Kiwi Dixon closes gap on Castroneves
Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Dallara drives during qualifying for the IZOD IndyCar Series Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix Of Houstonat Reliant Park on October 5, 2013 in Houston, Texas
Dixon's win combined with a season-worst 18th-place finish for Brazil's Helio Castroneves allowed Dixon to trim Castroneves' lead from 49 points to just eight.
There are two races left in the season, comprising Sunday's second race in Houston and the October 19 race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
"It is not what we expected, but I am still the points leader," Castroneves said. "We were competitive but I was worried about the car changing a lot from qualifying to the race."
Qualifying had been scheduled for Friday, but a bump in the track in turn one of the 2.57 kilometre (1.68 mile), 10-turn temporary street circuit forced the session to be postponed until Saturday morning.
Track crews worked overnight and into the morning to grind the area in turn one to make it safe for the drivers.
It marked Dixon's fourth win of the season, and the 33rd of his IndyCar career. In July, the two-time IndyCar champ won at Pocono and then claimed a weekend-sweep in Toronto.
Castroneves qualified at a season-low 21st. He had a gearbox problem and spent nine laps on pit lane getting repairs. He had been the only driver to complete every lap in the first 16 races this season prior to the Houston race.
Dixon, of Auckland, led a race-high 44 laps and crossed the finish line ahead of Switzerland's Simona De Silvestro when the race finished under a caution flag. De Silvestro's second-place run marked her first podium spot in the series.
Justin Wilson, of England, finished third, followed by Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, who won last month's race in Baltimore. Josef Newgarden, of the USA, rounded out the top five.
"I am still in it. I had a good day," Pagenaud said. "I have a shot at a win tomorrow. We are not far back, just a tick off."
Japan's Takuma Sato started from the pole but he stumbled to a 17th place finish.
In April, Sato became the first Japanese-born driver to win an IndyCar race with a dominating performance on the streets of Long Beach, California.
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