Newgarden denies Wickens win in Phoenix


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For the second time in as many IndyCar races, rookie Robert Wickens was just a few laps from victory in Phoenix before being denied.

But unlike in St Petersburg, where he was turfed off by Alexander Rossi with victory in sight, this time he made it to the chequered flag in second place.

Reigning champion Josef Newgarden denied Wickens victory. Newgarden led the race before a late caution period caused when Ed Jones hit the wall.

Robert Wickens, Schmidt, IndyCar, Phoenix, 2018
Wickens came close to victory again
Penske, along with most other teams, pulled their cars in for a fresh set of tyres. But Schmidt Peterson gambled on leaving Wickens and James Hinchcliffe out on worn rubber, hoping they would survive the eight-lap green-flag run to the chequered flag.

For Hinchcliffe the gamble went awry quickly. He fell prey to Newgarden soon after the restart, then tumbled down the order to an eventual sixth.

It took Newgarden several laps to prise the lead out of Wickens’ hands, eventually pulling off a round-the-outside pass which secured his first victory on the Phoenix oval. That left Rossi filling Wickens’ mirrors as the laps ticked down, but their was no repeat of their clash from last month, and afterwards Rossi congratulated his rival on taking second place in his second race.

Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay took fourth and fifth after passing Hinchcliffe. Ed Carpenterfinished his firts race of 2018 in seventh ahead of Tony Kanaan, Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud.

Pole sitter Sebastien Bourdais was fortunate to start where he qualified after his Coyne team had trouble getting his car started for the formation lap. He led the early stages of the race but ran into trouble in the pits, knocking his front-left tyre changer over during an early yellow-flag stop.

There were further dramas in the pits as Rossi also made contact with his crew during a stop. Matheus Leist was released from the Foyt pit too early after one visit and shed his left-rear wheel.


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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on “Newgarden denies Wickens win in Phoenix”

  1. Such meerkat
    8th April 2018, 11:20

    I think I’ll be watching IndyCar from now on if F1 doesn’t have terrestrial coverage from next year, the speeds look amazing.

    Anyone know what channel IndyCar is on in the UK

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      8th April 2018, 11:21

      BT Sport

      1. Such meerkat
        8th April 2018, 13:01

        Why thank you@fullcoursecaution

        It’s a shame really, I’ve been watching f1 with my father as a child and I watch f1 with my own son now, but I’m not paying for the murdochs

  2. Dumb finish. Safety cars are for safety, not to spice up the show.

    I really hate it when they remove back markers from their position in the restart to make it easier to pass for a position. Without the safety car these drivers must pass them also, so why not after a restart?

    1. Andrew in Atlanta
      8th April 2018, 13:34

      Because they are usually artificially between the lead cars through pitstops. Before opening your mouth and showing you don’t follow, try watching a time or two.
      This safety car was for a broken car in the wall. The opportunity is then taken to clean all bits and the upper racing line as that is a goal of Indy at Phoenix and the upper line can be tough. They didn’t burn sets of tires rubbering in the upper line with a tire dragon on Friday to not use it.

      The lap down cars were moved as they hadn’t pitted and were not gaining positions to the leader as he had not pitted either. As is Indy’s usual move at late race restarts

      1. I know it is custom, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, (or your reaction for that matter). I watch IndyCar (or ChampCar and CART before) for more than 30 years now.

        To remove them at the restart is artificial imho. It just made it easier for Newgarden to pass the leading cars in front.
        Just like it is in F1 nowadays when before they let back markers stay as it should be.

  3. IF Rossi and Wickens post finishes like this, it will be the best rivalry since their days from their inaugural GP3 season in 2010. Certainly Newgarden was on that grid. But never was a factor.



  4. Quite the finish! Newgarden had me holding my breath the last 10 laps.

    On to Long Beach.

  5. Newgarden’s pass on Wickens has to the global racing move of the year! Breathtaking!

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