Dixon wins as Newgarden denied sixth straight IndyCar oval triumph

<a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/new-zealand-women/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:New Zealand;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">New Zealand</a>'s Scott Dixon kept his IndyCar season title hopes alive with a second straight victory in St. Louis (Sean Gardner)
New Zealand's Scott Dixon kept his IndyCar season title hopes alive with a second straight victory in St. Louis (Sean Gardner)

Scott Dixon delivered another masterful strategic performance Sunday to notch a second straight IndyCar victory as Josef Newgarden was denied a sixth straight oval triumph.

New Zealand's Dixon, who won two weeks ago on the road course at Indianapolis to make it 19 straight seasons with a victory, managed to make one less pit stop than the rest of the field to claim his 55th IndyCar race win on the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway oval just outside St. Louis, Missouri.

He finished 22.2256 sec in front of Mexico's Pato O'Ward with David Malukas third.

Series leader Alex Palou of Spain, who had a chance to wrap up the season title with two races remaining, had to keep the champagne on ice as he finished seventh and Dixon kept himself nominally in the chase for a seventh career IndyCar championship.

"We won't lift until we're totally out of it," promised Dixon, who trails Palou by 74 points going into the last two races. "We'll keep pushing and we'll see what we can come up with."

It was a disappointing day for Newgarden, who had won three straight races at the circuit and four overall dating to 2017.

Newgarden had won five straight IndyCar oval races -- a streak that started at the same venue last August and included the Indianapolis 500 in May.

He started from pole -- after top qualifier Scott McLaughlin's grid penalty for an illegal engine change -- but after leading until his second pit stop, Newgarden came up short in his bid to sweep the season's oval races after he clipped the wall with 49 laps remaining as he tried to gain ground after a stop.

"Got just a touch too high," he said. "I was trying to catch up."

The 260-lap race was under caution on the first lap after Benjamin Pedersen was struck from behind in the middle of the field and spun.

Newgarden maintained his lead on the restart, and regained it after pitting on lap 65.

Dixon had cycled to the front when Takuma Sato's crash brought out the yellow flag, and he stayed in front at the restart on lap 135.

His ability to save fuel and make it through with one less stop than his rivals the rest of the way proved decisive.

"Just so proud of the team, so happy for everybody," said Dixon, who started in 16th on the grid after also taking a penalty for a prior engine change infraction.

"We had to go the alternate route and it worked out perfectly. This team was perfect."