Dixon wins again at Texas in IndyCar's delayed season opener

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Scott Dixon has a change of tires and adjustments made to his car during a pit stop early during an IndyCar auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, June 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

FORT WORTH, Texas – FORT WORTH, TexasIndyCar packed every bit of its delayed season-opening event into one long, hot day in Texas without any fans in the stands. Scott Dixon was the fastest for most of it at a place he knows well.

Dixon, a five-time IndyCar champion, took the checkered flag at dusk Saturday for his fourth win at the 1 1/2-mile, high-banked oval, where drivers also practiced and qualified earlier in the day. The 39-year-old New Zealander raced to his 47th career victory and matched A.J. Foyt's record of 18 seasons with a win.

“It was such a team effort," said Dixon, third on the career wins list behind Foyt's 67 and Mario Andretti's 52. “It’s just so fast. Any situation we were in, we could just go for it."

After a restart with three laps left following a caution when young teammate Felix Rosenqvist crashed while running second, Dixon sped away in the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Honda for a 4.4-second victory over Simon Pagenaud.

Defending IndyCar champion and polesitter Josef Newgarden was third behind Pagenaud, his teammate at Team Penske.

Nearly three months after the start of the season was put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, IndyCar finally got on the track for what would usually be the midpoint race of its season.

The massive grandstands that can seat well more than 100,000 people were empty, and not because of extreme heat — temperatures in the mid-90s with a heat index around 100 degrees Fahrenheit throughout practice, qualifying and even much of the race. No spectators were allowed, as will also be the case for the next race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 4.

“It’s rotten that the fans aren’t here. I wish everybody was here to celebrate,” said Dixon, who extended his own record to 16 seasons in a row with a victory.