Scott Dixon of New Zealand took the lead from Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais on the 57th lap and kept it for the rest of the way to win the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IndyCar Series race.
Dixon led 44 laps in the 80-lap race on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit surrounding the Long Beach Convention Center and finished 2.2221 seconds over pole sitter Helio Castroneves of Brazil.
“This is huge,” Dixon said Sunday after his first win at Long Beach on his ninth try. “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.”
Dixon started third and passed Juan Pablo Montoya of Colombia on the second lap. Castroneves led through the first 29 laps. Jack Hawksworth of Great Britain took the lead on the 30th lap.
Dixon took his first lead on the 34th lap when he beat Castroneves off pit lane on the first service stop. Castroneves was held in his pit box by chief mechanic Travis Law to avoid contact with the incoming car driven by fellow Brazilian Tony Kanaan.
“It was better to be safe than sorry,” Castroneves said after the 37th second-place finish of his IndyCar career, tying Bobby Rahal for second on the all-time list behind Mario Andretti, who had 56. “At the end of the day, second place is not bad.”
Castroneves was hoping for a distant replay of the 2001 race which he won from the pole.
Dixon led through the 53rd lap when Castroneves regained the lead. Bourdais held the lead on the 56th lap.
Dixon completed the race in one hour, 37 minutes, 35.2353 seconds for his 36th IndyCar victory, breaking a tie with Bobby Unser for fifth and moving within three of tying Al Unser for fourth..
Montoya, Castroneves’ Team Penske teammate, was third, followed by Simon Pagenaud of France.
All 23 cars that entered the race were running at its conclusion, with 19 cars on the lead lap. There was one caution — on the fifth through eighth laps because of debris on turn nine.
Each of the top seven finishers were driving Chevrolets.
—City News Service