Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon won the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix in the series’ return to the 1.0 mile short oval Phoenix International Raceway. This was the first time the series has raced at this track since 2005. With this win Dixon known as the “Ice man” claims his 39th career win tying him with four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser for fourth on the all-time Indy car victories list.
This victory also gives Dixon, a four-time series champ, a race win in 12 consecutive seasons to set a record all his own. “It’s mind-boggling, for sure,” said Dixon, driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. “For me, I feel very privileged to be racing, being an Indy car driver, being part of the Verizon IndyCar Series, and then being part of Team Target.”
Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya set the pace early, but both were forced to relinquish their leads having to pit with similar flat right-front tires due to cuts. Castroneves led the first 39 laps from the pole position in the No. 3 REV Group Chevrolet and Montoya led the next 56 laps in the No. 2 Verizon Chevy. “This was more of an attrition race. We had the fastest cars but you get hit with yellows and cut tires so it’s not a true sense of what our cars were capable of”, Montoya stated after the race. The cause of the tire cuts is unknown.
Dixon, who started ninth, was the third race leader in the 250-lap event, taking over the lead on lap 96 and pacing the field for the final 155 laps. The race ended under caution after rookie Alexander Rossi (No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb-Agajanian Honda) made contact with the wall two laps from the finish.
Simon Pagenaud, in the No, 22 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet, finished second for the second consecutive race and took the lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series points standings for the first time in his career. Pagenaud has 83 points and leads Dixon by four.
Will Power, who missed the season opener three weeks ago at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with an inner ear infection, finished third in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
The race had only five caution periods for a total of 56 laps.
Next up on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California on April 17.