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Dixon Comes Alive, Wins In Long Beach

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 19 2015
Scott Dixon, a non factor in previous IndyCar Series races this year, got his first win in Long Beach on Sunday.

Scott Dixon, a non factor in previous IndyCar Series races this year, got his first win in Long Beach on Sunday.

Scott Dixon, all but irrelevant in the first two races of the current IndyCar Series season, looked like a candidate to win the 2015 championship in race No. 3.

Dixon moved to the lead during a pitting sequence with just under 30 laps recorded in the race, and from there drove to an easy victory in the historic street race in Long Beach, Calif.

The victory was Dixon’s first in Long Beach and gave him just his second top-five finish in the event on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn seaside street circuit.

The victory came on the heels of finishes of 15th and 11th in races in the streets St. Petersburg and NOLA Motorsports Park in Louisiana.

“This is huge,” the Chip Ganassi Racing driver said. “I love the event, but as far as coming here and doing well it hadn’t been on that list. That pit stop exchange definitely helped us get to the lead but the car was fast and all we had to do was maintain that lead.”

Behind him at the end were three of the four cars of Team Penske – the team which has shown to be the power of the series this season. Finishing second was pole-sitter Helio Castroneves, from whom Dixon took the lead 30 laps in.

“It was really competitive day between our Team Penske teammates,” Castroneves said. “Certainly Scott did a great job on the in lap and the out lap on the first pit stop. My guys did a helluva job too. It was just a chess game out there today. The track changed so much over the course of the race. We had to constantly try to stay ahead of that, from adjustments to driving style. I can’t give my team enough credit for the job they did all weekend. We had a great car and just came up a bit short.

“The first pit stop, unfortunately we got into traffic there and we opened up about two or three seconds I believe. The car was fantastic, especially in that first stint. It was really, really good. And unfortunately that section that was about to be great time for pit stop, unfortunately when I caught the traffic and it threw all that gap away putting me back. Obviously when we pit, those guys were able to pass us. The guys did a great job.”

Behind Castroneves were Penske drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud.

Finishing fifth was Ganassi driver Tony Kanaan.

“I was lucky enough to win here back in the day in 2009 in Indy Lights,” Dixon said. “I’ve never had a chance since then. But a huge credit to the team. I don’t know what happened to Helio (Castroneves) and TK (Tony Kanaan) there in the crossover in the pit stop exchange there. I still can’t believe we won here at Long Beach. It’s such a memorable and worthy track. I’m just so stoked.”

Results Sunday of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Verizon IndyCar Series event at the 1.968-mile Streets of Long Beach circuit, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (3) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 80, Running
2. (1) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 80, Running
3. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 80, Running
4. (5) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 80, Running
5. (7) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 80, Running
6. (9) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 80, Running
7. (6) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 80, Running
8. (10) Marco Andretti, Honda, 80, Running
9. (12) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 80, Running
10. (11) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 80, Running
11. (8) Graham Rahal, Honda, 80, Running
12. (13) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 80, Running
13. (4) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 80, Running
14. (16) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 80, Running
15. (15) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 80, Running
16. (17) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 80, Running
17. (21) Conor Daly, Honda, 80, Running
18. (20) Takuma Sato, Honda, 80, Running
19. (19) James Jakes, Honda, 80, Running
20. (18) Will Power, Chevrolet, 79, Running
21. (22) Francesco Dracone, Honda, 78, Running
22. (14) Luca Filippi, Chevrolet, 77, Running
23. (23) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 69, Running

Race Statistics
Winners average speed:   96.800 mph
Time of Race: 01:37:35.2353
Margin of victory: 2.2221 seconds
Cautions: 1 for 4 laps
Lead changes: 5 among 4 drivers
Lap Leaders:
Castroneves 1 – 29
Hawksworth 30 – 33
Dixon 34 – 53
Castroneves 54 -55
Bourdais 56
Dixon 57 – 80
Point Standings: Montoya 119, Castroneves 116, Kanaan 93, Dixon 87, Hinchcliffe 83, Power 80, Pagenaud 73, Newgarden 66, Bourdais 66, Rahal 62.

 

 

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 19 2015
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