Scott Dixon finishes 15th in IndyCar Grand Prix of St Petersburg
New Zealand IndyCar star Scott Dixon has started his latest campaign with a disappointing 15th placing in the season-opener.
Juan Pablo Montoya won the Grand Prix of St Petersburg in Florida on Sunday (NZ early Monday) in a late duel with Will Power.
Dixon, series champion in 2003, 2008 and 2013, finished well off the pace, 59.6613s behind.
Dixon had posted impressive times during pre-season testing where drivers were getting used to the new aero kits introduced this year to improve speed and allow later breaking into corners.
But he didn't transfer that into qualifying where he finished ninth on a grid topped by Power, the Australian IndyCar champion who broke the lap record.
But it was Montoya, starting from fourth, who dominated the 110 laps of the 2.9-kilometre street circuit, featuring 14 turns.
Dixon's Brazilian team-mate Tony Kannan finished third but it wasn't a good start for Team Chips Ganassi with Sage Karam 19th and Charlie Kimball 21st.
It was the second victory for Montoya since returning full time to IndyCar racing last year.
He won from the pole at Pocono Raceway last July.
This was his first on a road/street course since Vancouver in 1999 (his Cart championship season).
Montoya inherited the lead from Power on an exchange of pit stops on Laps 81 and 82, building the advantage to 3.3 seconds on Lap 84.
The next race in the series is the Grand Prix of Louisiana on April 12.