Scott Dixon wins at Long Beach to inch closer to A.J. Foyt on IndyCar’s all-time list

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, heads into Turn 12 during the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg auto race, Sunday March 10, 2024, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (Mike Carlson/AP)

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Scott Dixon moved closer to A.J. Foyt on IndyCar’s all-time win list by picking up his 57th career victory Sunday on the downtown streets of Long Beach.

Foyt is IndyCar’s winningest driver with 67 victories.

Dixon’s win is his second in the most prestigious street course race in the United States and gave Chip Ganassi Racing a sweep of the weekend. Ganassi’s sports car team of Renger van der Zande and Sebastian Bourdais won the IMSA race on Saturday.

The victory also makes it two straight for Ganassi in IndyCar as reigning series champion Alex Palou won the exhibition race last month in California.

Dixon used masterful fuel-saving strategy and was being chased over the final 20 laps by Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden, who seemed to have the speed to run Dixon down for the victory. But the race changed when Colton Herta ran into the back of Newgarden as they all slowed through the hairpin with lapped traffic ahead.

It knocked Newgarden out of the way as both Herta and Alex Palou passed him.

“He just stopped in the middle of the corner,” Herta complained of Newgarden. Herta finished 0.9798 seconds behind Dixon for Andretti Global.

Newgarden, who fell to fourth, had a conversation with Herta on pit road after the race and the drivers had differing opinions — mainly with Newgarden upset Herta didn’t get a penalty.

“I’m not sure how lifting someone two feet in the air isn’t a penalty,” said Newgarden, who wasn’t sure he’d have been able to catch Dixon, anyway.

As Dixon celebrated, his rivals wondered how the Kiwi had enough fuel to not only make it to the finish but also celebrate with burnouts and drive the car to victory lane.

“Josef was coming strong, but Chip came on (the radio) and said ‘Just go for it, man,’” Dixon said.

Ganassi said Dixon had been saving fuel for nearly 50 of the 85 laps and “absolutely” did not think Dixon was going to make it. “I said he was going to run out on the last lap.”

Dixon dedicated the win to Sir Colin Giltrap, a New Zealand motorsport benefactor who died Wednesday and was instrumental in Dixon’s career, as well as many of the top Kiwis racing around the world.

Palou finished third, making it a Honda sweep in a race sponsored by its Acura brand. Newgarden in fourth was the highest-finishing Chevrolet driver.

Felix Rosenqvist started on the pole — the first in IndyCar for Meyer Shank Racing — but Will Power on alternate tires wasted no time in blowing past Rosenqvist through the first turn. Rosenqvist was a rock from there as rivals began to pick off the pole-sitter one by one and he was down to sixth by the eighth lap.

He finished ninth.

The race changed for Power — and Dixon — when rookie Christian Rasmussen spun and crashed hard into the wall. Jack Harvey’s car was damaged as he couldn’t avoid Rasmussen ramming into him.

The ensuing caution led Power to make a pit stop and Dixon followed. It gave Newgarden the lead on the 18th lap and Dixon and Power were in full fuel-saving mode for the remainder of the race. Power restarted 12th but was eventually passed by Dixon, who then worked his way through the field.

Power finished sixth, right behind Marcus Ericsson in his best finish so far with his new Andretti team.

The race was bizarre for Arrow McLaren from the start when Pato O’Ward ran into the back of teammate Alexander Rossi. O’Ward received a drive-thru penalty for avoidable contact, but Rossi had to pit to repair his car and dropped to last in the field.

“Sorry about Rossi,” O’Ward said on his radio. “That was completely my fault.”

Rossi rallied to finish 10th, one spot ahead of F2 champion Theo Pourchaire, who made his IndyCar debut as the replacement for injured McLaren driver David Malukas. Pourchaire had never driven an Indy car prior to Friday’s first practice session.

O’Ward wound up 16th in what’s become his pseudo home race. The Mexican driver has throngs of fans who turn up at Long Beach waving the Mexican flag and wearing sombreros as his line in the autograph session dwarfs the rest of the field.

UP NEXT: IndyCar races next Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Scott McLaughlin is the defending race winner. After nearly a five-week break, IndyCar is now on track seven of the next eight weekends.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.