Scott Dixon won the opening race of the delayed 2020 IndyCar Series season at the Texas Motor Speedway as Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Felix Rosenqvist crashed out late on.
Dixon was leading a comfortable one-two for Chip Ganassi with Rosenqvist set for his first-ever podium finish in an oval race, before the Swede hit trouble with 10 laps of the race remaining.
Whilst aiming to catch and overhaul his team-mate for his maiden IndyCar win, Rosenqvist attempted to lap James Hinchcliffe around the outside.
But the slippery high line caused Rosenqvist to lose his car on the exit of the corner and slam into the wall, ending his race.
Earlier on Saturday, reigning IndyCar champion Newgarden beat Dixon to pole position for the first race of the belated IndyCar season, which was originally set to begin in March until the COVID-19 pandemic forced its delay.
Newgarden led the early stages of the first IndyCar race which featured the debut of the new aeroscreen safety feature, as well as mandated 35-lap stint lengths after Firestone was unable to produce a new compound of tyre in time.
Team Penske’s Newgarden reported right-rear vibrations on his car in the laps prior to his first pitstop, and he ended up losing the race lead to Dixon two laps before the duo made their first visit to the pits.
The first caution of the race came as a result of IndyCar debutant Rinus VeeKay having his second crash of the condensed one-day event, spinning out and collecting fellow rookie Alex Palou who was unable to avoid a collision.
Dixon retained his lead on the restart, but fell behind Newgarden and Rosenqvist during the next round of pit stops which came during the second caution of the race, called for debris on track.
Dixon soon rectified this with two passes in quick succession, including a sweeping move around the outside of Newgarden, winner of last year’s race at Texas.
The New Zealander led Rosenqvist by as much as 10 seconds at one stage, but saw his lead diminish to less than a second approaching the final round of pit stops after getting stuck in traffic.
Rosenqvist pitted two laps earlier than Dixon in a bid to get the undercut, only to then find himself in traffic for his late pursuit that led to his spin into the barrier.
Following Rosenqvist’s crash, Dixon was able to seal a commanding race victory on the restart ahead of Penske’s Simon Pagenaud and Newgarden, the latter able to overcome his race-long vibration woes to complete the podium.
Andretti’s Zach Veach equalled his best result in the series in fourth place ahead of oval specialist Ed Carpenter, while Conor Daly took sixth in the sole Carlin entry.
Colton Herta was seventh ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had recovered from a drive-through penalty, that he and his Andretti team-mate Alexander Rossi were handed after their mechanics worked on their cars too close to the race start.
Arrow McLaren SP’s rookie Oliver Askew charged from 20th to finish in ninth place on his IndyCar debut, with series veteran Tony Kanaan rounding out the top 10.
Ex-Carlin driver Charlie Kimball, who switched to AJ Foyt Racing for this year, was in the fight for the podium for the majority of the race before he crashed out of the race on the last lap. He was classified in 11th.
Takumo Sato, who took pole at Texas last year and was in victory contention until a pitlane crash ended his chances, was unable to start this year’s race following a crash in qualifying.
Published at Sun, 07 Jun 2020 01:34:39 +0000
Reigning IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden has claimed pole position for the first race of the delayed 2020 season at Texas Motor Speedway.
After the COVID-19 pandemic postponements to the new IndyCar campaign, action belatedly begins in Texas this weekend with Team Penske’s Newgarden edging five-time champion Scott Dixon with his two-lap average speed of 215.740mph.
Newgarden, winner of last year’s race, was the final driver to have his qualifying run and he was able to displace practice pace-setter Dixon by just 0.102mph who had held provisional pole.
Newgarden’s Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud completes the top three ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay, who bounced back from an off in practice earlier on Saturday.
Hunter-Reay’s Andretti Autosport team-mate Zach Veach has qualified in an excellent fifth position ahead of Will Power, who made it three Penske cars in the top six.
Graham Rahal has qualified seventh ahead of Alexander Rossi, Felix Rosenqvist and AJ Foyt Racing’s Tony Kannan, who is starting his final season in IndyCar.
Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward was third quickest in practice but qualified down in 18th position, with his team-mate Oliver Askew qualifying in 20th place for his IndyCar debut.
2017 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato, who took pole position for last year’s race at Texas, crashed out on the start of his first qualifying lap and his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team faces a race against time to repair his damaged car before tonight’s race.
IndyCar debutant Rinus Veekay was another driver to fall foul of the condensed one-day format as a practice crash left him unable to set a qualifying time.
Santino Ferrucci elected to skip qualifying in order to allow more time to develop his car set-up after a difficult practice session.
On his oval racing debut, Ferrucci’s Dale Coyne Racing team-mate Alex Palou qualified in a respectable 16th place.
The 2020 IndyCar opening race takes place later today due to the shortened schedule.
IndyCar – Texas Motor Speedway – Qualifying Results
|1||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet||215.740|
|2||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara/Honda||215.638|
|3||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet||215.464|
|4||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda||214.311|
|5||Zach Veach||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda||213.981|
|6||Will Power||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet||213.930|
|7||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Dallara/Honda||213.878|
|8||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda||213.689|
|9||Felix Rosenqvist||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara/Honda||213.560|
|10||Tony Kanaan||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Dallara/Chevrolet||213.388|
|11||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda||213.190|
|12||Charlie Kimball||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Dallara/Chevrolet||212.780|
|13||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara/Chevrolet||212.714|
|14||Colton Herta||Andretti Harding||Dallara/Honda||212.697|
|15||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda||212.603|
|16||Alex Palou||Dale Coyne Racing||Dallara/Honda||212.504|
|17||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara/Honda||212.040|
|18||Patricio O’Ward||McLaren SP||Dallara/Chevrolet||212.013|
|20||Oliver Askew||McLaren SP||Dallara/Chevrolet||210.839|
|21||Jack Harvey||Meyer Shank Racing||Dallara/Honda||205.647|
|22||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Dallara/Honda||0.000|
|23||Rinus Van Kalmthout||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara/Chevrolet||0.000|
|24||Santino Ferrucci||Dale Coyne Racing||Dallara/Honda||0.000|
Published at Sat, 06 Jun 2020 22:23:31 +0000