Josef Newgarden, Penske, IndyCar, St Petersburg, 2019

Newgarden resists Dixon to open IndyCar season with win


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Reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon was beaten to victory by his predecessor Josef Newgarden as the new season got underway in St Petersburg.

Newgarden fought back after losing the initiative at the start to Dixon’s team mate Felix Rosenqvist, who impressed on his way to fourth place on his IndyCar debut.

Will Power led the field from pole position at the start while Rosenqvist pounced on Newgarden for second. Rosenqvist then hit the front by springing an attack on Newgarden after a rolling restart.

The Ganassi rookie held his lead until the drivers made their second visits to the pits. Rosenqvist pulled up slightly long in his pit stop, losing vital time. That disadvantage was multiplied when he emerged almost side-by-side with Power, and was forced to back off.

That allowed Dixon, who ran three laps longer than his team mate, to take advantage. He also emerged on Power’s tail, but a few laps later successfully prised the lead from his rival’s hands, manoeuvring around the outside of turn three.

However the real winner at this phase of the race was Newgarden. While Dixon, Power and Rosenqvist queued up behind Marco Andretti, who was running on an alternative strategy, Newgarden emerged ahead of the Andretti driver and built up an advantage which won him the race.

Alexander Rossi was the best of the Andretti drivers in fifth place, while team mate Ryan Hunter-Reay dropped out early on. Another retirement in the opening stages was Sebastien Bourdais, winner of the last two races at this track, who suffered an engine failure on his Coyne car.

James Hinchcliffe was the first of the Schmidt Peterson cars home. Simon Pagenaud seldom figured in Penske’s third car and came in seventh ahead of newcomer Colton Herta. Santino Ferrucci and Jack Harvey completed the top 10.

Video: 2019 IndyCar round one: St Petersburg

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Pictures: 2019 IndyCar round one: St Petersburg

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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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  • 23 comments on “Newgarden resists Dixon to open IndyCar season with win”

    1. made me remember why refueling is so bad for racing. pretty much all the ‘action’ was in the pits and much of the focus was also in the pit lane and fuel strategy.

      you had rosenqvist leading the race fairly comfortably only to suddenly drop to 4th without been passed by anybody on track because of the fuel stops. was just like watching refueling in f1, pretty dull.

      1. Not to mention the action taking place during the adverts…. or during the technical issues!

        1. When they came back after the ads and there was a safety car out and no commentary … Incredible.

      2. I see your point to a limited extent but can’t agree. Sure Newgarden was assisted by having a good strategy but he was the one who had to execute the strategy and drive flat out to achieve the result. I appreciate the skill in that. I would contest that it is like watching F1 refueling era races – as least Indycars can follow each other closely and pass on track.

        Specifically to Rosenqvist, tyre choice and when to pit for fuel and tyres factored into his result, rather than refueling alone – as it did for all the drivers in the race.

    2. Going to be very hard for me to get in to watching this season after that awful coverage from Sky. It felt like I was watching adverts interrupted by a few laps of motor racing every 5 minutes, and thats when the coverage was actually working.

      1. Welcome to the coverage US fans have had for both F1 and IndyCar for years. And actually NBC was a step up from previous broadcasters we had here. It drives me crazy to see all those ads and all the b roll footage when coming back from the ads now that we have uninterrupted Sky F1 coverage in the US.

        1. Not sure if it will be the same as our pay tv coverage in oz but usually there is a highlights package of an hour or hour and a half later in the week which is less frustrating to watch/record. Not the same as live but still better to watch again than most tv

      2. i thought the coverage on sky was fine primarily because i could actually watch it live on my tv in hd for the first time since 2012.
        yes there were a lot of ad’s but i’d rather coverage with ad’s than not been able to watch live at all.

        when the feed went down that was a tech issue with nbc at the track and not anything to do with sky so you cannot blame sky for those issues.

        1. Gavin Campbell
          11th March 2019, 16:21

          BT Sport had been running a world/master feed during the adverts with UK commentators taking over including Racefans own Keith Collantine.

          Sky Sports however have decided to simply parrot the US coverage (although they managed to get the commentators to say ” welcome to those fans watching on Sky Sports F1 in the UK”) and this means a large amount of advert breaks and also infurating cut-aways. Why the US feed decideds to actually show us two (seemingly rather confused) guys in the booth at turn 1 rather than simply play their audio over the action is beyond me.

          I have to say it is as bad as I feared and a real step down from the treatment the series recieved on BT Sport. Its a bit of a slap in the face to be paying huge sums per month for a channel for the sporting action to be interuppted constantly by adverts. By all means a few ad breaks in between the build up and hey its IndyCar so ad breaks on the yellows/reds etc. no problem but at one point it did an ad break, came back to the studio/booth and someone attempted to speak a few sentences and then they went to another ad break. Awful.

          I hope they come to their senses and possibly introduce something better asap.

    3. Quite the start for Rosenqvist. Good race!

    4. That came around quickly.
      I’m still gutted for Robert Wickens who was robbed of a win his first time out.
      I see he attended in a wheelchair :( and is working hard to get mobile again.

    5. Watching the race was yet another painful remainder of how much better on-board footage could be than whatever we get from Formula 1.

      1. @gpfacts i prefer the onboard shots we see in f1 as i really don’t like the silly rotating shot indycar use. i just find it really annoying when it rotates and causes us to miss something, such as when Rosenqvist took the lead with a big lock-up today and the camera rotated so we missed the lock-up and could not see the damage to the tyre.

        the helmet camera angle is cool but sadly becomes unusable after a few laps due to dirt. don’t know what the difference is but the identical shot F1 were using a few years ago (before indycar started using it) seemed to stay clear throughout a race. maybe because the camera was a lot smaller than the one used in indycar?

        the camera in the nose is very cool but they rarely use it and it’s not as if the camera f1 has on the nose of the car is that much different.

        1. Well, I for one like the rotating shots. Maybe we lost that single detail you’re describing, but in general, the rotating camera allows us to see the first corner action and passing attempts/maneuvers much better. You see the car coming from behind, pulling alongside, cars really going wheel-to-wheel. With static camera, all you see of the car attempting to pass is a piece of front wing and maybe a bit of front wheel…it offers much less dynamics. I am not saying that 25% of TV broadcasts should be on-board footage, but rotating cameras are much better for those action details.

          1. @gpfacts I used to like the rotating shots but now I often feel the rotating ones get in the way & are more of a distraction, Especially on road/street circuits.

    6. My god what a lot of adverts. Thank goodness I recorded it so I could skip through them. Would have been unwatchable otherwise.

      1. The US doesn’t have a TV license that you purchase, so unfortunately there are commercials to pay for the broadcast. The commercials were excessive during the tech problems as they filled time with them. I’ve never seen a problem like that before. Highly unusual.

        Other than that, it was a very entertaining race.

    7. They look like formula E, lol

      1. They look like the best current era formula cars.

    8. Mark in Florida
      11th March 2019, 2:57

      What some here are missing is that this race was not a nonstop crash fest. Indy decided to do away with team designed wings and use a standard road race aero wings. These wings are a lot more sturdier than the multi flap fragile things that the teams had. The cars also seem much more stable in the corners and on entry /exit. Great race in my opinion, the various strategies that played out over time etc. Sorry for all the commercials, that’s standard fare in America. I’m looking forward to F1 starting up. I don’t care who the front runners are, the real action is in the midfield. With Sauber looking stronger than ever and Danny at Renault. I think the racing will be exciting.

      1. Exactly! In the past, this race had been plagued by multiple crashes. The cars were spaced further apart than before, probably due to the standardized road racing aero parts but there were more riskier passes and pass attempts. I can only assume Sky viewers watched coverage by NBC. Ads comes with the broadcast-get used to it. Despite that and technical flubs, NBC did a better job than the previous broadcaster ABC.

    9. Ive never seen an Indy race before, and im very pleased, it was really good racing, and it was very open, there were many contenders fighting for the win aswell. The cars seemed to cope with close battles really well, no wings flying of at first close encounter. Though it seemed like a very very physical tough race, so bumpy and no power steering.

      As a swede it was really nice seeing Felix being up the top, although it would have been nice to see him on the podium. Ive followed him for years and werent surprised he performed well, he almost always do regardless of what he drives.

      For the other swede Marcus actually had a nice position on the way, he pulled himself up from 18 to 9th and were lapping super quickly, to bad that the honda reliability wasnt that good. Sebastian Bourdais seemed quite unhappy, no qualy time and then 11 laps before fireball engine damage.

    10. The indy car field is so stacked this year with so many good drivers its gonna be a serious fight for the title

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