Watch: Scott Dixon crashes out in wet Detroit, as Newgarden takes win
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An uncharacteristic error has cost Scott Dixon momentum in the NTT IndyCar Series championship this morning; the Kiwi failing to make the finish in the first of two races this weekend at Belle Isle in Detroit.
While running in the top three, Dixon clipped the inside wall of the sharp right-hand turn seven. This sent his Ganassi Racing Honda into the tyre wall on the outside with enough speed to cause terminal race-ending suspension damage.
It's Dixon's first retirement in an IndyCar Series race in two years. Ironically, his last DNF was the scary crash he survived at the 2017 Indy 500 — an unavoidable incident in which he was an innocent party.
In his absence, victory went to Josef Newgarden. It's the second race win of the year for the Penske ace, subsequently helping him reclaim the championship lead.
The race itself was shortened due to weather. The start was delayed following heavy showers, with officials electing to start the race under yellow with a 75-minute clock replacing the lap counter. As they race went on a dry line emerged. But, even with the finish in sight, the track still had plenty of wet verges.
The final laps saw Newgarden defending the lead from Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato, Dixon's teammate Felix Rosenqvist, and Ryan Hunter-Reay in fifth.
Everyone was slipping and sliding on slick tyres, and quickly the top four broke into a pair of two-car battles; Newgarden forced to fend off Rossi and Sato having to watch Rosenqvist (and a close chasing pack) in his rear-view mirrors.
The last handful of minute were tense, with the gap from Newgarden to Rossi rarely being more than seven tenths of a second. Sato's train meanwhile soon also included Hunter-Reay, recently crowned Indy 500 champ Simon Pagenaud, and Graham Rahal.
In the end, despite a few hairy moments in the closing laps, there were no positional changes; Newgarden taking his first win at Detroit. Behind Newgarden and Rossi, Sato took third from Rosenqvist, Hunter-Reay, Pagenaud, and Rahal, with Zach Veach, James Hinchcliffe, and Spencer Pigot rounding out the top 10.
In the championship standings, Newgarden is now once again the points leaders; heading Pagenaud now by 25 points. Rossi and Sato and third and fourth, while Dixon maintains his hold of fifth thanks to a dismal outing from rival Will Power.
Televised coverage for race two at Detroit kicks off tomorrow at 7.00am NZST.