Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 from Texas Motor Speedway was vaguely reminiscent of the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500.
Just like at Indy, Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi used a combination of bravery and to challenge for the lead, but his determined charge was ultimately thwarted by a Team Penske Chevrolet. At Indy it was Simon Pagenaud that managed to hold off a late-race charge from Rossi, but this time it was Pagenaud’s teammate Josef Newgarden that found himself challenging for the win.
Newgarden didn’t appear to have a shot at the lead almost all night, but then his crew chief Tim Cindric made the call to pit him off sequence, gaining him valuable track position. He was then able to push hard for the win, having sat in the draft all night saving fuel whilst frontrunners like Rossi and his Andretti teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay were pushing hard and using more fuel.
“This win was down to the team,” Newgarden said post-race. “They keep putting me out front, putting the pressure on me. I guess it’s a good thing. I knew once we pitted and got back to where we were before the pit stop on the green flag sequence, I knew once we got back there, we had such a fuel advantage on everybody, if we could get to the lead, I could crank out super quick laps and jump everybody. That’s what we did.”
Pole sitter Takuma Sato appeared to be the man to beat earlier on in the night, but his race fell apart when he made a mistake coming into his pit box, hitting one of his crew members. The ensuing drama caused Sato to go three laps down and put an end to a consistent string of races for the driver that had some saying he was on his way to his first IndyCar championship.
Newgarden currently leads the NTT IndyCar Series championship with 367 points, while Rossi trails close behind with 347. Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud sits third with 319 points.
If you missed all the action Saturday night, be sure to watch the highlights in the video embedded above.