INDIANAPOLIS — It was quite the game of chess that played out not he road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday as Josef Newgarden secured his third win of the season in Race 1 the IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix.
The win shaved several points off Newgarden’s deficit to Scott Dixon in the championship standings.
Dixon was not in the fight at all for the win during the race. That battle was between Newgarden and Colton Herta. Herta led 29 laps, but a mistake going into Turn 1 while battling with Newgarden for the lead with 25 laps to go put a knife in any shot he had of winning.
“I was so surprised by how quick the car was,” Newgarden said. “It was a great fight today. It was strategy, it was close combat, it was everything you wanted in an INDYCAR race, and I had the quickest car.”
Alexander Rossi was second to secure his third podium finish in a row, and rookie pole-sitter Rinus Veekay was third, the best finish in his young IndyCar career.
Veekay’s pole run in qualifying was the first time an Ed Carpenter Racing car started on the pole at a road course event.
Dixon was running in seventh with two laps to go but made a mistake in a battle with Graham Rahal and lost two spots. He ended up finishing ninth.
“I’m not really sure what happened,” Dixon said. “We just really struggled on the primary tires with the PNC Bank car today. We had a really bad start where Rahal just moved us out of the way. Once that got us out of line, we just started to fall back, and that really hurt.”
Dixon’s points lead in the NTT IndyCar Series Championship standings is now just 40 points. The second race of the Harvest Grand Prix at Indy is Saturday at 2:30 p.m. EDT.