The United States’ NTT IndyCar Series endured a New Zealand takeover at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday night as Scott Dixon and Scott McLaughlin came home with a 1-2 finish. It was McLaughlin’s first appearance on an oval in his racing career.
As for Dixon, it was his 51st career win in IndyCar and he did it dominant fashion, leading all but a few laps in the race. It was his fifth win at Texas and second in a row after winning the season opener in 2020.
The first oval race for IndyCar in 2021 was threatened by rain throughout the day, which could’ve created a chess match between the 24 teams at over 220 miles per hour had race been shortened. Instead, the rain stayed away and all 212 laps got in Saturday evening.
Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Alex Palou paced the field for a majority of the race as they ran 1-2. Dixon, a four-time winner at Texas and the most-recent winner, got around his teammate on lap three and never looked back.
During the first pit-stop cycle of the race, Josef Newgarden got into the back of Sebastien Bourdais as the Frenchman had to slow for Colton Herta. Newgarden couldn’t react in time and turned Bourdais, who hit the outside wall at the exit of turn two hard.
With Dixon continuing to dominate, there was still action behind him as rooke McLaughlin was having a nice, quiet day inside the top 10. However, he became a factor after the second green-flag pit cycle as he came out in third place and chased down second place Felix Rosenqvist.
In a role reversal from last year, Rosenqvist was able to get around lapped traffic in second as he passed James Hinchcliffe. Hinchcliffe ended up spinning in turn one after being passed by Rosenqvist. Last season, Rosenqvist spun from the second spot after not being able to get around Hinchcliffe.
On pit road, McLaughlin came out of pit road in second right behind Dixon. Meanwhile, Marcus Ericsson, who was in contention for a top-10 finish, left his stall without a right-rear tire. His crew struggled to get the tire on and his chances of a decent finish were dashed.
Dixon and McLaughlin held off the field after the restart, but intensity picked up as Graham Rahal worked his way into the top five after a daring pass on Jack Harvey and an aggressive move around Newgarden.
The start of the season has been a roller coaster for Colton Herta. He DNF’d in the season opener at Barber Motorsports Park and won at St. Petersburg last Sunday. However, late in the race, he suffered a right-rear brake issue and his day came to an end. He finished 22nd for the second time this season.
Pato O’Ward earned his first podium and second top-five finish of 2021 with a third-place finish.
Palou and Rahal rounded out the top five.
In his return to IndyCar racing, Tony Kanaan finished 11th, while IndyCar debutant Pietro Fittipaldi finished 15th.
The IndyCar Series will get right back to it at 5:00 p.m. EST for another go around Texas Motor Speedway. That race can be seen on NBC Sports Network.
- Scott Dixon
- Scott McLaughlin(R)
- Pato O’Ward
- Alex Palou
- Graham Rahal
- Josef Newgarden
- Jack Harvey
- Alexander Rossi
- Takuma Sato
- Simon Pagenaud
- Tony Kanaan
- Ed Jones
- Felix Rosenqvist
- Will Power
- Pietro Fittipaldi(R)
- Ryan Hunter-Reay
- Ed Carpenter
- Dalton Kellett
- Marcus Ericsson
- Rinus VeeKay
- Conor Daly
- Colton Herta
- James Hinchcliffe
- Sebastien Bourdais