Firstly, Scott Dixon initially tucked in behind Rossi, however then pulled alongside on the surface earlier than being edged huge by the polesitter. Dixon took the trace and tucked his Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda in behind the chief, adopted by the Workforce Penske-Chevrolets of Will Energy and Newgarden.
Their teammate Simon Pagenaud had slipped again from fifth to seventh behind Graham Rahal’s RLLR-Honda and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti), each of whom had gone for black major tires at first, not like their fast opposition.
On the again there was hassle nevertheless, Spencer Pigot, Marcus Ericsson and Jack Harvey colliding and stalling at Flip three, bringing out the full-course warning. Matheus Leist was additionally concerned, obliging him to return in for a brand new entrance wing for the AJ Foyt Racing-Chevy. Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Ericsson was adjudged at fault for the pile-up and was issued a drive-through penalty.
The restart got here on the finish of Lap four, and Dixon went concurrently Rossi and once more threatened him on the surface right down to Flip 1, however once more was firmly rebuffed.
On Lap 7, into the fountain flip, Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta made a daring transfer down the within of former Indy Lights teammate Patricio O’Ward (Carlin-Chevy), and the Mexican’s misplaced momentum noticed him additionally fall behind the second Ganassi automobile of Felix Rosenqvist and Marco Andretti (Andretti) by the tip of the lap.
The next lap, Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais and Santino Ferrucci pulled previous, and the phrase from the pits was that O’Ward was attempting to save lots of gasoline. It regarded a bit extreme when he fell to 16th on Lap 9.
Up entrance Rossi was setting quickest laps, and Dixon was matching him, staying inside 1.5sec, the pair of them over 3sec forward of Energy who by Lap 11 had a 2sec lead over Newgarden. Josef was having to maintain a watch in his mirrors for Rahal and Hunter-Reay, who have been dueling over fifth.
On Lap 13, Rossi’s lead over Dixon was 2sec, because the Andretti Autosport ace laid down quickest lap after quickest lap on his pink tires. On the 17-lap mark, that benefit was over 4sec, with Energy now conserving tempo with Dixon, conserving his deficit underneath three seconds. Within the outer reaches of the highest 10, Herta and Rosenqvist have been inside a second of one another and eighth-placed Takuma Sato.
Rossi’s new reds had helped him pull 7sec over Dixon (on used reds) by Lap 24, and Energy was closing in on the second-placed automobile.
James Hinchcliffe’s Arrow SPM automobile ducked into the pits from 13th to vary to pink tires on Lap 25 and Hunter-Reay, Bourdais and Andretti did the identical, switching from blacks to reds.
On Lap 26, Rossi stopped for major tires and Dixon adopted swimsuit, leaving Energy briefly up entrance though he ducked in subsequent time by, and Newgarden stopped the next lap. Newgarden emerged in entrance of Energy who in flip had come out forward of Dixon.
As soon as everybody had stopped, nevertheless, Rossi nonetheless had a 6sec lead, whereas Energy had Dixon, Rahal and Hunter-Reay – the latter two on reds – lined up behind him. When Energy obtained held up by Harvey, Dixon was everywhere in the #12 Penske and when it lagged exiting the hairpin because of an overboost, the Ganassi automobile began pulling alongside the within for Flip 1.
Energy left his braking too late and skated down the escape highway, rejoining in eighth forward of Hinchcliffe, Rosenqvist, Bourdais and Herta.
By Lap 40, Rossi was 10sec away from Newgarden who was underneath stress from Dixon. Simply over 1sec behind the Ganassi driver was Rahal and 1sec behind him was Hunter-Reay.
Herta understeered into the wall at Flip 9 on Lap 52, obliging him to pit and retire.
On Lap 54 Hunter-Reay and Andretti stopped for extra pink tires, whereas each RLLR vehicles additionally pulled in. Rossi, having had his probabilities burned by a full-course warning at COTA by leaving his final pitstop too late, ducked in on Lap 56, and Dixon did likewise however had a dreadful cease – 18.6sec – as a result of gasoline hose not connecting correctly.
As soon as the pitstops shook out, Dixon was down in fifth, behind the still-dominant Rossi, Newgarden, Rahal and Hunter-Reay. 5 seconds behind him have been Pagenaud, whose nearest risk was now Energy, whose #12 crew had jumped him forward of Sato.
Rossi’s race was trouble-free over the remaining laps, regardless of a gesticulation at a hard backmarker, and he held his lead over Newgarden at round 10sec. The Penske driver may do nothing about it, however nor was he troubled by third-placed Rahal who sat three.5sec down, and was extra targeted on defending from Hunter-Reay.
Hunter-Reay began to really feel the stress from Dixon into the ultimate 15 laps. Pagenaud in sixth ran 13sec behind, one second forward of Energy, the pair of them now 5 seconds away from Sato.
On Lap 82, Hunter-Reay was gradual exiting Flip eight, as he went to “full emergency fuel-save mode”, and Dixon glided by to grab fourth. Dixon closed on Rahal, and Rahal locked his brake into Flip eight on the ultimate lap. The RLLR driver – now out of push-to-pass increase – swung proper to cowl the within line, Dixon was going the identical means and his entrance wing nudged Rahal’s proper rear.
Dixon, hitting his push to cross, continued tailing the RLLR machine and the five-time champion felt Rahal had blocked him in response to his transfer. Race Management agreed, and Dixon was granted third place.
Rossi’s profitable margin was 20sec over Newgarden, having led 80 of the 85 laps to finish his sixth victory and first of the season.
Behind the Dixon/Rahal battle, Hunter-Reay simply held onto fifth to beat the Penskes of Pagenaud and Energy, whereas Sato, Hinchcliffe and Rosenqvist accomplished the High 10.