Chip Ganassi Racing has claimed four IndyCar Series wins on the trot as Felix Rosenqvist scored his maiden triumph after a stealing the lead from pole-sitter Pato O’Ward two laps from the finish.
After a hat-trick of wins to open his 2020 campaign, Scott Dixon’s winning streak has ended after the Kiwi stalled in a horrid final pitstop 15 laps from home meant he fell back to 12th and failed to recover.
A wild opening lap ensued as Will Power tagged Ryan Hunter-Reay into the wall at Turn 1 before seconds later the Australian drilled Graham Rahal which collided with Rosenqvist’s machine, sending the former into another heavy crash.
Power was sent to the rear of the field as Dixon had moved from sixth off the line to fourth, behind race leader O’Ward, Alex Palou and Conor Daly.
But when it rains, it pours for Will Power who flew off the road at Turn 13 on the restart lap to bring out the race’s second caution and the third accidnet in five laps involving the #12 Penske.
Both Dixon and Herta were whistled into pitlane for an early first pitstop on lap 11, but the yield from the fresh rubber allowed the duo to slim the margin to the leaders with Herta leapfrogging Palou for second on lap 13.
The undercut quickly became clear as the less favourable strategy as Dixon become tangled amid traffic and on lap 17 both Rosenqvist and Marcus Ericsson were able to jump the Kiwi.
Rosenqvist went on a charge and swooped by Palou for second into Turn 1, the Swede was seven-seconds adrift of race leader O’Ward as he quickly began to eat into the margin.
Rosenqvist managed to cut O’Ward’s margin in half before the Arrow McLaren SP driver pitted for a second time. The Chip Ganassi team called Rosenqvist in the very next lap but a sluggish pitstop including being dropped off the jacks too early meant O’Ward had re-established an eight-second lead.
Dixon struggled to muster the pace from yesterday’s dominant victory and was forced to give up a position to Ericsson before stalling while completing his final pitstop on lap 40, putting a woeful end to the Kiwi’s race.
As the final flurry of pitstops played themselves out, Rosenqvist emerged five-seconds adrift of O’Ward but was taking time out of the leader hand-over-fist and with four laps to run the margin was under two-seconds.
A vulnerable O’Ward made several errors in a frantic attempt to keep his pursuer at bay. But Rosenqvist eventually made his move after pulling off a switch-back on the exit of Turn 5 to lunge up the inside of the McLaren into the tight left-hander of Turn 6.
From there Rosenqvist drove away from any late retaliation by O’Ward with the final winning advantage recorded at 2.8s.
Alexander Rossi came home third for his first podium of the year while Ericsson made it two Chip Ganassi Cars in the top four.
After his disaster opening few tours, Power would eventually come home in 11th, one place ahead of Dixon.
The IndyCar paddock have two further races next weekend to close out a quick-fire month of July with a return to Oval racing at Iowa Speedway.
|14||Rinus Van Kalmthout||1m00.4374s|
|19||Marco Andretti||1 Lap|
|20||Dalton Kellett||1 Lap|