By: Spencer Neff
May 1, 2021
For the first of two doubleheaders scheduled for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2021, the field visited their first oval for the season. Here’s a recap of how the first day of the weekend played out.
Dixon grabs points lead with dominant win
In what felt like a repeat of 2020 at Texas, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon won the Genesys 300 on Saturday night. After leading 206 of 212 laps, the six-time champion finished .2646 of a second in front of Team Penske rookie Scott McLaughlin, who earned his first career podium finish.
Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward finished third, with Dixon’s teammate Alex Palou finishing fourth and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal rounding out the Top 5.
For Dixon, it is his 51st career win, a record-setting fifth at the 1.5-mile oval and breaks a tie with A.J. Foyt as he has now won in 19 seasons during his 21-year career.
After starting on the pole by virtue of entrant points, Palou led the way for the first two laps of Saturday evening’s race. By. Lap 3, teammate Dixon took control of the race. During the end of the first stint as drivers began pitting, Newgarden made contact with A.J. Foyt Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais.
After spinning and making contact with the Turn 2 wall, the caution flag flew for the first time on the day. Before the field went back to green on Lap 72, Newgarden was given a penalty for avoidable contact and sent to the back of the field.
Dixon continued to lead over Palou throughout the following stints but a challenge emerged in former teammate Rosenqvist. On Lap 160, Rosenqvist battled with Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe. Hinchcliffe drifted up into the high groove of the track and spun into the Turn 2 wall. Despite a hard crash, he walked away from the incident.
The second caution of the day provided an opportunity for the leaders to pit. During his stop, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson lost the outside rear tire exiting pit road. In avoiding Ericsson, Rosenqvist was slowed as he drifted toward the infield grass.
With 23 to go, Colton Herta’s rocky start to 2021 continued as the Andretti Autosport driver was forced out of the race due to a brake fire.
As those issues continued, Dixon held on to his dominant race victory.
Kanaan tops lone Practice
In his first on-track session of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, Tony Kanaan was fastest during the 90-minute practice at Texas Motor Speedway. The 2004 Texas 1 Races Winner and Series Champion began his 24th season of IndyCar competition by turning a best lap of 220.173 miles per hour (23.5451 seconds).
Kanaan finished .0256 of a second ahead of Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward, the fastest Chevrolet entry. Following a lengthy delay to dry the track amid inclement weather.
With qualifying canceled, an extra premium was placed on the only pre-race session on track. The lack of qualifying enabled points leader Alex Palou to start up front for the first time in his 17th career start.
Here is the schedule for tomorrow’s event. Stay with IndyCar1909.com for the latest on the Texas Motor Speedway doubleheader. All times listed below are track local-(Central Time)
3:30 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES install laps
4 p.m. – NBCSN on air
4:10 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”
4:15 p.m. – XPEL 375 (248 laps / 372 miles), NBCSN (Live)
Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR