Scott Dixon captured his second consecutive IndyCar Grand Prix of Texas race on Saturday night, cruising to his 51st career win by holding off a spirited challenge from fellow New Zealander Scott McLaughlin.
"That was pretty awesome," said reigning series champion Dixon, 40. "I love Texas. It was a bit of a crazy night and very tense at end. It was cool racing my countryman for those last few laps."
Chip Ganassi Racing's Dixon has now won in back-to-back at the Texas Motor Speedway for his fifth career win on the oval track.
Last June he won the pandemic-delayed 2020 season opener without any fans in Fort Worth.
He also seized an 18-point lead in the championship race as he chases a record eighth title.
The victory put him on pole for Sunday's race on the same oval as part of the weekend doubleheader.
Team Penske rookie McLaughlin made it a one-two Kiwi finish, reaching the podium in his oval debut and just his fourth ever IndyCar start. He finished just 0.2646 adrift of Dixon.
"I have never been this bloody happy for second," said McLaughlin, of Hamilton. "It was cool battling with my all time hero. Two Kiwis one and two.
"I worked really hard behind scenes to make it feel good. We will get a win one day."
Mexico's Pato O'Ward finished third, followed by Spain's Alex Palou in fourth while and Graham Rahal rounded out the top five in the race that was delayed several times by accidents.
Palou started on the pole after qualifying was cancelled Saturday because of overnight rain and morning mist. The scheduled start of the race was also moved up about a half hour because weather forecasters said the chances of rain would increase later Saturday evening but the rain held off.
The 1.5-mile Texas track invites trouble at each corner and Saturday was no different. IndyCar has four oval-track races this season but Texas is the most high-banked of the ovals.
Dixon started third and jumped out to the lead ahead of Ganassi teammate Palou on the third lap.
Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato finished ninth.