By: Spencer Neff
June 8, 2019 | 10:41 PM
After a strategy call got him out front, Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden held off Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi to win Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. Newgarden crossed the finish line 0.8164 seconds ahead of his championship rival.
Tonight, Newgarden extended his lead to 25 points over Rossi in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series championship chase.
With the win, the 2017 IndyCar Series champion now has 13 in his career and a series-leading three victories in 2019. This is Newgarden’s first win on an oval since ISM Raceway in April of 2018. In all, he has four oval wins but this is his first on an oval more than 1.25 miles long.
As has become the norm, the 248-lap race on the 1.44-mile oval was filled with action.
At the start of the race, Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Takuma Sato dominated. Further back, Rossi quickly moved up through the field. The hard-charging driver worked his way from 11th on the grid up to seventh.
During the first round of green flag stops, Sato’s race went awry quickly. After skidding into his stall, Sato hit his left-front tire changer Chris Welch.
Fortunately, Welch was able to get up following the contact. Later, he told NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast he only suffered a scraped knee. Due to the incident, Sato was assessed a stop-and-go penalty, placing him three laps down.
As the pit stops cycled through, Hunter-Reay was able to speed by Dixon, who was getting back on track following his stop. From there, the 2012 IndyCar champion led the way as Dixon continued to run second.
With the race being run at a blistering pace, Hunter-Reay and Dixon continued to lead through the second green flag pit stop cycle. On Lap 135, the green flag run ended. After brushing the wall entering the backstretch, Zach Veach spun down the straightaway before stopping in Turn 3.
Although he kept his No. 26 Gainbridge Honda from hitting the wall afterward, the initial contact broke the toe link in Veach’s suspension. Due to the issue, Veach was on pit road for 44 laps but was able to return to the race.
Despite a valiant effort from Dixon, Hunter-Reay was able to hold the lead after the restart. As the stint wore on, Dixon was able to get around RHR for the lead.
On Lap 175, Rossi charged to the lead but Dixon was able to return the favor within three laps. By Lap 180, Hunter-Reay was in third place and proved unable to work the draft to his advantage. After losing the lead, he was forced to pit.
Through the final cycle of green flag pit stops, a number of drivers – including Newgarden – were able to wait for their final pit stop as they worked an alternate strategy from that of the leaders.
With 46 laps to go, Newgarden cycled back out to the lead in front of Hunter-Reay and Dixon. On Lap 219, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe got loose exiting Turn 2.
Similar to Veach, Hinch spun onto the apron. Unfortunately, he made heavy contact with the inside wall and his race ended but he walked away from the crash.
Once the race restarted with 23 laps to go, the intensity ramped up exponentially. With 20 laps to go, Dixon and Herta made contact in Turn 3 and spun into the wall, bringing out the yellow again.
After the restart on Lap 236, Newgarden was able to quickly pull away. Despite a valiant effort, Rossi’s car was unable to pass on the outside of Newgarden and he settled for second.
By finishing third, 2016 race winner Graham Rahal earned his first podium finish since a runner-up effort at St Petersburg in 2018.
In fourth, Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Santino Ferrucci earned the best finish of his career. He is currently the leader for the NTT IndyCar Series’ Rookie of the Year Award, and at ninth in points, is the only rookie currently top-10 in the championship chase.
Despite leading a race-high 90 laps, Hunter-Reay finished fifth, completing an all-American Top Five.
After a weekend away, the NTT IndyCar Series will make its annual trek to Road America.
On-track activity will begin on Friday, June 21 with a two-hour practice on the 4.14-mile, 14-turn road course. This session starts at 12:00 p.m. Eastern time, with coverage on NBC Sports Gold.
The June 23 race will feature a half-hour pre-race show on NBC set to begin at 12:00 p.m. Eastern time, leading into the race broadcast at 12:30 p.m.
For Sunday’s 55-lap race, the green flag is scheduled for 12:43 p.m. Eastern (11:43 p.m. track time).
During each on-track session, join us on Twitter as well. We will be online during the day with insight on all the latest developments.
While you are on social media, check out Open-Wheels on Facebook and Instagram too! Last but not least, have a great week and check out Open-Wheels.com for continued coverage on the DXC Technology 600 and the NTT IndyCar Series.
Header image by Chris Owens/INDYCAR.