Fans back, Dixon wins 3rd straight in IndyCar
ELKHART LAKE, WIS. » Scott Dixon raced to his third straight victory Saturday with an improbable triumph in the opener of a weekend doubleheader at Road America, as IndyCar welcomed fans to its races for the first time this season.
Dixon took the lead shortly after a caution flag and beat Will Power by 2.5386 seconds. They were followed in order by Alex Palou, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Colton Herta.
Dixon has won each of the three IndyCar races in the pandemic-delayed season. He’s the first IndyCar driver to start a season with at least three consecutive victories since Sebastien Bourdais reeled off four straight to start the 2006 campaign.
The only other drivers to open an IndyCar season with at least three straight victories are A.J. Foyt (seven in 1964) and Al Unser (three in 1971).
This marked the first time spectators were allowed in an IndyCar event this season after they weren’t permitted in races at Fort Worth or Indianapolis. IndyCar is treating each event separately and following local and state health regulations at each track as it decides whether to allow fans.
NHL, PLAYERS TAKE COLLABORATIVE APPROACH » Given the gravity of the new coronavirus pandemic and the abrupt decision to place the NHL season on pause in March, it didn’t take commissioner Gary Bettman and union chief Don Fehr long to realize they were going to have to work together if play was to resume any time soon.
Nearly four months to the day since the last puck dropped, the two sides put aside past differences to have a return-to-play plan in place, and the assurance of labor peace through September 2026 to go with it.
“When we got to March 12 and decided to take the pause, that began a period of perhaps unprecedented collaboration and problem solving,” Bettman said during a Zoom conference call with reporters, a day after the league and players ratified a 24-team expanded playoff, set to begin Aug. 1, and a four-year extension of the collective bargaining agreement.
YANKS CLOSER CHAPMAN HAS VIRUS » New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman became the latest high-profile player to test positive for the coronavirus, his diagnosis announced hours after the Houston Astros canceled another practice due to virus concerns.
In New York, manager Aaron Boone said Chapman wouldn’t “be here for the foreseeable future.” Boone said the left-handed reliever “overall was doing well” and experiencing mild symptoms.
The Yankees are scheduled to start the virus-delayed season on July 23 at the World Series champion Washington Nationals. The AL champ Yankees already were missing infielder D.J. LeMahieu.