Live updates: IndyCar Championship - Kiwi Scott Dixon chases sixth title at St Petersburg

Wrap - What a great race. Newgarden drove the prefect race but was shadowed by the Kiwi for the entire 100 lap journey. While other contenders fell around them, the two championship contenders remained clean and avoided the carnage - really shows why they are the elite of the pack.

Finish - Scott Dixon is a six-time IndyCar Champion! Comes home in theird spot behind race winner Newgarden and Patrick O'Ward. Scott McLaughlin crashed out on lap 47 after a decent day at the offiice where he jumped up several positions. 

Final lap - Dixon is a lap away from the title.

Lap 98/100 - Newgarden completes another lap - lead is still five seconds.... Dixon 6.2 seconds back.

Lap 97/100 - No change at the front ..... Dixon is a clear third, 1.4 seconds up the road from Bourdais. 

Lap 96/100 - Newgarden leads by nearly five seconds from O'Ward and Dixon. 

Lap 94/100 - Status quo at the front. Dixon five laps from a series title. 

Lap 93/100 - Newgarden's lead is 3.6 seconds from O'Ward with Dixon 0.8 seconds back. 

Lap 92/100 - Dixon eight laps from history and close to within one championship crown of the great AJ Foyt. 

Lap 91/100 - Newgarden leads by 2.1 seconds from O'Ward with Dixon a second back from O'Ward. 

Lap 90/100 - Dixon is 10 laps from sixth IndyCar title regardless of Newgarden's victory. Third is good enough for the Kiwi. 

Lap 89/100 - Dixon has a gap of a little less than a second back to Bourdais in fourth. 

Lap 88/100 - Newgarden looks like he has resisited the challenge of O'Ward and his lead is almost out to a second with Dixon 2.5 seconds back in third. 

Lap 87/100 - Newgarden leads O'Ward by 0.6 seconds from Dixon, Bourdais, Palou and Hunter-Reay. 

Lap 86/100 - O'Ward and Newgarden duking it out at the front with Dixon 1.4 seconds back in third. Bourdais is a second behind Dixon, so fresh air for the Kiwi. 

Lap 85/100 - Dixon keeps it clean .... O'Ward is up to second and is all over Newgarden at the front. Herta third with Dixon fourth and Bourdais fifth. Herta spins and Dixon is up to third! Good enough for a championship title. 

Lap 84/100 - Set for the green flag and Newgarden leads Herta as O'Ward drive by Dixon and the first corner. 

Lap 82/100 - Sato at fault again on that restart, making contact with Askew and sending him into the tyre wall. So Newgarden leads from Herta and Dixon .... as it stands the Kiwi wins the title by 18 points. 

Lap 81/100 - Full Course Yellow: Newgarden jumps to the lead at the restart! Superb from the reigning champ. Dixon  is up to third, behind Herta and is where he needs to be. Oliver Askew is into the wall and again we are under caution, which means more tension and chance for carnage at the restart. 

Lap 80/100 - Alex Palou is in second, but he needs to pit again - the rain isn't heavy but that could is very dark and the wind is picking up.  

Lap 78/100 - Just to add some more tension - there is a little bit of rain falling with a nasty black cloud hanging above. Crazy!

Lap 76/100 - Hinchcliffe spun under yellow and made contact with Herta trying to rejoin and ruined both their races. Newgarden has a real good shot at the race win here. Dixon needs to keep it clean and hold his spot. 

Lap 75/100 - Full Course Yellow! Back under green and Herta leads the pack away ... Dixon keeps it clean and stays out of trouble, but Marco Andretti doesn't as he's punted off by Takuma Sato at the third corner.  Hinchcliffe has major front wing damage and his chances are gone, which will leave Newgarden in second spot - Dixon in fifth, which is enough for the title.

Lap 73/100 - For Scott McLaughlin fans, the supercars champ crashed out of the race on lap 47 after a decent day where he jumped to 16th from 21st on the grid. 

Lap 70/100 - Full Coure Yellow! Herta pits and jumps Newgarden and Hinchcliffe. Rossi spins at the second corner and hits the wall and is out! Big mistake from the man at the front for the entire race. Herta leads from Hinchcliffe, Newgarden, O'Ward and Dixon. The Kiwi will need to keep it clean at the restart. 

Lap 68/100 - O'Ward pits and stays ahead of Dixon, splitting the championship rivals. Hinchcliffe pits from the lead and rejoins behind Rossi. 

Lap 67/100 - Rossi and Dixon both pit to cover off Newgarden and rejoin. Dixon is midpack in 14th among a slew of slower cars, but he is has a clear view of Newgarden one spot in front. 

Lap 65/100 - Newgarden in for his final stop - is moving to the longer running black tyres for his final stint. They need a yellow flag right now and they will jump the field. 

Lap 63/100 - Bryan Herta spins and hands a free kick to Hinchcliffe and Newgarden and has dropped to fourth. Newgarden in third now, Dixon sixth, which is enough from him to claim the title.

Lap 60/100 - Rossi leads Herta by two seconds. Hinchcliffe is third ahead of Newgarden, O'Ward and Scott Dixon. Scott McLaughlin is out if the race after crashing several laps ago. He had worked his way to as high as 16th after starting 21st. 

Lap 57/100 - Dixon is two seconds down the road from Newgarden, but is now in a spot where he just needs to avoid trouble and the championship will be his. 

Lap 55/100 - So at the front it's Rossi from Herta, Hinchcliffe, Newgarden, O'Ward and Dixon. Scott doing what he needs to do to win the title. 

Lap 53/100 - Back under green - Dixon has jumped Harvey and Rahal at the restart and is up to sixth spot. Newgarden still fouth. Great job by the Kiwi. 

Lap 51/100 - McLaughlin says: "Best day of my life outside of my wedding. That was awesome. Made a move on Marco and not really sure what happened, so gutted about that, but had fun while I was out there." 

Lap 50/100 - So it's looking like if Dixon stays out of trouble, he has enough pace to stay inside the top 10. That means Newgarden has to win and hope Dixon has an issue of finished 10th or worse. Becoming less likely that anything other than a race win for Newgarden will be enough for the defending champ. 

Lap 48/100 - Real shame for McLaughlin who had been doing a really good job staying out of trouble and making small gains. Newgarden is still fourth and Dixon eighth - so advantage Kiwi as it is. 

Lap 47/100 - Full Course Caution! McLaughlin is out! He's made contact with Veekay at the restart. Andretti closed the foor on Scotty at the first corner and spun him around and Veekay crashed into him. Sad end to the day for the supercars champ.

Lap 46/100 - McLaughlin up to 16th now. Expect Newgarden to be very aggressive at the restart and make a move on Hinchcliffe in third. 

Lap 45/100 - Still under yellow - Dixon up to eighth now as Veekay pits for fresh tyres and fuel top up.

Lap 42/100 - So as it stands, Dixon is where he needs to be in ninth - no matter what Newgarden does, ninth is good enough for the Kiwi. McLaughlin is 18th.

Lap 41/100 - Newgarden was super aggressive at the last restart and almost made contact with Veekay, but he got the move down and is slowly getting to be where he needs to be, but Rossi and Herta are very quick at the front and its very hard to pass under green flag racing.

Lap 40/100 - Ful Course Caution! Back racing now as Rossi leads the field away. Newgarden drives by Veekay at the restart and is up to 4th spot. Dixon is where he needs to be in ninth. Ferrucci hits the wall at the second turn and we are under yellow again. McLaughlin dropped a few spots under the previous yellow and is in 19th.

Lap 38/100 - Still under yellow for another lap - Dixon and Newgarden have kinda split their strategies here on different tyre sets. Dixon is on the longer running blacks, while Newgarden is on the quicker reds. McLaughlin pits from 16th - the good news for him is most of the runners around him have also stopped. 

Lap 37/100 - This is great news for Dixon - Newgarden was making big gains and Power was backing up Dixon, so it's advantage Kiwi. McLaughlin is driving superbly - up to 16th, but he will probably pit under yellow here and drop to the back. 

Lap 35/100 - Full Course Caution! First round of stops are done. Rossi from Herta, Hinchcliffe, Veekay, Newgarden, Rahal, Harvey, Power, O'Ward, Bourdais and Dixon in 11th. Newgarden is flying ... he's seven seconds up the road from the Kiwi. Power is backing up the field in front of Dixon, but as I say that his race is done as he hits the wall. 

Lap 34/100 - Newgarden has driven by Power for 10th spot - Power has been struggling. Newgarden is making gains. but still needs several more spots. Dixon is 13th - Newgarden eigth.

Lap 33/100 - Flat tyre for Rosenqvist - that'll jump Dixon above him into 20th. 

Lap 32/100 - McLaughlin is up to 21st - jumped Palou.

Lap 30/100 - Newgarden pits and Dixon follows him - Dixon has lost track position to Bourdais - Newgarden three seconds up the road.

Lap 29/100 - Rossi leads Herta by a second at the front ... Newgarden is eighth, Dixon 10 - two seconds back.

Lap 28/100 - McLaughlin just set his fastest lap of the race - he's a couple seconds back from Rosenqvist in 22nd and  nine second clear of Andretti behind him.

Lap 25/100 - Newgarden is changing strategy midway through this stint. They have dropped a fuel save drive and are now looking to turn it up. He's been told by his team to push and pass Harvey a second up the road. Dixon is 2.5 second back from his rival.

Lap 23/100 - McLaughlin 53 seconds off the race lead in 22nd.

Lap 22/100 - Dixon still in control of the championship - two seconds back from Newgarden, but the American needs to finish at the top at this rate.

Lap 20/100 - Gains for McLaughlin - he's jumped Chilton and Andretti after his early stop - 22nd now.

Lap 18/100 - We are in the midst of the first pit window, so positions will change bu here is the current order: Rossi, Herta, Hinchcliffe, Power, O'Ward, Harvey, Newgarden, Askew, Dixon and Sato. McLaughlin is 24th and last. 

Lap 16/100 - Rossi leads Herta by a second with Hinchcliffe 5 seconds back. Dixon is a second nehind Newgarden, so it's going to plan for the Kiwi - if he can see the American on track, he is doing his job.

Lap 13/100 - McLaughlin's early stop is probably a good thing as he gets to drive in clean air for a few laps. He's 50 seconds off the race lead. Newgarden still eighth and Dixon now 10th. 

Lap 11/100 - Newgarden still eighth and Dixon still 11th, so no change to the championship outlook - Dixon would be champion if they finish as is.

Lap 10/100 - McLaughlin had flat spotted a tyre which is why his pace was off - he rejoins almost a  lap down. Not an ideal start for the Kiwi.

Lap 8/100 - McLaughlin struggling to keep speed at the tail of the field. Almost a half-a-second a lap slower than everyone else. And he pits from 24th.

Lap 6/100 - Will Power has an issue - he's slipped back to third. Alex Rossi leads from Herta. Power back to full speed now, but almost lost it at the first corner. Dixon still 11th ... Newgarden eighth. McLaughlin almost a second behind 23rd in last place.

Lap 5/100 - As it is, Dixon would win the title by 27 points.

4/100 - Power from Rossi, Herta, Hinchcliffe and O'Ward at the front. Newgarden eighth, Dixon 11th and McLaughlin 24th and last. 

1/100 - Dixon is 11th - three spots behind Newgarden. Scott McLaughlin down in 24th.

Race start - Power leads Rossi into the first corner ..... Dixon avoids caranage in the first couple corners while Newgarden almost gets takenm out by Bourdais.

7:32pm - Not to far away from race start - cars currently circulating on their first of two warmup laps.

7:31pm - Hello folks - Will do my best to keep you updated on the championship situation - as it is, Newgarden needs to find his way into the top three, if Dixon stays 12th.

Kia ora, good morning and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the 2020 IndyCar Championship finale at St Petersburg, Florida.

This particular race holds special interest for Kiwi motorsport fans, with Scott Dixon chasing his sixth title to close within one of the record held by AJ Foyt.

But also, three-time Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin will make his much-anticipated debut on the open-wheel circuit, after declaring this is where his future lies from next year.

Dixon holds a 32-point lead over defending champion Josef Newgarden, but has lost ground to his nearest rival in recent outings, and needs to finish ninth or better to clinch the crown.

McLaughlin has had less than a week to adjust to the new style of racing, after finish fifth at Bathurst only seven days ago.

Both Kiwis struggled in qualifying on Sunday...

Grid for Firestone GP
1.Will Power
2. Alexander Rossi
3. Colton Herta
4. James Hinchcliffe
5. Jack Harvey
6. Pato O’Ward
7. Sebastien Bourdais
8. Josef Newgarden
9. Rinus VeeKay
10. Oliver Askew
11. Scott Dixon
12. Simon Pagenaud
13. Takuma Sato
14. Conor Daly
15. Marcus Ericsson
16. Alex Palou
17. Graham Rahal
18. Santino Ferrucci
19. Ryan Hunter-Reay
20. Charlie Kimball
21. Scott McLaughlin
22. Felix Rosenqvist
23. Marco Andretti
24. Max Chilton

Scott McLaughlin in action
Scott McLaughlin in action Photo credit: Photosport

Silver lining for Dixon after tough IndyCar qualifying

Kiwi Scott Dixon's quest for a sixth IndyCar championship has become more difficult, after qualifying 11th for the final race of the season at St Petersburg, Florida.

Dixon, who leads Josef Newgarden by 32 points in the standings, would clinch the title by finishing ninth or better, regardless of where his American rival finishes. 

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver could finish lower down the order and still clinch the championship, but would also need Newgarden to miss out on a podium finish.

If Dixon wins, he will be one championship from matching the legendary AJ Foyt's record of seven. 

"We're starting 11th, Joseph is starting eighth, so that helps us by not qualifying pole and getting the extra point," says Dixon. "We will keep working hard and see what we can make of it." 

Defending IndyCar champion Newgarden is confident he can defy the odds to deny Dixon. 

"It makes our programme harder for tomorrow, but we still have to try to win tomorrow," says Newgarden. "We can win from there - we made it harder, but we can do it."

Meanwhile, fellow Kiwi Scott McLaughlin will debut from 21st in the 24-car field, after a nervy qualifying session. 

At one stage, the reigning three-time Supercars champion made contact with a wall, but managed to keep his car on the track. 

Live updates: IndyCar Championship - Kiwi Scott Dixon chases sixth title at St Petersburg
Photo credit: Reuters.

The 27-year-old is competing in the series finale in Florida before a full-time move next year.

McLaughlin only arrived in the US on Tuesday and is learning about racing IndyCars on the fly.

"Unfortunately, I'm not making any excuses, but we just need a bit more time and we'll be ok," says McLaughlin. "I'm disappointed with myself, but it is what it is. 

"It's very intimidating in regards to having a go in the Indycar, learning the space around you as well.

"I'm used to hitting mirrors off on the walls in Australia - not necessarily a tyre - but we're pushing out there, trying to find the limits in a fast-forward motion.

"It's been an awesome initiation, and we'll just come back and have another go tomorrow."