Scott Dixon became the first back to back winner of the 2013 season as he won the first of two IZOD IndyCar races in Toronto. He fended off a strong Sebastien Bourdais and his charging teammate Dario Franchitti whilst Will Power's woes continued as he crashed on the final lap.
The much anticipated standing start was aborted after a stall from Josef Newgarden. Instead the race commenced with a rolling start on Lap 6 after the race started behind the pace car.
Franchitti took off at the start whilst second placed Sebastien Bourdais came under pressure from Will Power. Ryan Hunter-Reay made a great start and moved up to fourth. Scott Dixon was very racey at the start and pressured Tony Kanaan right away. The Brazilian defended but couldn't hold off Dixon for too long as the Kiwi took fifth on lap seven at turn three. He made an almost identical move a lap later on Ryan Hunter-Reay to take fourth.
Despite being hounded by Will Power early on Sebastien Bourdais didn't loose touch with Franchitti and the gap between the pair was down to half a second on lap 17.
The leaders were joined by Will Power on lap 20 to set up a three way battle for the lead, headed by Franchitti. A lap later Franchitti fell back to fourth dramatically being passed by Bourdais, Power and team mate Scott Dixon in the space of just three turns. Franchitti dived into the pits a few laps later to ditch his spent tyres. He emerged in 17th.
Bourdais pitted from the lead at the end of lap 30 but the four time ChampCar champion emerged ahead of Will Power meaning that once the field had cycled through the lead he would have the lead. Power was having non of it though and just one lap later he lunged up the inside of turn one passing Bourdais and inheriting the lead at the end of the lap as former leader Charlie Kimball pitted.
Power had a lead of over two seconds as soon as lap 34 leaving Bourdais in the clutches of Scott Dixon. The winner of the last race couldn't pass though but the field was to bunch up anyway when the first caution of the day came out on lap 35 after Tristan Vautier hit Graham Rahal into the wall at turn four.
When the race got back under way on lap 41 Sebastien Bourdais drew side by side with Power but he couldn't make the move. He fell back and was relegated to third by Scott Dixon at turn 3.
Scott Dixon led, and continued to lead until he pitted on lap 61. Dixon inherited the lead but pitted on the next lap, handing the lead to Bourdais. Dixon rejoined ahead of Power, but only just. Power applied the pressure and attempted to pass at turn three but the move didn't pay off. Sebastien Bourdais was next to pit and it was more bad news for Power as the Frenchman emerged in second.
The second yellow flag of the day came out on lap 65 when a multiple car incident involving Ryan Briscoe, Sebastian Saavedra. Charlie Kimball and Justin Wilson unfolded at turn five.
The green flag dropped with 16 laps to go and Bourdais took advantage of leading to the line, holding on to first place. Behind him, Scott Dixon locked up at turn two, handing second place to his team mate Dario Franchitti, although he claimed the position back not long after. Further back, home town hero James Hinchcliffe sustained rear damage but it wasn't bad enough to take him out of the race and the three time race winner continued.
Sebastien Bourdais led into the final ten laps with Scott Dixon hot on his heels. Dixon seemingly held the advantage with two push-to-pass uses left whilst Bourdais had none of his ten pushes left. Time and again Dixon took the wide line at turn three hoping to squeeze out the leader but Bourdais held on.
Dixon however did take the lead on lap 78, breezing past Bourdais on the approach to turn 3. A lap later Dario Franchitti attempted a carbon copy of Dixon's move on Bourdais but he couldn't emulate his team mate and he stayed in third.
Alex Tagliani brought out a third full course caution with four to go, tagging Simon Pagenaud and spinning around.
With the aim to finish under green, there was a one lap sprint to the finish and as the green flag dropped, Scott Dixon roared off and Bourdais held station in second. For Will Power though, a pass for third didn't pay off. He hit Dario Franchitti at turn three and went straight on into the wall.
Dixon was untouchable and he went on to score his second win of the season. Bourdais was second with Dixon's teammate Dario Franchitti in third. Marco Andretti finished fourth and Tony Kanaan came home fifth . Championship leader Helio Castroneves continued to lead the standings with his sixth placed finish.
After the race, a message from race control revealed that Dario Franchitti had in fact been given a time penalty for blocking and impeding Will Power on the final lap. The decision promoted Marco Andretti to third and dropped Franchitti down to 13th.
Despite a strong start Ryan Hunter-Reay finished a lowly 18th, two laps down after stalling twice in the pitlane and crashing with seven laps to go.
Dixon's win moves him up to seventh in the IndyCar all time winners list. Only A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti and Al Unser Sr. Bobby Unser and Al Unser Jr. have more wins. Bourdais' second place marks the first time a Jay Penske-owned Dragon Racing car finished on the podium, a podium that didn't go as Bourdais had hoped as his crystal trophy smashed after falling when it was lifted.
The second race of the weekend takes place tomorrow evening with Scott Dixon on pole and Ganassi stable-mate Dario Franchitti beside him in second.