Josef Newgarden would claim victory for Team Penske to conclude the 2020 IndyCar season. Scott Dixon finished on the podium with a third-place run to claim his sixth IndyCar championship.
“Happy to get a win out here,” Newgarden stated. “So proud of my team, they were on it all year. I don’t think I would change one thing that we did and they were perfect all season in my eyes. Just short, but a decent way to go into the off season with another victory and to hold our head up high.”
Will Power and Alexander Rossi would lead the front row to the green flag. Power would pull a second gap over Rossi as the field tackled the Floridan street course.
Laps later Rossi took the lead over Power as the No. 12 would struggle with downshifting. Colton Herta would later run down the Penske car as the No. 88 would pass Power on the outside into Turn One. James Hinchcliffe would follow in tow and also take a spot away from Power.
Scott McLaughlin and Felix Rosenqvist would be one of the first drivers to pit early on. Rinus Veekay would also come in laps later. Not many would pit early on, but would keep their cars out on the track.
As the drivers hit the Lap 30 mark, Dixon would bring his car down pit road. A great number of the drivers would pit laps later to ignite the pit cycle.
Rosenqvist suffered a puncture on Lap 33 after contact with Santino Ferrucci. For Newgarden, he would be able to eke out Power as the cycle of stops concluded. As a result, he would be upwards in the fifth position, while Dixon would remain in 11th.
Power’s issues would continue to grow as he would bring out the yellow on Lap 37. His car would go up into the marbles and hit the wall, sustaining massive left side damage to his No. 12, knocking him out of the running.
Rossi would lead the field on the restart from Herta. Another yellow would shortly fly when Ferrucci’s No. 18 crashed into the Turn 2 wall. Conor Daly would experience some issues under yellow as his No. 20 would have a puncture on the left rear tire.
On the restart, Rossi would have a good launch on Herta. The No. 88 would drop backward as Hinchcliffe would reel him in. At the back of the pack, calamity would strike as McLaughlin and Veekay would crash in Turn 1. The No. 3 would look underneath but spin out into the path of Veekay.
Rossi would maintain his ground on the launch while Rosenqvist would try and get his lap back. Dixon would be stuck in a battle between Jack Harvey, Rahal, and Oliver Askew, with Dixon passing the three of them to get upward to the sixth position.
Oliver Askew would get past Ryan Hunter-Reay for the ninth position. Hunter-Reay would continue to drop as he would fall outside the Top 10 at the end of Lap 54. Marco Andretti would begin to lurk forward as he would pass Rahal into Turn 1 to take seventh away shortly afterwards.
Herta would overdrive the corner, losing two spots to Hinchcliffe and Newgarden.
The No. 1 would come down pit road on Lap 66. Dixon would come in a lap later. Once again green flag pit stops would ignite.
On Lap 70 Rossi would spin out of Turn 3, hitting the inside wall and bringing out the full course caution. Rossi’s crash reshuffled the order as many drivers would come down pit road.
Herta would have the launch over Hinchcliffe with Alex Palou in third. Andretti and Sato would make contact, cutting the No. 98’s tire as he would crash into the barriers. A full course yellow would fly.
Hinchcliffe would spin out under yellow in Turn 14 and hit Harvey’s car after attempting to merge back onto the racing surface.
With 21 laps to go Herta would lead the field once again. However, Palou and Newgarden would pass the No. 88. Newgarden would muscle his way to the lead. Dixon would move his way up to third while Sebastien Bourdais and Simon Pagenaud would collide but with not much damage. Askew would hit the barriers after contact with Sato, bringing out another yellow.
Newgarden would lead the way with 16 laps to go with Herta, Dixon, and Pato O’Ward rounding out the top spots. O’Ward would march up to second with a dive underneath Herta. On Lap 86 O’Ward would look for the lead into Turn 1 but to no avail. Herta would go wide and would drop outside the Top 10.
With six laps to go Palou would hit pit road, Rosenqvist would also pit as they would have to top off on their fuel.
Newgarden pulled the gap over O’Ward as he would win the finale at St. Petersburg. Dixon would finish in third and claim his sixth championship.
“It feels really cool to finally celebrate something here,” Dixon said. “We have a lot of memories, some of them not so great. It’s nice to be in this situation to celebrate with loved ones. For me, it’s just the people that make this possible and this journey we’ve been on for so long now with this team. This is a great way to top it off this year.”
Newgarden’s win marks the 17th win of his IndyCar career. Dixon’s championship run has made him just one championship short of tying the record set by A.J. Foyt’s seven.