Dixon takes IndyCar triumph at Pocono
New Zealand's Scott Dixon won his 30th career IndyCar race on Sunday, using superior fuel mileage to capture the Pocono 400 and lead a first-ever podium sweep for team owner Chip Ganassi.
Two-time season champion Dixon passed runner-up Charlie Kimball with 28 laps remaining and held off the American over the last laps, nursing his fuel to the finish line as they passed slower traffic over the 2.5-mile triangular course.
"Going into this morning I was not thinking we could win," Dixon said. "Fuel mileage was the big key. We still had speed and we were running up front all day."
Kimball, who started 12th in the field of 24, matched his best finish with second in the 160-lap feature with Scotland's Dario Franchitti, who began 20th, edging Australian Will Power for third to complete Ganassi's podium sweep.
"It's pretty big," Ganassi said. "I had no idea we would finish 1-2-3. I was just hoping for a decent finish."
It was the first victory since last year at Mid-Ohio for Dixon, who started 17th after a 10-position penalty for switching Honda motors, but gave the Japanese engine maker its 200th triumph in the series.
"It has been a long drought, almost a year, so it's great to be back in the winner's circle," Dixon said. "To get a 1-2-3 after we all started toward the back, it's pretty special."
Dixon was the eighth different winner in 11 races this season and moved into fourth in the season championship chase.
Brazil's Helio Castroneves improved to 358 points, boosting his lead over American Ryan Hunter-Reay from nine to 23 points with Marco Andretti third, 55 points adrift, and Dixon fourth on 293 points.
"Stretching the points lead is fantastic," Castroneves said. "It was a great day for the championship. That's what you have to think about."
Brazil's Tony Kanaan, the Indianapolis 500 winner, passed Dixon after the first set of pit stops but clipped the front right wing of his car in doing so and was forced back into the pits to replace it, ending his victory hopes.
Canada's James Hinchcliffe started third but crashed into the outer wall in the opening turn of the race, escaping unharmed, while two other contenders were foiled in the first series of pit stops.
Defending series champion Hunter-Reay was running second when his car was struck from behind by third-place Takuma Sato of Japan in the pit lane, knocking both out of contention.
"I misjudged it. Just too fast," Sato said. "I lost the back end and slid into Ryan. I'm extremely sorry to Ryan and his crew and to my crew. It's all my fault."
The series continues next weekend with two races at Toronto.