Scott Dixon celebrates his second win in the Long Beach Grand Prix. (Mark Munoz Photo)

Dixon Inches Closer To Foyt With Long Beach Victory

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Scott Dixon is now just 10 wins behind A.J. Foyt’s all-time record of 67 career victories after the six-time NTT IndyCar Series Champion won Sunday’s 49th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

It was Dixon’s second win in the famed street race at Long Beach. He also won in 2015.

It was also Dixon’s 57th career IndyCar victory.

Click here for the full results.

Dixon held off a hard-charging Colton Herta as the two drivers used different fuel strategies to get to the end-of-the-race battle. Dixon and Herta both utilized a two pit stop strategy, but Herta’s final pit stop came after Dixon’s and he had more fuel to burn at the end of the race.

In clean air, Dixon was able to maintain his lead and cruise to victory after 85 laps.

Dixon’s No. 9 PNC Bank Honda finished 0.9798-seconds ahead of Herta’s No. 26 Gainbridge Honda. Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Alex Palou was third in the No. 10 DHL Honda and Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden was fourth in the No. 2 Chevrolet.

Marcus Ericsson finished fifth in the No. 28 Andretti Global Honda. 

Newgarden and Herta were involved in contact out of the hairpin final turn late in the race that cost Newgarden a shot at the victory.

Newgarden had trimmed Dixon’s lead to 0.3621 seconds with 14 laps to go.

With seven laps to go, Dixon encountered traffic just as Newgarden got tagged in the rear by Herta in the hairpin. That sent Newgarden off pace as his Chevrolet went into anti-stall mode. Herta moved into second place, and Newgarden lost two positions behind Herta and Palou.

“How is that not a penalty?” Newgarden screamed to his team on the radio. “One hundred percent, that’s a penalty.”

Herta radioed to his crew that Newgarden had stopped in the middle of the corner and that caused the crash.

The two drivers had a conversation on pit road after climbing out of their race cars.

“It seemed pretty obvious, he just got into me and once I got lifted, the car went into anti-stall,” Newgarden explained. “I’m not going to say I was going to get Dixon. We had a great car, great strategy.

“I’m not sure about the Herta deal. They need to take a look at it.”

Scott Dixon during the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. (Al Steinberg Photo)

Herta explained his side of the incident.

“I misjudged it a little bit, but he set up a little wide, but it’s up to me to handle it going into the corner,” Herta said. “I don’t like racing like that, especially a guy like Josef Newgarden.

“Overall, I’m happy with the Gainbridge Honda and what we were able to do today. We want wins, but to be in the top five every race, we have to keep putting up points like that.

“The wins will come.”

Meantime, it was Dixon celebrating the win in victory lane.

“Josef was coming strong, but he burned the tires off,” Dixon said. “The stress level was high. Those guys were coming strong. We were a lap or two away from making this easy. I knew Colton was going to be strong.

“We made it back to the pits, man.”

Dixon led 42 laps in the 85-lap contest. Newgarden was in front for 19 laps and Will Power led for 15.

Dixon remembered one of his loyal supporters who helped start his racing career in New Zealand, Sir Colin Giltrap, who passed away earlier this week.

He passed away on April 17.

Newgarden maintains his IndyCar Series points lead. Dixon moved up to second, 12 points back, Herta is third, 15 behind and two-time IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou is fourth, 24 points back. Power is fifth, 26 markers out of the lead.

Pole winner Felix Rosenqvist appeared to get a good start at the drop of the green flag, but Power immediately went to the outside to make the pass for the lead in Turn 1.

On lap 3, Alexander Rossi had to pull into the pits for four black tires after contact with Arrow McLaren teammate Pato O’Ward. Race Control assessed O’Ward with an avoidable contact penalty, a drive-through penalty down pit road.

In the opening eight laps, Rosenqvist had dropped from the pole to fourth place. 

Power had built his lead to over 6 seconds before rookie Christian Rasmussen of Ed Carpenter Racing lost control of his No. 20 Chevrolet and slammed into the wall in Turn 4. Jack Harvey’s Honda were also involved, and the yellow flag waved to slow the field.

Two Penske drivers were at the front of the field including the leader, Power, and teammate Newgarden. Ericsson was third in the No. 28 Andretti Global Honda.

Power and Dixon pitted on Lap 17, and that put Newgarden in the lead. The strategy was for both to make it the distance on one more pit stop.

“I think that’s the right strategy,” Team Penske Managing Director Ron Ruzewski radioed to Power. Ruzewski calls the race strategy for the two-time IndyCar Series champion.

Racing Resumed on Lap 20 with Newgarden as the leader followed by three Hondas including Andretti’s Ericsson and Herta and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Palou.

The cars on the regular pit stop strategy began to pit on Lap 30 with pole winner Rosenqvist pitting. One lap later, Newgarden pitted after leading for 14 laps. Ericsson also pitted on that lap putting Herta in the lead.

When Herta pitted on Lap 32, Dixon was the leader, and he began to stretch his fuel while building a 3.4937-second lead over Power as the two were committed to that fuel-saving strategy on different laps.

When Graham Rahal pitted on Lap 51, the pit crew had issues getting the fuel to flow for an extended pit stop. One lap later, Dixon pitted as the leader, taking used alternate tires. Power pitted on Lap 52 for four primary tires leaving 34 laps left in the race as they both needed to save fuel.

Newgarden was back in the lead ahead of Herta, Palou and Ericsson.

Newgarden made his final pit stop on Lap 59 with the team putting used alternate tires on his Chevrolet. Herta was back in front.

Ericsson pitted on Lap 60 for a flawless stop and by the time the sequence had been completed, Dixon was in front of Newgarden by 4.4598 seconds.

But Newgarden didn’t have to conserve fuel and cut Dixon’s lead to 2.9713 seconds with 18 laps left

With six laps to go, Herta trailed Dixon by 0.2219 of a second as the top four cars were within one second of Dixon’s lead.

Dixon was able to pass the slower car of his teammate Kyffin Simpson, using the rookie as a cushion between himself and Herta’s Honda with five to go.

Herta was able to get past Simpson one lap later and with more fuel in his tank, he could be more aggressive on the throttle.

“It may not have been the most improbable, but it was certainly a hard-fought win,” team owner Chip Ganassi said. “It was relief at the end.

“It was relief more than joy.”

Ganassi won Saturday’s IMSA race in the Acura Grand Prix with his Cadillac team and won the IndyCar race on Sunday with Honda.