Josef Newgarden’s 1st Texas IndyCar win is series-best 3rd
Newgarden held off Alexander Rossi over the final 10 laps on Saturday night. Newgarden won the season opener in St. Petersburg and again last week in the first of two in Detroit.
Defending champion Scott Dixon was knocked out after tangling with 19-year-old Colton Herta with about 20 laps remaining. Dixon ended up 17th and Herta 18th. Dixon was trying to tie the track record with a fourth Texas win.
It was another win for Team Penske in Texas as well. The fifth win this season for Penske was its 14th in the past 19 races on the 1½-mile high speed oval.
Rossi pulled even and got slightly past Newgarden several times over the closing laps. But Newgarden kept pulling back in front going into the first turn and got some separation over the final few laps for a 0.8164-second win.
It was 13th career victory for this season’s IndyCar points leader.
Dixon and Herta were battling for second behind Newgarden when the youngster went underneath Dixon to try to pass on the backstretch. Herta’s right front tire touched the rear left of Dixon’s, sending both spinning up the track into the outside wall.
Rossi narrowly avoided that crash, just getting underneath Herta’s sliding car on the bottom of the track to set up his showdown with Newgarden in the closing laps.
Pole-sitter Takuma Sato led the first 60 laps before a disastrous pit stop under a green flag resulted in the Japanese driver going four laps down.
Sato slid through his pit stall and upended crew member Chris Welch as the car ended up in the next stall. Crew members had to pull the car back to their stall before changing tires and refueling. Welch was evaluated and released from the infield care center.
In addition to all the time lost from the long pit stop, Sato was assessed a stop-and-go penalty for hitting Welch. The last driver to win from the pole at Texas was Ryan Briscoe in 2010.
Graham Rahal had a season-best finish of third, and Santino Ferrucci was fourth. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who led the most laps with 90, was fifth. Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud took sixth. Pagenaud was the runner-up to Dixon in Texas last June.