Dixon holds off Bourdais for win in race 1 at Toronto
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Scott Dixon won Saturday's first race in the IndyCar Series' weekend doubleheader on the streets of Toronto after holding off Sebastien Bourdais in a two-lap shootout to the finish.
Dixon passed Bourdais for the lead with eight laps remaining. An incident involving Alex Tagliani forced the final caution and setup the two-lap sprint to the finish. After the restart, Dixon pulled away from Bourdais and beat him to the finish line by 1.7 seconds.
Dixon's win in Toronto came six days after he scored his first victory of the season at Pocono Raceway. His 31st career victory placed him in a tie with his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Dario Franchitti, as well as Paul Tracy and Bourdais for seventh on the all-time Indy car race winners list.
Earlier in the day, Dixon won the pole position for the second Toronto race, which is scheduled for Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET).
"These doubleheaders are tough," said Dixon, who led a total of 14 laps in race 1. "We got through race 1. Just a crazy day. This is what we need to get the momentum going."
It's the first time Dixon has scored back-to-back victories in the series since 2008 at Edmonton, Canada and Kentucky.
All of Bourdais' race wins occurred in the Champ Car Series, with his most recent victory six years ago in Mexico City. His second-place run marked his first podium finish in an IndyCar-sanctioned event. He has been in the series since 2011.
"For us, it feels like a win today," said Bourdais, who ran in front for a total of 20 laps in his No. 7 Dragon Racing car. "We fought hard all day, took the lead. A little surprised, but just super happy for the crew. I couldn't be any happier to finally get on that podium."
Franchitti crossed the finish line in third, but IndyCar race officials determined that Franchitti blocked Will Power on the final lap and therefore assessed a 25-second penalty to the four-time IndyCar champion, which dropped him to 13th. Franchitti protested the penalty. Officials reinstated his third- place finish after thoroughly reviewing the last lap and ruling in his favor.
"There wasn't any blocking," Franchitti said. "Basically, you can't make a move in reaction to another car. I didn't make a move in reaction to another car. I'd gone to the inside.
"The car moved when I was on the brakes. I was trying to stop the thing. When (Power) hit me, it moved as well. The rule has changed. At one point, we had to leave a car width plus an inch, I think it was. None of us have our measuring tapes, so we decided you could go all the way to that wall and defend, which I did. There's so much marbles, I pulled the thing out there."
Power, who was challenging Franchitti for position, ended up finishing 15th.
Marco Andretti, finished fourth, followed by Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves, the current points leader.
Mike Conway, James Hinchcliffe, a Toronto-native, Simon Pagenaud and Simona De Silvestro completed the top-10.
Castroneves widened his points lead from 23 to 39 over defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, who finished 18th. Hunter-Reay, the winner in Toronto last year, encountered numerous problems during the 85-lap race. The Andretti Autosport driver stalled twice when leaving his pit area. He also made contact with the tire barrier on lap 79.
"A frustrating afternoon, but I hope we can regroup overnight and improve on the car (for Sunday's race)," Hunter-Reay said.
With the victory, Dixon moved to within 42 points of Castroneves. If Dixon wins Sunday's race here, he will receive a $100,000 bonus for a weekend sweep.
"I know that strategy is going to be tough tomorrow," Dixon said. "There will be people trying to mix it up. People that had a bad day today will be trying to make it up in race two. We'll go in thinking we're going to have to work extremely hard for it, which we'll have to. The competition has been tough this weekend. The grid is different than today. We'll take it as it goes and see where we end up."
There were four cautions, including one for a three-car accident that occurred in turn 5 on lap 65. Ryan Briscoe, who was one of the drivers involved in the incident, held his right arm when he slowly climbed out of his damaged No. 4 Panther Racing car. Briscoe was transported to a nearby hospital for an examination of his right wrist.
07/13 21:16:59 ET