Scott Dixon leisurely took the checkered at the Grand Prix of Houston as the race finished under caution.
Dixon was followed by Simona De Silvestro as she powered her Chevy to a career-high second. Justin Wilson rounded out the top three and was one of six Hondas to finish in the top seven.
Sure, the caution took some of the suspense out of the finish, but it helped add to the drama in store for fans moving forward. While Dixon was on the streets of Houston running strong, Penske Racing and Helio Castroneves were having a rough day.
Castroneves entered the race with a 49-point lead in the championship standings, having just three races left. However, an early gearbox issue doomed the series leader's day, and he finished in 18th.
His lead is just eight points now, and the Penske team better get to work on figuring out what plagued them since everyone is coming back to race again tomorrow.
Along with Castroneves' early issues, teammate Will Power also had a frustrating day. It was a slow pit stop for Power that allowed Dixon to take the lead.
This was Dixon's fourth win this season, and there is a strong chance he gets a fifth on Sunday. After all, he pulled off a double earlier in the IRL calendar when he swept the doubleheader in Toronto.
It was fitting that the race ended under caution after the race began with James Hinchcliffe—who was starting in the third row—stalling out on the standing start. Of course, this led to a massive and dangerous scene of chaos, which Ed Carpenter could not avoid.
Carpenter slammed Hinchcliffe's immobile vehicle, who was then done for the day.
“Man, I’m furious. I know what happened, I don’t want to talk about what happened,” Hinchcliffe said in a post-race quote provided by the Associated Press. “I’m mad. I’m out of the race. I don’t want to get into it here. We’ve had troubles all weekend with something electrical on the car. We finally got it sorted for qualifying. We were ready, it was go time, and we didn’t go."
Then, just seven laps into this race, pole-sitter Takuma Sato was forced to the pits with a flat tire. Sato went on to finish in 17th.
All of this set up for wild and unpredictable race day, and one that came as a gift for fans. All of a sudden, we have an intense championship battle on our hands.