Scott Dixon's IndyCar title defence on ropes
Scott Dixon's IndyCar title defence is on the ropes after a disappointing weekend at the Grand Prix of Houston double-header.
The New Zealander crashed out of race one yesterday and limped home to finish 18th in today's second race, leaving him well off the championship pace after 10 of 18 rounds.
Dixon, who last year claimed his third IndyCar series title, drops a place to ninth overall and 168 points behind the leader, Australian Will Power.
Dixon was in the mix early but after a trip to the pits on lap 21 of 90, he was forced to pit again two laps later with what appeared to be brake problems on the No 9 Target Chip Ganassi car.
His second stop must have seemed like an eternity to Dixon, who was visibly frustrated as he watched his crew work on the car.
Returning to the race several laps off the pace, he was never going to get back into it and eventually crossed 18th and last of the drivers who managed to finish the race.
Frenchman Simon Pagenaud claimed his second win of the season, and fourth of his career, with two rookies joining him on the podium.
Russian Mikhail Aleshin was second and Brit Jack Hawksworth third, the first podium finishes for both drivers.
With the win, Pagenaud closed to within 75 points of Power in the overall standings and moved into fourth. Power still holds a 39-point lead over second-placed Helio Castroneves.
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