Scott Dixon majors fuel save to secure IndyCar win at Long Beach

Scott Dixon majors fuel save to secure IndyCar win at Long Beach

Scott Dixon delivered one of his impressive fuel-saving strategies to win the 49th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, marking his second victory at the 1.968-mile street course and the 57th of his career.

Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon pulled off another remarkable fuel-saving move to win at Long Beach while IndyCar championship leader Josef Newgarden’s pursuit for top honors was curtailed after contact with Colton Herta, finishing fourth.

Newgarden’s Penske teammate Will Power made a brilliant move right away after lights out, tucking in behind polesitter Felix Rosenqvist, and subsequently swooping right out of the draft to seize the lead around Turn 1.

Rosenqvist, who grabbed the pole by 0.0039 seconds over Power as he enjoys an incredible start to the season, dropped back to sixth place within the first ten laps, presumably due to his Meyer Shank team’s alleged tyre issues.

Before the first caution came on lap 15 of 85, Power had built up a 7.1-second lead. The caution came after Ed Carpenter’s reigning Indy NXT champion Christian Rasmussen crashed, as it appeared that he suffered a technical issue.

Amazingly, Power pitted under the caution, meaning he would have to save a lot of fuel to make it to the finish line on one more stop after that. His teammate Newgarden, and eleven other drivers opted out of pitting apart from Dixon.

Dixon quickly overtook Power as the leader of the alternative strategy after the caution, and after the 30th lap the pack led by Newgarden on the less conservative plan started to pit.

By being outside for an extended period of time, Herta and Alex Palou managed to overtake Marcus Ericsson while Palou, who was on defense on cold tyres, prevailed over Ericsson after a thrilling battle.

Ericsson almost crashed into the wall at Turn 8, but he took the ideal level of risk to finish the race, although he was now trailing his former teammate.

Before pitting, Dixon stretched his advantage over Power to seven seconds in the next stint while Newgarden’s group ran some of the greatest laps of the race in an attempt to catch up to Dixon, aware that their final stop would put them in close proximity to Dixon.

However, Newgarden’s speed was simply astounding as he set yet another fastest lap time just before pitting on lap 58. He exited just over four seconds behind with less than 30 laps to go and considerably fresher tyres.

It took longer than Newgarden would have preferred to catch Dixon, while being trapped in Dixon’s unclean air forced Herta and Palou, who were already more than three seconds down to get further behind. Furthermore, heavy traffic ahead of the group further complicated the finish.

A bottleneck effect prompted Herta to come into contact with Newgarden on lap 77 of 85, forcing him to slow down and activate anti-stall mode at the hairpin. This allowed Herta and Palou to get by to challenge Dixon.

Herta took responsibility although IndyCar didn’t penalize him, but Newgarden was obviously of the opinion that he was at fault. Herta was the sole contender who got close to the leader, but Dixon managed to hold off Herta for an impressive victory by setting his fastest lap on the penultimate lap.

Dixon undoubtedly benefited from a Honda upgrade component that hasn’t been installed in all cars yet, as the automaker scrambles to secure enough parts for all of its rivals after discovering the benefits. This enabled it to post a far better qualifying compared to the first round, where Chevrolet dominated.

Herta headed Palou, with Newgarden relegated to fourth ahead of Power but leading the championship by 12 points from Dixon. Last year’s winner Kyle Kirkwood rose from 10th on the grid to seventh, ahead of Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Romain Grosjean bagging a first top 10 at his new team, then Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi.

Reigning F2 champion Pourchaire gave an absolutely spectacular account of himself, taking 11th on his IndyCar debut with Arrow McLaren. He started from 22nd and moved up to 18th before the first caution, where he mirrored Newgarden’s strategy and didn’t pit.

In the final stint, he stuck with team-mate Rossi, who had been punted by the other Arrow McLaren driver Pato O’Ward in the opening stages – which earned O’Ward a drivethrough penalty and Rossi an extra pitstop.

Nevertheless, Pourchaire outperformed Rossi in terms of overall best lap time and sliced through the teens alongside the Indianapolis 500 winner to claim 11th place, passing two Ganassi cars on the final lap.

Pourchaire hadn’t driven an IndyCar until Friday’s first practice, yet he finished the race as the top rookie and was the driver with the most position gains in the race.

NTT INDYCAR Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Race results

19Scott DixonGanassiHonda
226Colton HertaAndretti/Curb-AgajanianHonda
310Alex PalouGanassiHonda
42Josef NewgardenPenskeChevrolet
528Marcus EricssonAndrettiHonda
612Will PowerPenskeChevrolet
727Kyle KirkwoodAndrettiHonda
877Romain GrosjeanJuncos HollingerChevrolet
960Felix RosenqvistMeyer ShankHonda
107Alexander RossiMcLarenChevrolet
116Theo PourchaireMcLarenChevrolet
1211Marcus ArmstrongGanassiHonda
138Linus LundqvistGanassiHonda
1421Rinus VeeKayCarpenterChevrolet
1578Agustin CanapinoJuncos HollingerChevrolet
165Pato O’WardMcLarenChevrolet
1715Graham RahalRLLHonda
1841Sting Ray RobbFoytChevrolet
194Kyffin SimpsonGanassiHonda
2051Nolan SiegelCoyneHonda
2114Santino FerrucciFoytChevrolet
2266Tom BlomqvistMeyer ShankHonda
2345Christian LundgaardRLLHonda
2430Pietro FittipaldiRLLHonda
2518Jack HarveyCoyneHonda
263Scott McLaughlinPenskeChevrolet
2720Christian RasmussenCarpenterChevrolet

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