Justin Wilson had put in a in his usual low-key but highly effective stellar performance to rise from 12th on the grid to third place, but his achievement - and even Dixon's to a degree - was somewhat overshadowed by the identify of the person joining them on the podium for the very first time in her IZOD IndyCar Series career: it has been an inch-perfect run by Simona de Silvestro who had maximised her fifth place grid position to press home the advantage, and won genuine battles for track positions with the likes of Pagenaud on her way to locking up the runners-up spot in the first race in Houston.
Pagenaud himself finished in fourth place just ahead of Josef Newgarden and and James Jakes, with Graham Rahal having battled all the way from the back of the grid to finish in an impressive seventh place ahead of Sebastien Bourdais, who like Power had been caught out by the timing of the late cautions just before his final pit stops. EJ Viso managed to hold on to ninth ahead of Filippi, arguably another driver of the day candidate for his strong performance in his latest IndyCar outing - one that had surely attracted attention from a number of team owners starting to think of their 2014 line-ups.
But that's for the future, and right now the focus is on the 2013 title - which thanks to a gruelling afternoon's events in Reliant Park on Saturday had been converted into a nail-bitingly close knife fight with just eight points between Dixon and Castroneves going into the remaining two races of the season. And we have less than 24 hours to wait before the first of those two encounters, when fortunes could swing all over again just as fast and decisively as they had in race 1.
See full race 1 results