Scott Dixon keeps finding new routes to immortality. It went through pit road on Saturday.
The New Zealander used a blistering early race pit stop and two flawless late restarts to win Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear.
The 37-year-old Chip Ganassi Racing veteran won for the first time this year and 42nd of his career. Dixon, a four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner, is now tied for third on the all-time wins list with Michael Andretti, having won at least one race now in a record 14 consecutive seasons.
“It’s nice to get that first win out of the way,” said Dixon, who finished second in the INDYCAR Grand Prix and third in the Indianapolis 500 – the two races last month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We came up a little short in the first few races.”
CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX PRESENTED BY LEAR: Official results
Dixon led 39 of the 70 laps around the 2.35-mile temporary street course. The top six finishers and seven of the first eight utilized Honda engines in the home race for Chevrolet.
Ryan Hunter-Reay placed second, 1.8249 seconds back, followed by Andretti Autosport teammates Alexander Rossi and Marco Andretti.
“It was really hard. That guy’s one of the best in the business. I knew it was going to be tough,” Hunter-Reay said of Dixon. “Sitting in his dirty air, I just couldn’t make up the gap.”
Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power, who entered the race with a two-point lead in the standings over Rossi, finished seventh. Rossi assumed the points lead, sitting four points ahead of Dixon heading into Sunday’s second Detroit race (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC).
Dixon started second and stalked pole sitter Marco Andretti, putting his No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda in position to ultimately seize the win on a Lap 24 pit stop. Andretti pitted off the lead on Lap 23, making it back onto the track after an 8.4-second stop. Dixon came in a lap later, but blistered out with a 7.1-second stop that allowed him to recycle to the track ahead of Andretti.
Graham Rahal, who began the race as the only driver on the more durable Firestone primary tires, moved into contention by Lap 30 but he clipped a curb with the right front tire of his No. 15 United Rentals Honda and slammed the concrete wall hard between Turns 13 and 14 on Lap 47, ending his race in last place.
Dixon fended off a challenge from Hunter-Reay on a Lap 53 restart following Rahal’s crash and another restart with 10 laps left to secure the win. The final caution was caused when Charlie Kimball punted rookie Santino Ferrucci into the Turn 7 tire barrier. Kimball was later penalized for avoidable contact.
The second race of the Detroit doubleheader airs Sunday on ABC (3:30 p.m. ET) and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network (3 p.m.). Qualifying for the race streams live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com, youtube.com/indycar and the INDYCAR Mobile app at 10:45 a.m.