Toronto IndyCar: Pagenaud resists Dixon, scores third win of 2019

Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Simon Pagenaud withstood late-race pressure from defending Toronto winner Scott Dixon to launch himself back into the championship hunt, as Alexander Rossi edged closer to points leader Josef Newgarden by beating him to third.

Toronto IndyCar: Pagenaud resists Dixon, scores third win of 2019

After a fast lap by Robert Wickens in the Arrow-modified hand-controlled Acura NSX, and Helio Castroneves then leading the pack in the IndyCar two-seater, Simon Pagenaud’s Team Penske-Chevrolet and Scott Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda led the field to the green flag.

The polesitter just about held off the five-time champion, but Dixon then had to fend off an outside attack from Alexander Rossi into Turn 3. The Andretti Autosport driver had already demoted the other Ganassi car of Felix Rosenqvist, while Ed Jones had moved his Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevy ahead of the second Penske of Josef Newgarden. Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan) and Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) ran seventh and eighth.

Further back however, 15th-placed starter Will Power tried to go down the inside of the other RLLR car of Graham Rahal at Turn 8 as Rahal was simultaneously looking down the inside of Marco Andretti. The collision was inevitable and it sent Power, Rahal and the following innocent Ryan Hunter-Reay to the pits without losing a lap but Marcus Ericsson’s issue looked terminal in the Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-Honda. Meanwhile Andretti, who had been nudged into a 360degree spin continued after losing only two places.

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When the race resumed, Jones dived down the inside of Rosenqvist to take fourth, while Spencer Pigot in the second ECR-Chevy and Andretti demoted Colton Herta’s Harding Steinbrenner Racing-Honda to 12th. Two laps later, Herta was back past Andretti.

Hunter-Reay on Lap 11 lost places to Santino Ferrucci and Rahal and came under attack from Power, but then made his way past Tony Kanaan’s AJ Foyt Racing-Chevy as those who started on alternate compound tires started to look sketchy and started pitting on Lap 15, the first of these being Rossi.

Out front Pagenaud had no tire problems, pulling a five second lead over Dixon, before the pair of them finally pitted at the end of Lap 17. That left the primary-tired Andretti Autosport-Honda of Zach Veach out front temporarily while Pagenaud resumed in second with other primary compound runners Ferrucci, Rahal and Hunter-Reay in third, fourth and fifth as a buffer between himself Dixon.

Pagenaud then passed Veach for the lead on Lap 23, while Dixon, Rossi, Newgarden, Sato and Rosenqvist remained bottled up behind Veach, Ferrucci, Rahal and Hunter-Reay.

Veach and teammate RHR stopped on Lap 31, Rahal went one lap longer and Ferrucci went two laps longer. With the off-sequence cars out of the way, Dixon’s deficit to Pagenaud was just under six seconds, his lead over Rossi 1.9sec, and now Newgarden and Sato and Bourdais started applying the pressure to Rossi.

Every time Dixon tried to close in on Pagenaud, the Frenchman had an answer and approaching Lap 50 of the 85, he had eked his lead out to seven seconds. Dixon, mean time, had no apparent problems pulling away from Rossi who had Newgarden and Sato filling his mirrors. Rossi was again the first of the frontrunners to stop on Lap 49, with James Hinchcliffe pitting his Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsport-Honda from eighth and Power from 10th.

Rather than risk losing out due to an untimely yellow, Pagenaud, Dixon, Newgarden, Sato and Bourdais responded by all pitting on Lap 51. Once the off-sequence cars had stopped and gotten out of the way, Pagenaud was left 5.2sec ahead of Dixon who had a similar margin over Rossi who in this final stint was running 3.5 seconds ahead of the Newgarden vs Sato battle.

However, Dixon slashed into Pagenaud’s lead as the leader encountered traffic, in particular struggling to get around Kanaan, but Dixon lost time behind TK too. Once the Ganassi car was ahead of the backmarker, the gap was 1.5sec, but then Pagenaud got stuck behind Hunter-Reay because he was also trying to juggle brake temperatures along with fuel mileage and use his push-to-pass.

With 17 laps to go, Bourdais slithered into the Turn 3 tire wall but was able to resume in ninth, just ahead of Power. That became eighth when Sato’s engine blew.

When Hunter-Reay pitted for a splash and dash, Pagenaud eased away from Dixon a little but then got stuck behind a battle between Veach and the Carlin-Chevy of Max Chilton. Pagenaud went past Chilton with four laps to go but Dixon got caught behind him, giving Simon vital breathing room, and the Penske driver then got around Jones too.

What put the result beyond doubt, however, was teammate Power – who had recently lost ninth place to Rahal – sliding into the Turn 8 tire barrier, forcing IndyCar to finish the race under yellow and dropping Power to 18th.

Rossi took third, while Newgarden survived a late race thump of the Turn 11 wall to claim fourth ahead of Rosenqvist, Hinchcliffe and Herta.

Championship standings
1, Newgarden 434; 2, Rossi 430; 3, Pagenaud 398; 4, Dixon 348; 5, Power 306; 6, Sato 301; 7, Hunter-Reay 285; 8, Rahal 266; 9, Hinchcliffe 244; 10, Rosenqvist 239.

 

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph Pits Points
1 France Simon Pagenaud Team Penske 85 1:30'16.4388     100.900 2  
2 New Zealand Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 85 1:30'16.5761 0.1373 0.1373 100.897 2  
3 United States Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport 85 1:30'20.8108 4.3720 4.2347 100.818 2  
4 United States Josef Newgarden Team Penske 85 1:30'35.1110 18.6722 14.3002 100.553 2  
5 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing 85 1:30'37.1820 20.7432 2.0710 100.515 2  
6 Canada James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 85 1:30'44.1098 27.6710 6.9278 100.387 2  
7 United States Colton Herta Harding Racing 85 1:30'49.0428 32.6040 4.9330 100.296 2  
8 France Sébastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing 85 1:30'49.9803 33.5415 0.9375 100.279 2  
9 United States Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 85 1:30'51.7992 35.3604 1.8189 100.245 3  
10 United States Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport 85 1:31'01.8566 45.4178 10.0574 100.060 2  
11 United States Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing 85 1:31'09.9330 53.4942 8.0764 99.913 3  
12 United Arab Emirates Ed Jones Ed Carpenter Racing 84 1:30'17.3388 1 Lap 1 Lap 99.696 2  
13 United States Zach Veach Andretti Autosport 84 1:30'18.6432 1 Lap 1.3044 99.672 2  
14 United Kingdom Max Chilton Carlin 84 1:30'19.3908 1 Lap 0.7476 99.658 2  
15 United States Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing 84 1:30'32.6122 1 Lap 13.2214 99.416 3  
16 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 84 1:30'37.8585 1 Lap 5.2463 99.320 4  
17 Brazil Tony Kanaan A.J. Foyt Enterprises 84 1:30'38.8452 1 Lap 0.9867 99.302 2  
18 Australia Will Power Team Penske 83 1:28'36.1455 2 Laps 1 Lap 100.384 3  
19 Brazil Matheus Leist A.J. Foyt Enterprises 83 1:30'44.9078 2 Laps 2'08.7623 98.010 3  
20 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 81 1:31'26.4753 4 Laps 2 Laps 94.924 3  
21 United States Sage Karam Carlin 79 1:30'25.3677 6 Laps 2 Laps 93.623 4  
22 Japan Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 67 1:11'57.1482 18 Laps 12 Laps 99.784 3  
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