Scott Dixon clings on to IndyCar points lead after Iowa recovery
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Helio Castroneves has taken a major bite out of Kiwi Scott Dixon's IndyCar championship lead in winning the latest race in Iowa.
The Brazilian took the chequered flag at the Iowa Corn 300 while Dixon finished a lowly eighth.
The New Zealander qualified badly and started the race in 17th place but managed to minimize the damage by pushing forward to salvage eighth place and retain an eight-point championship lead over the Penske driver.
It was a dominant win for Castroneves, who led for over two thirds of the short oval race, and marks his 30th career win and his first victory since 2014.
"What a great car, what a great team," Castroneves said. "What can I say? I am speechless. I want to thank our team and my teammates because we are working so hard together.
"We have been close so many times and finally luck was a little bit on our side.
"It is like I am winning for the first time."
He becomes the ninth different race winner of the year.
JR Hildebrand grabbed second place ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Castroneves has never won an IndyCars championship but brings himself right into the frame with this win.
Dixon had to make the best of a bad day and spent it in damage control.
"It kinda was," the 36-year-old said. "We really struggled the NTT Data car we were just so loose especially on the re-starts. About 25-30 laps into the run we could beat up the front right a little bit and then carry some speed but we could only run the high lines because as soon as we got on the bottom I would almost spin out.
"Trying to pass traffic was really tough.
"It was a fun race. Physically very difficult I thought just because our car was so neutral I was fighting it all day."
There are six races left in the series with the next round in Toronto next week.
Scott Dixon 403 points
Helio Castroneves -8
Simon Pagenaud -31
Will Power - 53
Josef Newgarden -56
Graham Rahal -66
Takuma Sato -66
Tony Kanaan -108
- Dale Budge, NZ Herald