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Phoenix IndyCar win a boost for Dixon

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/04/2016

New Zealand driver Scott Dixon hopes his victory at an incident-packed Phoenix Grand Prix will help him avoid another late scramble to challenge for the IndyCar title.

Series defending champion Dixon dominated the round two race, steering his Chip Ganassi Racing car for the last 155 laps of the first oval circuit contest of the season.

The 35-year-old drew level with an American motor racing great Al Unser in notching a 39th career victory. Only three drivers have more, on a list headed by AJ Foyt on 67.

Dixon's four previous titles have required late-season surges to snare the silverware, most notably last year.

Following his opening round seventh placing in Florida, the Arizona result lifts Dixon to second overall in the standings behind Frenchman Simon Pagenaud. He hopes he can stay near the front and avoid the catch-up stress of other campaigns.

"We're a strong team, we're always strong and if we can figure out the start of the season we'll make the end a little easier for us," he said.

"It's a tough series and you've got to get points when you can, no matter what the circumstances."

Starting sixth on the grid, Dixon stayed out of trouble as some of his main rivals stumbled.

He took the lead after Juan Pablo Montoya suffered a tyre blowout on lap 56, the same issue that forced his Penske teammate Helio Castroneves into the pits on lap 39 after he'd claimed pole position.

Dixon was delighted with the performance of his Chevrolet, which kept second-placed Pagenaud and third-placed Australian Will Power at bay.

"The car was super fast. We had the best car out there and we got a lot of it done on strategy in some of the pit stops."

MOST INDYCAR RACE WINS

67 - AJ Foyt, 52 - Mario Andretti, 42 - Michael Andretti, 39 - Scott Dixon and Al Unser

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