Kiwi Scott Dixon avoided drama in an incident-filled Indycars race on the streets of Toronto to claim his 44th career win and give his championship charge a massive boost.

Dixon inherited the lead a third of the way through the race and powered to his third win of the season while most of his championship rivals ran into problems, including second-placed Josef Newgarden.

The Kiwi nearly doubled his championship lead, which is now worth 62 points ahead of Newgarden. He led home Simon Pagenaud and Robert Wickens.

"I am worn out – that was definitely a physical race," Dixon said.

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"With those stop-goes it was easy to pick up debris on those tyres and I think that is what happened to Josef. He tried to go a little bit faster going into the last corner, got into the grey and that was pretty much it.

"The first thing that popped into my mind was not to do the same thing.

"It was tough on those re-starts. We had some issues there with lapped traffic. I understand they were trying to stay on the lead lap but Hunter-Reay was definitely backing us up there.

"Once we got clear of him we were able to run two seconds a lap faster.

"Now we have to keep these points rolling."

Dixon made a strong start from second and put pressure on pole-sitter Newgarden. The two went side by side at the first corner but the defending series champion held off the Kiwi.

The two held positions through the opening stint as some of their title rivals ran into drama. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi suffered damage to their nose cones on the same lap and were forced to pit while Aussie Will Power picked up damage to his rear after he was hit from behind by Rossi.

There was absolute carnage on the re-start with Newgarden running wide and hitting the wall, allowing the Kiwi to ease by. With damage on the car he got swamped and lost a heap of time. With the field bunched up there was always going to be trouble at turn one and Graham Rahal, Sebastien Bourdais, Power and Rossi were caught up in a multiple car crash.

Despite all of their mishaps – the affected drivers all managed to get in, repair the broken bits and get back out on the lead lap while behind the safety car.

Dixon had control of the race after the final round of pit stops but he got held up by Hunter-Reay, who as almost a lap down. Dixon struggled to get by and started to fall into the clutches of second-placed Simon Pagenaud.

As he tried to get into a position to make a pass on Hunter-Reay, Dixon slid wide and brushed the wall. It was a rare error from the four-time series champion and didn't damage his car. Eventually Dixon slipped by and was able to get to the chequered flag without further drama.

Rossi finished eighth and Newgarden ninth.