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New Zealand's Scott Dixon wins in Indy road-course showdown

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Washington (AFP)

Scott Dixon roared to his first win on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course after a sloppy final pit stop hampered polesitter Will Power in the second IndyCar race since the season began last month.

Dixon, who had finished runner-up in the previous three Indianapolis road course races, claimed his second successive race victory in dominant fashion, leading Graham Rahal by almost 20 seconds at the chequered flag on Saturday.

"So good to be racing here again at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," Dixon said. "We’ve had so many runner-up spots here on the road course.

"We got lucky. The strategy, the team just nailed it."

Rahal fended off a late challenge from reigning Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud to claim second. It marked his best result in the series since 2018.

Pagenaud, who started 20th on the grid after a difficult qualifying session, grabbed the final spot on the podium.

The 39-year-old Chip Ganassi Racing veteran Dixon is seeking his sixth career IndyCar points crown and second in three seasons. He claimed the 2020 season-opening race on June 6 in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Kiwi completed his 260th consecutive IndyCar start, which now becomes the longest active streak as Brazilian Tony Kanaan's record run of 318 starts in a row has ended.

Power's recovery attempts Saturday were hampered , when the Aussie stalled exiting his box on his last pit stop. He finished 20th.

The early leader was also hurt by a caution flag at the halfway mark that dropped him to the 13th.

Colton Herta earned fourth, ahead of Dutch rookie Rinus VeeKay, who picked up fifth in only his second-ever IndyCar appearance.

Marcus Ericsson earned his best IndyCar result with a sixth-place finish. Reigning IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden finished seventh.

Alexander Rossi's difficult 2020 season continued as he retired with fuel problems after a caution.

Next month Pagenaud will try and repeat as the Indy 500 champion, the 104th edition was postponed to August 23 by the COVID-19 outbreak.

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