Scott Dixon, Ganassi, IndyCar, Texas Motor Speedway, 2020

Dixon dominates in Texas as team mate Rosenqvist crashes out chasing him

IndyCar

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Scott Dixon won IndyCar’s season-opening race behind closed doors at Texas Motor Speedway after team mate Felix Rosenqvist crashed out trying to chase him down.

The Ganassi pair had the legs on the field after the Penske drivers dropped back early in proceedings.

Josef Newgarden began his title defence from pole position and held the upper hand at first. But Dixon stayed out a lap longer than the Penske driver on their first stint as they neared the maximum 35-lap stint length, and used that to jump into the lead.

From then on Dixon only yielded the upper hand during pit stops. He retained his advantage despite two cautions, the second for debris, the first coming about after two of the field’s three rookies collided with each other. The unlucky Alex Palou was blameless for the collision, being swiped out by Rinus VeeKay as he emerged from the pits.

Rosenqvist picked his way past Penske duo Simon Pagenaud and Newgarden with on-track passes on laps 76 and 118. As Dixon became mired in traffic – first the third Penske of Will Power, later Alexander Rossi’s heavily delayed Andretti – Rosenqvist was able to carve seconds out of his lead.

With 32 laps and one round of pit stops left to go, Rosenqvist was within a second of his team mate. But Ganassi brought him in two laps earlier than Dixon for his final pit stop, meaning Dixon began the final stint still in the lead.

The two cars emerged into traffic, and Rosenqvist took a risk running around the outside of James Hinchcliffe. The outside line had been gripless all evening, and it caught him out, spitting his car into the barrier.

By the time that had been cleared up there were only three laps to go. Dixon, with a useful buffer of lapped cars between him and Pagenaud, ran out the winner, the chequered flag falling seconds after Charlie Kimball spun into the wall on the backstraight.

Newgarden completed the podium ahead of Zach Veach and Ed Carpenter. Conor Daly took sixth, bringing some pleasure to Carlin, who had to trim their entry to a single car at short notice.

Behind Colton Herta, seventh, came the race’s most impressive comeback drive. Ryan Hunter-Reay had to take a drive-through penalty at the start of the race due to late-running technical work on his car, but recovered to eighth.

Oliver Askew, the only rookie still running at the chequered flag, came in ninth for McLaren SP. Tony Kanaan completed the top 10 on his final appearance at Texas Motor Speedway. Kimball was recorded a lapped 11th ahead of Pato O’Ward in the second McLaren SP, Power, Marco Andretti and Rossi – the latter suffering similar pre-race problems to Hunter-Reay.

It was a race to forget for RLL. Takuma Sato smashed up his car in qualifying, which was held just three hours before the race start, and his chassis couldn’t be repaired in time. Graham Rahal’s ECU failed him prior to the formation lap, so he also had to take a penalty.

IndyCar’s season has finally begun, pandemic notwithstanding, with a race held in front of empty stands. Drivers swapped race helmets for face masks when they emerged from their cars. Following this first run, it will be a month before we see these cars in action again, on the Indianapolis road course.

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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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  • 12 comments on “Dixon dominates in Texas as team mate Rosenqvist crashes out chasing him”

    1. That was one of the worst Indycar races I’ve ever seen.

      The traction compound they have laid on the high line for NASCAR reduced the track to a single line so it was next to impossible to pass.

      And the mandatory 35 lap limit on tyre stints removed the strategy options you usually see on ovals.

      Nothing about that race was especially good sadly.

      We’ve even lost the nice helmet camera they had the past few years because its view was apparently blocked by the top of the aeroscreen.

      1. +1
        also a month until the next race seems excessive

    2. That’s not a flattering angle for the aeroscreen.

      1. @didaho Yeah, I think it looks fine from the side but really awkward & bulky from the front due to the fact it’s something that’s been bolted onto an existing design.

        For the next car they will be able to fully integrate it into the design from the start so it should look better.

    3. The image makes it look like the virtual-thing.

    4. “Alexander Rossi’s heavily delayed Ganassi” — Rossi drives for Andretti.

      The race was sadly ruined by the slick patch left behind by NASCAR. I still enjoyed it as the long-awaited return of open wheel racing, however.

    5. Graham (@guitargraham)
      7th June 2020, 10:04

      only one raceable line all event. anyone going onto that black stuff took their life into their hands

    6. This numpty forgot to set the race to record, so had to make do with the 5 minute highlights on YouTube.

      Looks like Rosenqvist simply got impatient with the traffic, although to be fair to him, they were making it difficult.

      Dixon with a win in 18 consecutive years is an amazing achievement.

    7. I felt sorry for Rosenquist, as his drinks bottle failed at the start of the race. Air temps outside were 30 degrees C, with cockpit temperatures measured at 49 degrees in the pits. The aeroscreen now blocks a lot of airflow, so it must have been a hellish environment for him, which perhaps contributed to his rash misjudgement.

      I hope they find a better solution for keeping the drivers cool behind the aeroscreen, as indycars are heavy, and without power steering, so at slower, more intense circuits, some of the drivers are really going to dangerously fatigue.

    8. Looks like speedboat on wheels.

    9. Looks like a skinny single seat Le Mans car. Thank goodness F1 went with the halo, although I hate that pointless gimmick too.

    10. It was the first oval race that I’ve ever really watched properly. Qualy, entire race etc. It was interesting but I dont think I will be rushing to watch the next. I dont know how much of it was because of the track condition but I expected more ‘action’.

      Two things I took away from it for F1 though:
      1. I prefer the Halo to the aero screen. Leaving the aesthetics aside. I found it made me feel a step removed from the drivers as a viewer and surely would do as a spectator.

      2. F1 should abolish the blue flag rules. Martin Brundle has been right all along. The leaders should have to work to pass lapped cars and it would give the opportunity for the chasing cars to close up. Having DRS now largely negates the negatives of blue flags anyway. It will also force more proper overtaking organically and open up strategy options.

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