P – Australia’s Will Power has placed third behind New Zealand ace Scott Dixon in the Indycar race in Phoenix to secure mhis first points of the season.
Power, the 2014 series champion, missed the season opener in St Petersburg with an ear infection.
However he could not match Dixon who dominated after taking the lead on a midrace caution and crossed under another yellow flag to win from Simon Pagenaud in IndyCar’s first race at Phoenix International Raceway in 11 years on Saturday night.
Defending and four-times series champion Dixon started ninth and took advantage of tyre trouble for Power’s Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya to move within range of the lead on the fast mile oval.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver moved past teammate Tony Kanaan out of the pits and led the final 155 laps of IndyCar’s first oval race of the season.
The win was Dixon’s 39th of his career, tying him with Al Unser for fourth on IndyCar’s all-time list.
Kanaan finished fourth to give Chevy the top four spots and Honda driver Graham Rahal was fifth.
IndyCar returned to PIR for the first time since 2005 and the drivers faced a reconfigured-and-repaved track that was much faster than before.
Maybe too fast.
Drivers began breaking track records, at least unofficially, during a test in February and during the first practice session on Friday, when 16 of 22 drivers eclipsed Arie Luyendyk’s 20-year-old record.
Six more drivers blew past the record during qualifying, led by pole sitter Helio Castroneves’ lap of more than 192 mph.
With the race coming under the lights, the concern was that lower temperatures could lead to even more speed and dangerous conditions with little room to pass.
Instead of carnage, the race was mostly clean – except for Team Penske.
Castroneves led the first 39 laps, but dropped out after his right front tyre blew out.
Juan Pablo Montoya took the lead when Castroneves was forced into the pits, then he suffered the same problem to the same tyre and was forced to the pits after leading 56 laps.