Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden claimed back-to-back victories at a chaotic Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, but it was not enough to prevent Scott Dixon claiming his sixth NTT IndyCar Series title.
Both drivers started deep in the midfield but kept their noses clean while others around them faltered. Dixon closely shadowed Newgarden throughout the race and eventually finished third.
The 2020 season finale was filled with tension and a ton of action including six caution periods, several crashes, the safety car running out of fuel and even a late rain shower.
After powering through the field in the early stops Newgarden found himself in the top five and when Andretti Autosport capitulated having dominated the race with a 1-2-3. He took over the lead but was always kept in sight by Dixon throughout the race.
Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward found himself in second place after Colton Herta out-braked himself into Turn 4 for a second time in the late stages of the race.
The Mexican was in a position to challenge Newgarden for the win, but would have to settle for the runner-up spot for the third time in 2020 as the two-time champion pushed on for the victory.
Dixon was able to hold his nerve to claim his sixth IndyCar title after a tough race coming through the field from 11th on the grid. It’s his first podium finish since winning the first race at Gateway in August.
Sebastien Bourdais – a two-time winner at St.Petersburg – claimed A.J Foyt Racing’s best result of the season with a fourth place finish in just his third IndyCar start of the campaign.
Ryan Hunter-Reay crossed the line in fifth place after coming from the back of the field, the No28 DHL-Honda was the highest place Andretti car after its race completely fell apart.
Simon Pagenaud also made up several places from 12th on the grid to finish sixth, even though the Frenchman was involved in several clashes in the midfield – one of which ended the race for Marco Andretti after the pair touched in Turn 4.
Ganassi’s Marcus Ericsson made his way back into top 10 in seventh with a clean race from 15th after a tough run of results at the last two races at Indianapolis.
The second A.J Foyt car of Charlie Kimball claimed eighth which gives the team its first two finish inside the top 10 since Gateway in 2017 with Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing rounded out the top 10 places with Graham Rahal and the recently resigned two-time Indy 500 winner, Takuma Sato.
Several drivers had a difficult race with the likes of Alexander Rossi, James Hinchcliffe and Will Power falling out of the race from podium positions.
Marco Andretti was tagged by Pagenaud which cut a tyre which led to a spin and in subsequent crash into the wall at Turn 5.
IndyCar rookie Scott McLaughlin also dropped out of the race after spinning around trying to pass Andretti in lap 47, Rookie of the Year winner Rinus VeeKay also got caught up in the accident.
Hinchcliffe was also on the list of spinners, but the Canadian made a mess of trying to rejoin the racetrack as he clattered into Britain’s Jack Harvey, spoiling both their afternoons.
The NTT IndyCar Series will return to action in St.Petersburg on March 7, 2021.