinchcliffe to make a late charge for the lead when both cars washed up into the slicker high groove in turn two. The Swede couldn’t keep control of his car and spun into the wall, ending what was a great run and essentially cementing Dixon’s victory.
Penske team-mates Simon Pagenaud and pole sitter Josef Newgarden battled tire vibrations all night, but ended up finishing second and third respectively. Last year’s Indy 500 winner and last year’s IndyCar series champion will be happy to start their season with a good haul of points and will certainly be in contention in future rounds.
Behind them, Zach Veach was able to lock in a solid fourth place run. The top-finishing Andretti Autosport driver equaled his career best finish with his impressive result.
Ed Carpenter rounded out the top five, but the owner/driver had his night slightly dampened by the knowledge that his team-mate Rinus Veekay crashed out of the race and damaged his car for the second time of the day.
Conor Daly earned his best result since 2016 by coming home sixth in the lone Carlin entry. Colton Herta and Ryan Hunter-Reay finished seventh and eighth respectively, the latter impressively recovering from an ECU problem just before the race got underway.
In fact, Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, and Graham Rahal all had the side pods of their Dallaras open as everyone else pulled out to begin their pace laps before the green flag. The consequence of their teams making necessary last minute changes was all three starting from the back of the field.
Oliver Askew, the race’s only rookie finisher, came home in a solid ninth place and Tony Kanaan came home tenth in the first race of his final IndyCar season
Will Power’s day hit a setback when he pulled away from his pit stall without a right rear tire. The 2014 series champion was only able to manage a thirteenth place finish.
Takuma Sato did not get a chance to improve on his 15th place finish from last year because, after hitting the wall hard in qualifying, his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team was not able to repair his car in time to take the green flag.
IndyCar’s next race of the season will be a shared weekend with NASCAR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on July 4. Dixon will look to build on his points lead and others who had a rough night will look to put the pressure on.