The Indycar Series returns to ovals, and Scott Dixon returns to his winning ways as the defending champion dominates the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at the Kansas Speedway.
After struggling in the first two races, both street circuits, it didn't take long for Dixon to pass pole sitter Graham Rahal. Dixon would lead most of the race until losing the lead to Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe in the pits.
Luck would turn on Dixon's side as the caution came out while leader Briscoe was pitting. This caused Briscoe to lose lots of track position and to hand over the lead to Dixon and the Ganassi Racing team.
"It's a solid result, but it's really disappointing," said Briscoe, who rallied back to finish fourth. "We had the car to win and we had the track position until we got caught out with that yellow, so it's really unfortunate. But I'm happy to be disappointed for that reason, that's for sure."
But Helio Castroneves, who made a hard charge from the rear of the field, was hot on Dixon's tail.
Dixon showed his experience and did not bite under pressure, holding off the Brazilian Penske driver to claim his 17th career victory (11th on an oval), leading 134 of 200 laps for a dominating performance.
"I think we were trimmed to win as they say," said Dixon, who started fourth in his 99th IndyCar Series event. "It's still very tight and we're still within a shot to win this championship. We're definitely looking strong going into Indy."
Castroneves' return to ovals was not an easy one, after race officials made him start at the rear of the field for driving under the white line during qualifying. Things then became worse when on lap 15, he made contact with No. 14 Vitor Meira, forcing him to change the front wing.
But the two-time Indy winner put his working boots on and charged to the front for a second place finish.
"Yes, you want to win, but Scott did a hell of a job," said Castroneves. "I know this track is totally different than Indianapolis, but at least you knew who you racing against and what teams are promising are going to be competitive and quick.
"So today was a very good day in both ways: championship points and also preparing for the big race, which is Indy."
After many criticism towards Andretti Green Racing, the team put on a great performance at Kansas, having all four of their car come away with a top ten finish.
Tony Kanaan came in third, putting him in the points lead only one point ahead of Ryan Briscoe.
"Consistency is definitely the key," said Kanaan, who recorded his third top 5 in as many starts this season and the 69th in his career. "But we need to work a lot harder to get this car to win races. But in the meantime, we keep finishing where we need to be. Obviously, it feels good, but it's so early in the season. It's good momentum going to Indy."
Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti rebounded from rough starts to their season by finishing fifth and sixth respectively and Hideki Mutoh crossed the finish line in eight; it's the first time that all four AGR cars posted top ten finishes in one race since Milwaukee in 2006.
Now the Indycar Series sets off into the month of May and all you race fans know what that means: it's time to go to Indy!