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IndyCar Detroit: Dixon beats Andretti cars for first win of 2018

Scott Dixon Ganassi IndyCar Detroit 2018

Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon claimed his first win of the 2018 IndyCar season, holding off Ryan Hunter-Reay in the first of this weekend's races in Detroit.

In a race that featured a mixture of strategies, Dixon utilised a two-stop approach while Hunter-Reay elevated himself from fifth place into race-winning contention by taking advantage of clean air after an early pitstop on a three-stop plan.

Dixon led the race entering the closing stages but had his advantage eradicated when Graham Rahal crashed at the high-speed Turn 14 right-hander on lap 47 of 70.

Both Dixon and Hunter-Reay had pitted in the two laps before that caution was called.

The Ganassi driver had the advantage of twice the level of push-to-pass compared Hunter-Reay in the closing stages but, when Carlin's Charlie Kimball pitched IndyCar rookie Santino Ferrucci into the barriers at Turn 7, Dixon was forced to survive another race restart with 10 laps remaining.

Successfully holding off Hunter-Reay, Dixon sealed victory by 1.8249 seconds with Alexander Rossi completing the podium in third.

Rossi battled for the final spot on the podium during the final race restart, passing Andretti team-mate and polesitter Marco Andretti around the outside of Turn 3. Andretti, who took his first pole since 2013 by nearly half a second, finished fourth.

He had led the race in the opening laps, but dropped to a de facto third after being jumped by Dixon and Rahal during the first pitstop phase.

Hunter-Reay made his way into second at his second stop, emerging narrowly ahead of the Andretti and Rossi battle with all three drivers requiring one more stop at that stage.

Andretti's pace deteriorated after he was passed by Rossi. He finished just three tenths ahead of fifth-placed Takuma Sato.

RLLR driver Sato was aggressive on the restart following Rahal's crash, passing Ed Jones. Although the two swapped places again later in the lap, Sato eventually cemented fifth place by pulling away from Jones after the final restart.

By crossing the line in sixth, Ganassi's Jones rounded out a top-six lock-out for Honda-powered cars, with Indianapoli 500 winner Will Power the first Chevrolet-powered driver in seventh.

His Penske team-mate and reigning champion Josef Newgarden lost eighth place in the closing stages to a charging Robert Wickens, who elevated his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-prepared machine from 10th to eighth after the final pitstops.

Wickens, who started the race from third, lost ground in the opening stint after struggling on the red-walled option tyre.

Spencer Pigot rounded out the top 10.

James Hinchcliffe finished 11th, after a picking up a drivethrough penalty at his first pitstop for crossing the pit exit line that dropped him to 20th.

Result - 70 laps

1Scott DixonChip Ganassi RacingDallara/Honda1h39m24.6189s
2Ryan Hunter-ReayAndretti AutosportDallara/Honda1.8249s
3Alexander RossiAndretti AutosportDallara/Honda4.1771s
4Marco AndrettiAndretti HertaDallara/Honda11.5191s
5Takuma SatoRahal Letterman LaniganDallara/Honda11.8757s
6Ed JonesChip Ganassi RacingDallara/Honda13.7649s
7Will PowerTeam PenskeDallara/Chevrolet15.0733s
8Robert WickensSchmidt Peterson MotorsportsDallara/Honda21.4715s
9Josef NewgardenTeam PenskeDallara/Chevrolet21.5622s
10Spencer PigotEd Carpenter RacingDallara/Chevrolet21.9523s
11James HinchcliffeSchmidt Peterson MotorsportsDallara/Honda22.3158s
12Zach VeachAndretti AutosportDallara/Honda23.0621s
13Sebastien BourdaisDale Coyne RacingDallara/Honda23.3441s
14Tony KanaanAJ Foyt EnterprisesDallara/Chevrolet26.1877s
15Matheus LeistAJ Foyt EnterprisesDallara/Chevrolet26.5471s
16Jordan KingEd Carpenter RacingDallara/Chevrolet27.0156s
17Simon PagenaudTeam PenskeDallara/Chevrolet29.8038s
18Gabby ChavesHarding RacingDallara/Chevrolet33.7246s
19Charlie KimballCarlinDallara/Chevrolet34.0911s
20Max ChiltonCarlinDallara/Chevrolet34.8584s
21Rene BinderJuncos RacingDallara/Chevrolet3 Laps
22Santino FerrucciDale Coyne RacingDallara/HondaContact
23Graham RahalRahal Letterman LaniganDallara/HondaContact

Leading drivers' standings

1Alexander Rossi276
2Scott Dixon272
3Will Power269
4Josef Newgarden255
5Ryan Hunter-Reay227
6Robert Wickens202
7Graham Rahal191
8Sebastien Bourdais185
9Marco Andretti175
10Simon Pagenaud168

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