New Zealander Scott Dixon has won the Firestone 600 IndyCar race in Texas, winning by 7.8 seconds over teammate Tony Kanaan in the fastest race ever at the track.
Dixon led 97 of the 248 laps in a race that had only two cautions on a day to savour for the Kiwi, which was also one to forget for Australia’s Will Power.
After starting the race from pole Power finished a lowly 13th at a track where he has struggled on raceday after historically being strong in qualifying.
After anxiety about how the cars would handle on the high-speed, high-banked Texas track with the new aero kits, especially after three Chevrolets went airborne during practice for the Indianapolis 500, there were no accidents.
Driving the No. 9 Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing, Dixon got his 37th career win. The New Zealander also won in 2008 at Texas, which has now hosted 27 IndyCar races.
Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya finished third and fourth, respectively. Fifth-place Marco Andretti was the highest-finishing Honda.
After the start of the race was waved off because the field was not properly aligned, the first lap was counted as a caution before taking the green flag the next time at the line.
The only other caution came on lap 84 for debris on the frontstretch.
After the airborne cars at Indianapolis, IndyCar this week mandated the use of closure panels on the rear wheel guards. Those are designed to eliminate lift when an Indy car is traveling backward at a high rate of speed during an accident, and will also be required at California and Pocono.
Ryan Hunter-Reay had the only crash all weekend in Texas, in the first practice Friday when his No. 28 Honda spun and headed backward toward the outside wall. His left rear slammed hard before sliding down the track, but the car never went airborne.
Hunter-Reay finished 18th, seven laps behind Dixon.
There was a big surprise before the race. James Hinchcliffe gave the command for drivers to start their engines on video from his home in Indianapolis, where the driver is recovering after his left leg was pierced in a crash during Indianapolis 500 practice.