Scott Dixon extends Indycar lead at Road America
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Kiwi Scott Dixon extended his Indycar championship lead to 45 points by taking third at this morning's round at Road America in Wisconsin.
Starting from eighth on the grid Dixon continued his golden run over the past month and a half that has yielded two races wins and a run of five podiums from the past six races that has turned his season around.
Reigning series champion Josef Newgarden took the chequered flag ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay with Dixon close behind.
The trio held a good lead over the pack heading into the final round of pit stops and Dixon opted to make his stop a lap earlier than his two rivals to try and under-cut them. By the time the two Americans made their stops Dixon was right on their tails but couldn't make a pass stick while the two front cars' tyres came up to temperature.
The four-time series champion kept the pressure on over the remaining laps but settled for his fifth and another solid day.
"It was OK," a slightly frustrated Dixon said after the race. "I am a little disappointed with where we started. If we had qualified better we would have been in a better position.
"Congratulations to Joseph – he did a great job and so did Ryan.
"It is fun to make another podium."
Dixon admitted he had one shot at getting past Hunter-Reay after his last stop but both drivers got on the push to pass and it proved too challenging.
"We pitted early and we had the unfortunate part of the under-cut and didn't work for us," Dixon explained.
"I had a shot there but got a little loose and that was the only real chance I had."
Newgarden has gone through a tough patch to fall out of the top spots on the ladder heading to Road America but produced a superb drive to get to within 50 points of Dixon.
"I wanted to win here since last year," Newgarden said. "This car has been a rocket all weekend. It wasn't easy – Ryan was really fast and I knew Dixon was there.
"I'm just taking each race at a time and not worrying about the championship. There is a long way to go and if we do our job each race the championship will take care of itself."
Dixon's title rivals Will Power and Alexander Rossi had bad days – Power failed to finish with a mechanical failure while Rossi finished a lowly 16th.
The next race is in Iowa in a fortnight.