Kiwi Scott Dixon has avoided letting his Indycar Championship lead evaporate despite a rough race at this morning's Iowa Corn 300 where he finishing 12th.

James Hinchcliffe took the chequered flag under yellow ahead of Spencer Pigot and Takuma Sato.

It was the first win of a tough season for the Canadian.

"This is such a good feeling after what happened in May," he said in reference to missing out on qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.

Advertisement

"We knew we had it in us. We didn't qualify the best but we had a good car.

"The last stint the car was a rocket ship."

Defending series champion Josef Newgarden dominated the short oval event and led for most of the race but was passed late in the final stint by Hinchcliffe and was then caught out by a late safety car. Many of the top runners, including Newgarden, dived for the pits to get fresh tyres for a short sprint to the flag.

But the yellow took longer to clear than expected and the race never went green again.
"We had a great car today so I can't complain much," Newgarden said. "It is a tough pill to swallow seeing Hinch go past me at the end.

"It just went away from us.

"We tried to do what we can to make it competitive at the end but we just ran out of time."

Dixon struggled for pace on his opening stint and dropped two laps behind the leader. He used different strategy to try and get back onto the lead lap but never had the car pace to achieve it.

His team made the mistake of putting the wrong tyres on late in the race and he had to make an extra stop to remedy the problem.

The drama with the yellow finish helped minimize the damage as his main title rivals failed to capitalize on his rare off-day.

He maintains a 33 point lead over Newgarden in the championship fight.

"The first stint I think it was all round grip – it was really loose," Dixon explained. "It got better through the race but then we had a shifting over-heating issue where we could only use one gear at a time, let it cool off and then go back.

"That definitely hampered us.

"It was a good point's day for us – a lot of the guys around us that are fighting at the pointy end had a pretty rough day."

The series moves to Toronto next week.