Dixon drives to victory in Honda Indy Toronto, extends IRL championship lead

A week after issues bedeviled his chances, Scott Dixon was the model of cool, calm and consistency in winning the Honda Indy Toronto. In doing so, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver extended his Verizon IndyCar Series championship lead and added to his career legacy.

Dixon, in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda, won by 5.2701 seconds over Team Penske's Simon Pagenaud to pick up his third victory of the 2018 season and push his points advantage to 62 over Josef Newgarden. The triumph was also the 44th of Dixon's Indy car career, moving the 37-year-old within eight wins of tying Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list. A.J. Foyt tops the chart with 67 wins.

"I think A.J. is pretty safe; he's a long ways ahead," said Dixon, who finished 12th in the Iowa Corn 300 on July 8 when plagued with car issues and pit miscues. "I think for us, we take it race by race. We're in the business of winning races. If we're not doing that, I won't have a job for too long. That's the focus for right now."

Dixon, chasing a fifth series title that would leave him second to only Foyt's seven championships, led 49 of 85 laps on the 1.786-mile temporary street course at Exhibition Place to earn his third win of the season and third at Toronto. His previous victories this season came at Detroit's Belle Isle (Race 1) and Texas Motor Speedway.

Pole sitter Newgarden, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and defending winner at Toronto, led 25 early laps in the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske, but brushed the wall exiting Turn 11 on a Lap 33 restart and finished ninth.

"It was a tough race," Newgarden said. "Making contact with the wall didn't help. I don't know what it was, to be honest with you, it was either marbles or dust from the sweepers.

"I went straight into the wall and part of that is my fault, just making a mistake. But I didn't expect it."

Dixon admitted that Newgarden's miscue was the key to the race.

"That's where our race was won today, was through the bad luck or bad situation that Josef had," said Dixon, whose win gave engine manufacturer Honda a sweep of the five temporary street-course races this season. "We just needed some clear air, and (after passing Newgarden) we were able to check out."

Issues also befell Dixon's other nearest championship contenders, with Alexander Rossi finishing eighth and Ryan Hunter-Reay 16th for Andretti Autosport, while Team Penske's Will Power placed 18th.

It opened the door for Pagenaud to equal his season-best finish of second in the No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet.

"It was a blast to drive," Pagenaud said. "It was really difficult, but when you have a good result like this it feels very rewarding and a lot of fun. I'm really proud of the DXC team for a great effort this weekend. I think we showed that we're back, so I'm excited."

Canadian teammates Robert Wickens (No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda) and James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda) thrilled the local fans, as the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports drivers finished third and fourth, respectively. Wickens continued his strong rookie season in the Verizon IndyCar Series with his third podium finish and ninth top-10 result.

"Thankfully, I'm not an overly teary guy, but that was really cool," Wickens said of the ovation he received from the hometown crowd when he stepped out of the car. "I can't thank these Toronto fans enough. This whole week has been such a whirlwind of emotions, and to stand on the podium in my first professional home race, I couldn't ask for anything better."

Charlie Kimball placed a season-best fifth in the No. 23 Novo Nordisk Chevrolet and led the first lap for Carlin in its debut season in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Tony Kanaan finished a season-best sixth in the No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet.

The race was slowed three times for 12 laps of full-course caution. Hunter-Reay brought out the first yellow when he slid into the Turn 3 tire barrier in the No. 28 DHL Honda on Lap 28. The ensuing restart on Lap 33 is when Newgarden made light contact with the Turn 11 wall, allowing Dixon to take the lead.

As the field barreled into Turn 1 following Newgarden's incident, Graham Rahal bumped into the back of Max Chilton, setting off a chain reaction that also collected Hunter-Reay, Rossi, Power and Sebastien Bourdais. While all the drivers continued in the race, time lost undergoing repairs in the pits were devastating to the points front-runners.

After 12 of 17 races, Dixon has accumulated 464 points. Newgarden sits second with 402 points, Rossi third with 394, Hunter-Reay fourth with 373, Power fifth with 371, Wickens sixth with 339 and Pagenaud seventh with 320.

The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday, July 29. The race airs live at 3 p.m. ET on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Mazda Road to Indy race recap

* Santi Urrutia (Belardi Auto Racing) took a dominant flag-to-flag victory in Sunday's second Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race of the weekend at Toronto's Exhibition Place. It was Urrutia's first win since the season-opening weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Pole sitter Urrutia led all 35 laps and finished 1.2708 seconds ahead of Patricio O'Ward (Andretti Autosport). Colton Herta (Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing), who sustained a non-displaced fracture in his left thumb when he crashed in Race 1 qualifying Saturday morning, crashed again in the first race and then again in Race 2 qualifying on Sunday morning to aggravate the injury. He started the race from pit lane and completed just four laps before retiring from the race on the advice of his team.

With the sixth-place finish, Herta fell 18 points behind teammate O'Ward for the championship after 12 of 17 races. Urrutia is in third place, 40 points behind O'Ward.

* Juncos Racing's Rinus VeeKay capped a championship-caliber weekend in Toronto by winning the second Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires race of the weekend, closing within one point of Parker Thompson (Exclusive Autosport) for the championship lead following his second win in as many days. Thompson finished the race in eighth place.

* Kyle Kirkwood (Cape Motorsports) avoided early chaos to secure his seventh Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda victory of the season, sixth in a row and second in as many days at Toronto.

Kaylen Frederick (Pabst Racing) started on pole, but a lock-up on the opening lap set off a chain-reaction multi-car incident. Kirkwood snuck through the melee on the inside and went to first place after starting fifth. Kirkwood's win put him in position to wrap up the championship in two weeks at Mid-Ohio.

Honda Indy Toronto Driver Quotes:

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was a tough race. Making contact with the wall didn't help. I don't know what it was to be honest with you, it was either marbles or dust from the sweepers; they're trying to clean off the track and that yellow, when we already had tons of marbles 27 laps in. I don't know what to tell you, I went straight into the wall. And part of that is my fault, just making a mistake, but I didn't expect it; I'll tell you that. I just had no idea the car was going to do that. I knew it would be low grip, but not zero grip. I just lost the front end completely. I feel terrible, it's not fun to make a mistake. This No. 1 Hitachi Chevy was quick today, I think it was capable of being in the top three or potentially winning the race if I didn't make the mistake, but you have days like this in racing. We have to move on now and try to pick it back up. With the championship battle, we've got a long way to go. This doesn't help but look, we have plenty of racing. We need to keep our head up here. We're going to be just fine, we've got fast cars and the best in the business. If we get our mistakes sorted out, we're going to be just fine."

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "I'm a bit disappointed with the result we had today. I got hit on Lap 20 and got hit again after a restart, so we had to do two extra pit stops. From then on, my day was over-not much we could do. It's a pity because I think we could have finished in the top 10."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda): "Our start didn't go great, and obviously we were battling for position with Robbie (Wickens) there and got shuffled back behind Marco (Andretti). That really was kind of the start of the end of a great result for us because we had pace, we just couldn't get by him. We burned a lot of push-to-pass trying to get by him, but just couldn't do it. It's unfortunate to waste so much time in the beginning of the race. On that restart melee, we got tagged by Takuma (Sato), which I should know better than staying on the inside of him in a corner like that. I bent the toe link, and from there, it was a bit of a struggle to feel the car out and see how it was going to change with the bend in the suspension. Honestly, the Arrow Electronics car was still pretty great, and in that last stint, we were chasing down the leaders. Who knows what could have been, but ultimately happy with Robbie being on the podium and two SPM cars in the top five."

ROBERT WICKENS (No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda): "We did have a great car in the race. I don't think anyone had anything for Scott (Dixon) today. Dixie was kind of in a class of his own, but to go punch for punch with him in the second stint...I thought we really showed some great strides, some great improvements on the Lucas Oil car from warmup to now. The final stint, I don't if it was damage from the fight with (Simon) Pagenaud, but I had too much understeer and I couldn't maintain that pace. If not, I think it would have been a fun fight between Simon and I at the end. I thought maybe second (place finish) was in the cards for me, but it just wasn't meant to be. Thankfully, I'm not an overly teary guy, but that (finishing on the podium in Canada) was really cool. I can't thank these Toronto fans enough. I mean, this whole week has been such a whirlwind of emotions, and to stand on the podium in my first professional home race, I couldn't ask for anything better."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "I'm worn out, man, that was a physical race. It was definitely easy to pick up lots of debris on the tires out there, and I think that's what happened to Josef (Newgarden) on that restart where we took the lead. He tried to go a little bit fast into the last corner there in Turn 11, got into the gray and that was pretty much it. I can't thank PNC Bank and the crew enough, we just needed some clear air and we were able to check out. What a great win for the team and everyone associated with this No. 9 car program."

ED JONES (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "Well that wasn't the day we wanted to have. We knew the car had good speed, but things just didn't seem to go our way this weekend with the NTT DATA car. With some early pit stop strategy and the way the race played out we were able to make up 9 positions, but we want more than that. Hopefully we can come back stronger in Mid-Ohio in a few weeks."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "That was definitely a very physical race. In the last corner, I brushed the wall and bent a rear toe link, so the car was a little bit out of whack. I didn't even know that (Alexander) Rossi and I touched. I was just kind of trying to hang on until we got a yellow and could pit. I've never had so many DNFs; not DNF for this race, but like a DNF in a season. Still, it's kind of how this sport can go. We're just going to keep pushing away with the No. 12 Verizon Chevy and focus on the double points in Sonoma. That can be a 100 point swing, so we're still in the game."

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "Great day for the ABC Supply team - we finally had everything going our way. We had good stops, good passing and obviously, we had a couple people do us some favors on the racetrack - that's the way this race goes. It's the best result for the team so far - top six on a street course where we'd been improving our car all weekend. Really happy for ABC, Larry (Foyt, team president) and for A.J. (Foyt, team owner). He's (A.J.) not here, so I wanted to give him a good result."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rousseau Honda): "I'm disappointed; there isn't anything else to say. Obviously, as we showed there at the end once we got back in the race, the car was fast. The start was awful; we got boxed in and just couldn't go anywhere, so that was disappointing. The blacks (Firestone primary tires) were OK to start, it was really that we just got boxed in and that was my fault. I just didn't get the right lane and it bit us a little bit. Overall, the Rousseau car was fast and I feel bad for the guys. We wanted better and we expected better and it hurt us a lot in the championship. We go on to Mid-Ohio after opportunities lost again.  We've just got to make one (win) happen soon." (About the Lap 34 restart): "I had a really good run and was going to the right, and then (Jordan) King popped out and hit the brakes. I went left to try to avoid him, got into the back of (Max) Chilton just a little bit, but we were kind of OK. We started to get to mid-corner and were OK, and then, wham, I got absolutely drilled from behind. I don't really know by whom, but ultimately, obviously, I started the whole train of it. I just don't know what happened behind me."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Team Mouser/Molex Honda): "It was a tough weekend all around for the Mouser Electronics/Molex team. I thought we had something pretty good in qualifying that could help us accomplish the usual good starting position in Toronto, but I wasn't comfortable enough with the conditions (wet track) to challenge the car for the one lap. I didn't do a good job, we didn't make it through and that put us at the back of the field. We tried something for the warmup this morning and the car was far worse than it had been. So, we un-winded that and threw a Hail Mary at it for the race, but the car still wasn't quite there. It was OK on the Firestone red (alternate) tires, then we made a couple of changes during the first stop and put black (Firestone primary) tires on. As soon as we put on the blacks, the car became extremely catchy, snappy and unpredictable. I made a couple of mistakes where I almost crashed, then I got into Turn 1 and I have no idea what happened. It felt like I didn't really slow down. The car started to crab and go sideways under braking and from there I couldn't recover. I went backward into the tires, not bad enough to put us out of the race, but bad enough that I had to come in and change the rear wing. We lost two laps, and from there it was just about collecting data and bringing it home. It was just a very disappointing weekend. I really wanted to do a lot more for the Mouser Electronics, Molex guys, but I guess it wasn't meant to be this weekend."

ZACHARY CLAMAN DE MELO (No. 19 Paysafe Honda): "It was a fun race, we had quite a bit of yellow today and I think that helped us with our pit strategy. I let the race come to us, and I didn't take any unnecessary chances in my No. 19 Paysafe car. A lot of people had different issues and I stayed out of trouble and it led to a decent finish. It's been a fun season and I want to thank Dale Coyne Racing and Paysafe for giving me the opportunity to do these nine races with them this year. Now I get to cheer on Pietro (Fittipaldi) when he comes back for the next race."

JORDAN KING (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet): "The first few laps were quite tricky, being on blacks (Firestone primary tires) while everyone was on reds (Firestone alternate tires). With the incident this morning, we weren't 100 percent sure where we were with the car. I maybe struggled a bit more in the first stint than I did at the end of the race, I'll put my hand up for that one. We got to the lead on strategy and once we were in clean air, the pace was quite good. Tim (Broyles, ECR General Manager) was telling me what was happening, so I was quite happy. And literally, just about as we were going to come into the pits, no more than 100 meters from the pit commit line, the yellow came out and my heart just sank. It was almost perfect. That dropped us to the back of the field, but I had a couple of good restarts with the yellows that were later. On the last restart, I got pushed a little bit wide and it took me about three laps to recover, just trying to get the dirt off the tires. Those two things were a little bit annoying, but overall, I thought our pace was good. It was a great job by the Fuzzy's Vodka guys to get me back out in time for the race and I am glad I could perform for them. It was a decent result, but if the dice had rolled differently for us as we came into the pits, I think we could have been set for a solid Top 10, maybe even a bit higher."

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet): "I got a lot of marbles on my right front tire and it just took off on me. I was along for the ride. It is a shame, we had moved up quite a lot. The Preferred Freezer Services car was handling pretty well, so it's frustrating because we threw away a lot of points. It is what it is, but it's really frustrating. I feel bad for my guys."

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was a good time. It was a great race, you know, Toronto supports the Verizon IndyCar Series so well. Thanks to the fans for showing up; it was packed today. The track was beautiful. Tough racing out there. You know, the (new aero) package is a lot less grip in the corners, it was a lot more straightaway speed. The tires really struggled in the heat. There was a lot of marble - a lot of dust. Restarts were ice racing. It was a lot of fun, and obviously, it turned out in our favor. I think we showed that we're back this year. We've done a lot of work in the background. I want to thank Team Penske, DXC Technology and Chevy for doing all the work they do in the background to help me understand this (new aero) package. We saw it this weekend, all three Penske cars were in the (Firestone) Fast Six. It was a great improvement."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Novo Nordisk Chevrolet): "I'm just really proud of the Carlin guys. They fight and work so hard, weekend in and weekend out. They're the first ones here in the paddock in the morning and the last ones out at night. We struggled a little on Saturday, but on race day we were able to bring it. We showed up in Toronto with a great foundation from Detroit Race 2, a top-10 car, and we were able to make it a little better this weekend. The No. 23 crew had two fantastic pit stops - that second stop was just rock solid. To be able to come out with a top five, leaning on fourth at the end, was a great way to cap off the weekend. Really pleased to bring home Carlin's first top-five in the Verizon IndyCar Series and my first top five of the season."

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Relay Group 1001 Honda): "It was a heck of a fight today, honestly. Starting 22nd, we knew we had our work cut out for us to get to the front, but we had great pit stops and great strategy. The guys did exactly what I needed them to do on the car on each pit stop, as far as adjustments, and it just came to us at the end. I'm really thankful for Andretti Autosport and Relay to be able to have such a good run up here in Canada. I'm ready to go to my hometown now and see if we can get into the top five."

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): "It's a pretty disappointing result. I don't think we had the car to beat Scott (Dixon), but for sure with the problems that everyone had, we could've finished second. It's been a difficult string of races. We had contact with Will (Power), and he had a bit of a problem going into Turn 3 and I misjudged the closing rate, so I had a front-wing change that put me to the back of the field. Then (Graham) Rahal spun around and I stopped to avoid it, but then Ryan (Hunter-Reay) hit me and I went airborne. We changed the wing again and stopped a couple more times. The fact that we finished eighth is a huge testament to the NAPA AUTO PARTS team and I'm so thankful for them. It was a difficult day and they kept me in it. We've had a lot of mistakes lately and there's not a lot of time off, so we have a lot of work to do."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "It's was a very unfortunate day and a big loss for us in points. The DHL Honda was running comfortable in third and pushing hard, but I had too much front brake lock and found the tire barrier - that's my fault. Then after that, we got caught up in a wreck, which put us a lap down. From there we just fought to stay in front of the leader."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): "All weekend we were competitive. Obviously, the weather situation for qualifying was tough for us, but still, we were competitive again in the warmup before the race.  Then, in the race we had some issues, but the car was fast all day.  I feel sorry for the boys who gave me a great car the whole weekend.  I think we have great momentum. I'm looking forward to going to Mid-Ohio."

RENE BINDER (No. 32 Binderholz tiptop timber Chevrolet): "The first stint of the race on Firestone red (alternate) tires went pretty well. We had good pace and were running as high P11 at one point in the race. Unfortunately, I lost positions after one of the restarts and my tires got dirty in the marbles. I was not able to recover the positions and had to settle for 17th. I am ready to move past this event and focus on Mid-Ohio in two weeks." 
MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet): "It was just a really unfortunate day for the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet and the whole Carlin Gallagher Racing crew. We were given a penalty under yellow that I'm not sure I completely agreed with, and then when we did go back green, everyone's tires were still so dirty from driving through the caution zone that the contact was somewhat inevitable. A car spun out in front and then we were hit from behind, causing quite a considerable amount of damage. We were able to limp back around to pit lane, but once we got there, the team decided the damage was too extensive to continue. Just a tough break for the team, especially with how much I love racing here in Toronto."

CONOR DALY (No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet): "I just want to thank Harding Racing and Chevy for this opportunity, it's so nice to be back in a car. There's something about this car that we need to sort out mechanically on heavy fuel loads, the car was really beating me up. I think we had good race pace. I got shoved into the wall a few times, which I didn't really like, but it is what it is. I could have used a bit more cooperation from the No. 18 car, as he was a few laps down. But anyway, I'm just so thankful to be back out here and we made a lot of progress technically this weekend, so hopefully that helps the team in the future." 

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 Oberto Circle K / Curb Honda): "I'm really disappointed. I just hate it for the Oberto boys because we had top-four pace all weekend and the only time we didn't show it was in qualifying. We should've maybe had a shot at podium, but definitely fourth. We were pretty good on cold tires. Everybody had a ton of pick up, so it made it a lot of fun when people were sliding around so we were able to capitalize. I saw the collector light come on with two laps to go and my heart sunk. We've had street course pace all year, we're just not doing what we need to do as far as results and I'm pretty disappointed with that, to be honest."  

Honda Indy Toronto race results

Results Sunday of the Honda Indy Toronto Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 1.786-mile streets of Toronto's Exhibition Place, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (2) Scott Dixon, Honda, 85, Running

2. (3) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 85, Running

3. (10) Robert Wickens, Honda, 85, Running

4. (9) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 85, Running

5. (20) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 85, Running

6. (15) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 85, Running

7. (22) Zach Veach, Honda, 85, Running

8. (5) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 85, Running

9. (1) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 85, Running

10. (14) Marco Andretti, Honda, 85, Running

11. (8) Jordan King, Chevrolet, 85, Running

12. (21) Ed Jones, Honda, 85, Running

13. (11) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 85, Running

14. (23) Zachary Claman De Melo, Honda, 85, Running

15. (12) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 85, Running

16. (6) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 84, Running

17. (19) Rene Binder, Chevrolet, 83, Running

18. (4) Will Power, Chevrolet, 83, Running

19. (17) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 83, Running

20. (16) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 76, Contact

21. (13) Graham Rahal, Honda, 68, Running

22. (7) Takuma Sato, Honda, 66, Contact 

23. (18) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 34, Contact

Race Statistics

Winner's average speed: 93.898 mph

Time of Race: 1:37:00.3100

Margin of victory: 5.2701 seconds

Cautions: 3 for 12 laps

Lead changes: 9 among 8 drivers

Lap Leaders:

Newgarden, Josef 1 - 22

Power, Will 23

King, Jordan 24 - 29

Newgarden, Josef 30 - 32

Dixon, Scott 33 - 54

Pagenaud, Simon 55

Kanaan, Tony 56

Kimball, Charlie 57

Pigot, Spencer 58

Dixon, Scott 59 - 85

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings:

Dixon 464, Newgarden 402, Rossi 394, Hunter-Reay 373, Power 371, Wickens 339, Pagenaud 320, Rahal 313, Hinchcliffe 312, Andretti 266.

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