Dixon Takes Long Beach Grand Prix

By Daniel Pineda

The 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach has officially come and gone, and with it came nothing but fast-paced excitement from some of the most skilled drivers to race along the streets of Long Beach!

Racing fans who witnessed the 3-day event, either from their trackside seats, or from the comfort of their own home, got to see all kinds of exciting events, especially with the highlight of the Grand Prix being the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race.

This year’s race was as competitive as it can get – but of course, there must always be a driver to cross the finish line first. And this year’s winner of the Grand Prix is none other than the driver of the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing PNC Bank Honda, Scott Dixon!

Nicknamed “The Iceman,” Dixon’s victory at the Grand Prix comes after his unfortunate early exit from the race in 2023, after he was involved in an incident thAat led to his car crashing into the side of the track’s barrier.

Dixon, who started in the eighth pole position, won the race with enough fuel left in his Honda’s engine to hold first place for the last 34 of 85 laps without stopping for the pit crew area– a very risky-yet-incredible feat for the New Zealand driver.

“That was tough; that was really tough,” Dixon said. “Honestly, I didn’t think we were going to make it, and they kept giving me a (fuel) number, and it just wasn’t getting ... I was close but not enough. Luckily, we were on the safe side there.”

Following Dixon in second place of the Grand Prix was Colton Herta, driver of the No. 26 Andretti Global Honda. In third place was Alex Palou in the No. 10 DHL Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

To drivers following closely behind Dixon in the race, it was nothing but a shocker that Dixon was able to hold onto such a firm lead for as long as he did.

“It was a tough race. I still don’t completely know how Dixon made it to the front,” Herta said during a press conference after the Grand Prix. “I imagine he pitted on yellow and did 34-lap stints, 33-lap stints. I mean, that was pretty impressive. From where we were, we thought the best option was staying out there.”

Herta continued, describing his overall thoughts on how the race played out for him: “Sometimes you need a little bit more than just speed, and we saw that today. It’s always a tough one to lose at the home race. But I’m happy, so I can’t complain.”

Alex Palou also gave his thoughts on the race. Much like Herta, Palou said his team also decided it was best to hold his position in the race, rather than try to get ahead of his teammate Scott Dixon. Palou also believed he wouldn’t have been able to replicate Dixon’s fuel-saving strategy, had he tried.

“I don’t think I could have made it work like Scott did,” Palou said. “I was not surprised that he took it because he knows he can make it work. I don’t know how.”

Palou continued: “Once he took it, I was like, ‘He’s going to make it work.’ I don’t know. It’s super tough if you know the numbers he has to get, what he has to do driving-wise… You see other people did it. [Will] Power I think is the second driver that did it.”

Surprisingly, there were also moments in the race in which it appeared the outcome could’ve been very different.

In the final laps of the race, Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Hitachi Chevrolet was trailing behind Scott Dixon with less-than-half of a second between the two drivers. Then, on Lap 77, Newgarden pulled close to Dixon’s vehicle on the hairpin turn leading to the long front straightaway of the track, appearing to make an attempt to pass Dixon on the straightaway.

But that never happened, as Herta nudged Newgarden from behind entering the hairpin. The impact lifted Newgarden’s rear wheels off the ground and engaged his anti-stall function, letting Herta and Palou pass him and dropping him to fourth.

“It seemed pretty obvious,” Newgarden said. “He just misjudged it and ran into me.”

Newgarden continued: “I’m not saying we were going to get Dixon. It was very, very difficult for me to get the run I needed to. I think traffic was going to provide me an opportunity, so that run right there, I was really excited about it. I think that was going to be my last chance. Never know if I would have pulled it off or not.”

Herta gave his comments on the incident at the hairpin turn, staring, “I think he [Newgarden] set up pretty wide and was cutting back in and was a little slower at apex, but ultimately it’s up to me to carry the right speed into the corner and not run into the back of people, and I just misjudged it.”

Regardless of the incident, Scott Dixon’s win at the 2024 Grand Prix will officially become his second win on the streets of Long Beach, joining his triumph in 2015. It will also mark his 57th overall win in a lengthy 21-year racing career.

After the Long Beach Grand Prix, Scott Dixon is now currently ranked #2 in this season’s standings, with Colton Herta being ranked #3. Josef Newgarden currently maintains his place at the top of the leaderboard this season.

It is looking to be an interesting season in IndyCar, as the drivers continue racing across the country on their way to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 26, for 108th Running Of The Indianapolis 500.

For more information on the 2024 Season of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, including Driver Standings and Racing Schedules, you can visit their official website at https://www.indycar.com/.

[Author’s Note: As of April 28, after the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix, Colton Herta is now ranked #1 in the 2024 season standings, followed by Will Power, and Alex Palou. Scott Dixon currently stands at rank #4]

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