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Scott Dixon wins IndyCar race at Toronto for third time

Scott Dixon, left, hoists the trophy after winning an IndyCar auto race as third-place finisher Robert Wickens applauds in Toronto, Sunday, July 15, 2018. (Frank Gunn / Associated Press)
Scott Dixon, left, hoists the trophy after winning an IndyCar auto race as third-place finisher Robert Wickens applauds in Toronto, Sunday, July 15, 2018. (Frank Gunn / Associated Press)

TORONTO – Scott Dixon won the IndyCar race at Toronto on Sunday for his third title at the event.

The New Zealand native finished the 85-lap course on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place first, with Simon Pagenaud of France finishing second. Robert Wickens was third, marking the third year in a row a Canadian landed on the podium.

James Hinchcliffe of Canada was fourth after two straight years of third-place finishes.

Josef Newgarden looked poised to defend his title and win for the third time in Toronto, leading for most of the first 32 laps on a hot and humid day. The start-time temperature was listed at about 80 degrees but felt like more like 95 degrees.

But on Turn 1 of lap 33, the 27-year-old American hit the wall, allowing Dixon to take the lead and he cruised to victory from there.

Dixon entered the event 33 points ahead of Newgarden in the championship standings.

Further chaos ensued at the corner as Ryan Hunter-Reay, Graham Rahal, Will Power, Max Chilton, Ed Jones, Alexander Rossi and Sebastien Bourdais were involved in a collision.

Rossi had said Saturday the repave of the course would likely create more action heading into the first corner.

“I think it’ll allow Turn 1 to be a passing zone now. Before it was still bumpy on the inside, pretty low percentage chance, so now we’re able to improve everything from practice for the race.”

The incident allowed Wickens and Hinchcliffe to surge into third and fourth.

Wickens moved up to second in lap 35 to trail Dixon, who led until he pitted on lap 55 but retook the lead shortly after.

This was the first race in Canada for Wickens, an IndyCar rookie, since competing in Toronto as part of the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic. He spent 12 seasons in Europe, including six with Germany’s DTM series.

Paul Tracy remains the only Canadian to win in Toronto, taking the checkered flag in 1993 and 2003.

Newgarden took his sixth pole of his career, and fourth of the year, on Saturday.

Dixon set a course record earlier in qualifying on Saturday, clocking a time of 58.5546 in segment 2. He started the race second and Simon Pagenaud was third.

Dixon also had the fastest lap time of 59.1394 seconds during the final practice earlier Sunday. He was trailed by Newgarden (59.3684) and American Ryan Hunter-Reay (59.3684).

Hinchcliffe came into the race carrying momentum from a come-from-behind win over Newgarden at the Iowa Corn 300 last weekend.

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