Tim Cindric called a great strategy to help Josef Newgarden pick up his third win of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season. The 2017 series champ extended his point lead with the win and a series of issues behind him.
The race began with pole-sitter, Takuma Sato, leading the entire first stint. The championship contender looked strong until the Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver missed his pit stall on the first sequence of pit stops. Sato struck his crew member sliding his way in. The crew man got up and helped the team bring Taku back to his pit stall and was checked and released from the infield care center with no major injuries.
Ryan Hunter-Reay was able to take over the lead after the incident, but the Andretti Autosport crew was worried about RHR’s fuel mileage.
The first caution of the night came out when Zach Veach got the outside wall exiting turn 2, drifted down to the inside wall, spun 360 degrees down the straight, and came to rest in the third turn. The Gainbridge got no damage after the initial contact, and came back into the race 40 laps later.
During this yellow, Tim Cindric called Josef Newgarden to pit, changing the strategy entirely for the Fitzgerald Penske Chevrolet.
With about thirty laps to go, Newgarden held the lead, but James Hinchliffe spun just like Zach Veach, but his Arrow Schmidt Peterson Honda spun into the inside wall. The caution helped Ryan Hunter-Reay, as the DHL Honda took the opportunity to pit during the yellow flag. On the ensuing restart, Colton Herta made a big move on Alexander Rossi for third and set his sights on five-time champion, Scott Dixon for second. Dixon, who was closing in on a struggling Josef Newgarden, backed out of the throttle too much entering turn one on a fake pass on Newgarden. Herta made his move on the back straight diving down to the white line, but Dixon forced Herta’s GESS Honda below the white line, getting the young 19-year-old out of shape in the entrance of the corner, taking out both cars.
Dixon later took blame for the incident.
Alexander Rossi narrowly escaped the carnage, nearly spinning on the track’s apron in turn four, and was set in second for the restart, while his Andretti teammate in Ryan Hunter-Reay was still carving through the field.
On the final restart, Rossi peeked high to pass Newgarden several times, but his Andretti Honda couldn’t stick on the top of turns one and two. After several aborted attempts on the top, Newgarden was able to pull away from the 2016 Indy 500 champ, and pick up his first NTT IndyCar Series superspeedway win.
Newgarden’s win the DXC Technology 600 helps him extend his point lead on Rossi to 25 points.
Santino Ferrucci’s fourth-place result saw him take over the Rookie of the Year standings in just his second oval race.
Scott Dixon and Colton Herta ended their nights outside of the infield care center finishing 17th and 18th, respectively. Graham Rahal finished a quiet night in third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay in fifth.