14 Mar 2016

Dixon 7th in season opener

11:24 am on 14 March 2016

Defending IndyCar series champion Scott Dixon has finished seventh in the opening round of the new season in Florida.

Penske driver Juan Pablo Montoya controlled the closing laps of the St Petersburg Grand Prix to win from teammate Simon Pagenaud with Ryan Hunter-Reay third.

Montoya's 15th career Indy car win ties him with Alex Zanardi for 31st on the career chart.

It is also the 179th victory for Team Penske in Indy car racing, the most of any team in history, and eighth for Roger Penske's outfit in the 13-race St. Petersburg history.

The only thing missing from the Team Penske domination was Will Power, who took ill after claiming pole position and was diagnosed with a mild concussion and didn't start the race.

Dixon, who had started fourth on the grid, said "unfortunately we had a radiator that was clogged and overheating and there was nothing we could do. We had to pit off sequence so the Target team could get it cleaned up. That stop took a while and put us to the back."

The New Zealand and Team Chip Ganassi Indy Car driver Scott Dixon.

New Zealand driver Scott Dixon Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"We were fortunate that the one big incident took half the field out and let us gain some positions back. But if we didn't have that problem early on, we were definitely looking at a podium finish."