Scott Dixon struggled most of the weekend at Long Beach but turned his fortunes around in Monday morning’s race, climbing from 16th to sixth.
Dixon made a bold strategy pay big dividends. He pitted much earlier than anyone else, undercutting a big chunk of the field in the middle stanza.
“We did a super aggressive strategy and on that first sequence I think we jumped ten cars,” he said.
“Had to give up a little bit to save fuel. But, honestly, I think people thought we were crazy about the lap we pitted on.”
From there, the Kiwi held his own to score a solid tally of championship points.
He didn’t quite have the pace of the leaders. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden collected the win, moving him into the points lead.
There were plenty of cautions in the final half of the race, but the most notable came when Colton Herta shunted into the wall.
Herta was one of the few drivers who looked to have the speed to catch Newgarden. The 22-year-old ended his race prematurely while pushing to cover a Newgarden undercut.
Romain Grosjean claimed his fourth IndyCar podium, finishing runner-up. He depleted all of his Push to Pass speed advantage much earlier than those around him, but he did enough to beat Alex Palou.
As for Dixon, he had a small scare when Chip Ganassi teammate Marcus Ericsson spun on a restart. The Kiwi had nowhere to go but into the back of Ericsson.
Somehow, Dixon avoided picking up any damage.
He is fifth in the points standings.
“Good points today. We made some inroads on the championship lead, which is good. But we’ve got to get our act together and make sure we are getting everything out of this.”
Scott Mclaughlin’s magical start to the year hit its first speedbump. The erstwhile points leader clattered the inside of the final hairpin, spinning out of contention.
A collision with Simon Pagenaud later in the race made for a race McLaughlin would rather forget.
In fact, even before the race things started on a sour note. His engine blew in the warm up session.
McLaughlin is still firmly in the championship hunt.
He recovered from the mishap to finish 14th. He is only five points behind Newgarden in the standings.
- Josef Newgarden
- Romain Grosjean
- Alex Palou
- Will Power
- Pato O’War
- Scott Dixon
- Graham Rahal
- Alexander Rossi
- Helio Castroneves
- Kyle Kirkwood
- Felix Rosenqvist
- Conor Daly
- Rinus VeeKay
- Scott McLaughlin
- Jack Harvey
- Tatiana Calderon
- Takuma Sato
- Christian Lundgaard
- Simon Pagenaud
- Jimmie Johnson
- David Malukas
- Marcus Ericsson
- Colton Herta
- Callum Illot
- Devlin DeFrancesco
- Dalton Kellett