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Scott Dixon Stretches Fuel To Long Beach Victory

Updated: Apr 25

LONG BEACH, Calif. - In a nail-biting finish at one of America’s iconic street circuits, risky strategies and late-race contact between his on-track rivals helped Scott Dixon win his 57th career NTT IndyCar Series race at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. 


The Chip Ganassi Racing driver’s No. 9 PNC Bank Honda came from eighth on the grid to get his second win on the streets of Long Beach, who now has won at least one IndyCar race for 20 consecutive seasons.


"Big day, it was a lot of fun,” Dixon said. “Obviously, it’s nice to get some kind of crazy strategies going on and have two strategies playing out."


It was a tale of two strategies, with an early yellow seeing early takers to the pit lane. Despite some dominant stretches out in front for Team Penske drivers Josef Newgarden and Will Power, Dixon and Power stayed on the same strategy until both pitted with 34 laps to go. 


The No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet crew elected to go back to the harder primary compound, with Ganassi strategist Mike Hull rolling the dice on a fragile, used pair of alternates. That would be the ultimate decider as the pace of Dixon's tires would get him to the sharp end when the remainder of the field pitted about 10 laps later. 


"I think it was definitely a bit sketchy in the fact that the pressure was coming hard and strong,” Dixon said. "I knew they would burn their tires off pretty quickly with (the) 10-lap offset…the abuse was coming quick and fast."


That abuse was coming from a plethora of drivers, mainly the two Team Penske drivers mentioned above to Andretti Global’s Colton Herta and Marcus Ericsson, plus Dixon’s teammate Alex Palou. On top of fuel management, Dixon also had to manage a pair of used alternates… all while keeping a gap behind plenty of drivers.


Dixon’s claim to fame has been making the impossible happen when it comes to strategy. Perfect execution from the No. 9 pit crew helped Dixon reach career win No. 57, who is now 10 wins away from the legend AJ Foyt’s all-time record of 67 wins.


On The Podium

Hometown hero Colton Herta was 0.9798 seconds away from another victory in Long Beach. But controversy would strike again for the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda, after making contact with Josef Newgarden in the Hairpin with less than 10 laps to go.


The nudge from Herta threw Newgarden’s No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet into anti-stall and dropped the two-time IndyCar champion down to fourth place at the finish. 


"That seems pretty black and white to me, but I’d ask the question to everybody else," Newgarden said. "If it were in the reverse, I’d expect to be penalized."


After Scott Dixon and Herta claimed the top two spots, Alex Palou completed the Honda sweep of the podium, bringing the No. 10 DHL Honda to the line in third. The two-time series champion from Spain had the most on-track passes in the race with 15.


His final overtake occurred after taking advantage of the late contact with Newgarden and Herta to put two Ganassi cars on the podium.


Outside The Podium

Theo Pourchaire had a fantastic IndyCar debut as the 2023 Formula 2 champion kept himself clear of any chaos and found himself finishing 11th in the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, filling in for the injured David Malukas.


"I was the biggest mover of the race, which is amazing from 22nd to 11th," Pourchaire said. "Super happy with that. I have to thank the whole INDYCAR organization. The championship is amazing. The racing is here. Long Beach is a crazy good place, and I hope to be back in the future there. I learned much more in the race, it’s crazy.


"Every five laps in a row, many pit stops, out laps, in laps, saving fuel, overtaking cars, and I enjoyed it. The performance was great. It’s pure racing in INDYCAR. Physically, it’s tough. I’m quite tired right now, but it was a dream come true to do an INDYCAR race for me, with McLaren. Such a legendary brand and racing team. I’m quite emotional, but it’s amazing. I don’t realize it yet, but I’m super happy."


Early troubles for polesitter Felix Rosenqvist saw him outside of winning contention. The No. 60 AutoNation Honda suffered from brake problems in the opening laps. Rosenqvist got a top-10 finish, but it was still a weekend to remember for the Swede, who earned Meyer Shank Racing their first IndyCar pole.


There was early chaos for rookie Christian Rasmussen as he lost control of No. 20 Guy Care Chevrolet exiting Turn 5, and managed to collect Jack Harvey in the process. The spin resulted in Rasmussen’s day coming to an end, while repairs put Harvey’s No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda a lap down.


GRID Ranking

The 2024 GRID Ranking is the eighth year of the world's premier motorsport ranking and was initially released on Sunday, April 7.


The official ranking includes drivers that participate in seven racing series (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP), and each driver earns GRID Ratings, which help determine their seeding in the GRID Ranking.


GRID Ranking Week 3 INDYCAR Drivers:

DRIVER

OLD RATING

PREVIOUS RANKING

MOST RECENT FINISH

NEW RATING

NEW RANKING

Scott Dixon

N/A

N/A

1st

19.44

4th

Colton Herta

N/A

N/A

2nd

18.36

6th

Alex Palou

N/A

N/A

3rd

17.28

8th

Will Power

N/A

N/A

6th

15.66

11th

Pato O'Ward

N/A

N/A

16th

14.04

15th

The next NTT IndyCar Series race will take place on Sunday, April 28 at Barber Motorsports Park. Coverage begins on NBC at 1 p.m. ET.


Editor's Note: The disqualification of Team Penske's Josef Newgarden from the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete resulted in changes to Week 3 of the GRID Ranking after initially publishing this article.


Newgarden went from leading this week's GRID Ranking to not being ranked. Pato O'Ward, the newly crowned race winner in St. Pete, also replaces Newgarden in Week 3.


Results: 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Results.

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