Scott Dixon third at IndyCars Grand Prix of Alabama

Kiwi driver Scott Dixon has finished third at the Grand Prix of Alabama, climbing to third on the IndyCar series ladder.
Robert Laberge

Kiwi driver Scott Dixon has finished third at the Grand Prix of Alabama, climbing to third on the IndyCar series ladder.

New Zealand driver Scott Dixon made some serious inroads in the IndyCar championship after a third-placed finish at theĀ Grand Prix of Alabama on Monday (NZ time).

Dixon, who won at Long Beach last week to climb to fourth, edged a further place up the standings to third, but slashed the margin between himself and series leader Juan Pablo Montoya from 32 to 13 points.

Dixon, who started from fourth on the grid, finished third in the 90-lap race on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park road course after being overtaken by Graham Rahal on the final lap. The Kiwi has finished on the podium in all six races at Barber Motorsports Park, including four runner-up finishes, but is yet to win.

It was a 1-2 finish for the United States with Josef Newgarden getting his first win of the seris, holding off the charging Rahal.

Newgarden got his milestone win a few hours from his hometown of Hendersonville, Tennessee, with most of the major drama coming behind him.

Reigning series champion Will Power, who won at Barber in 2011 and 2012, was fourth while Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won the past two races at Barber, finished fifth.

Pole-sitter Helio Castroneves faded to 15th place, one position behind Team Penske team-mate Montoya, who maintained the championship lead by three points over Castroneves heading to the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10 (NZ time).

Montoya, the former Formula One star, has 136 points, with Castroneves on 133 and Dixon on 123.

Newgarden's win puts him just four points behind the Kiwi in fourth place.

Series points (after four of 18 races): Juan Pablo Montoya 136, Helio Castroneves 133, Scott Dixon 123, Josef Newgarden 119, Will Power 112, James Hinchcliffe 110, Tony Kanaan 110, Graham Rahal 103, Simon Pagenaud 96.

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