Scott Dixon conserves fuel to move closer to A.J. Foyt on IndyCar’s list of all-time wins

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Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon employed a remarkable fuel-saving tactic on Sunday to clinch the Grand Prix of Long Beach and edge closer to A.J. Foyt on IndyCar’s list of all-time wins, securing his 57th career victory.

Foyt holds the record for the most wins in IndyCar history with 67 victories, a milestone that 43-year-old Dixon isn’t certain he can reach.

“It still sounds like a lot,” Dixon remarked. “In some years, you could notch up five, six, or seven wins. If it’s a good year, you might get four or five. That’s impressive. We’ll stay focused and keep working hard. Hopefully, when you retire, you’re satisfied with your achievements.”

Teammate Palou and Colton Herta were amazed by Dixon’s ability to stretch his fuel for nearly 50 out of 85 laps.

“Once he took the lead, I thought, ‘He’s going to make it work,'” Palou stated. “Maybe he’s secretly got an extra fuel tank that I don’t know about. Yeah, that’s it. Just kidding.”

Herta, who finished second, noted that Dixon needed both a speedy car and exceptional fuel-saving skills to succeed.

“You have to be good at saving fuel, but you also need a good car for that,” Herta explained. “There are a few drivers in the series who can probably do it, but they need everything to go smoothly for their car to manage fuel efficiency.

Scott Dixon

It seems like Dixon is the only one who dares to try these things sometimes, and they always pay off.” Dixon, with a mischievous grin, played down how effortless he made it seem.

“It was a bit nerve-wracking because the pressure was intense,” he admitted. “We have a warning light that comes on a couple of laps before you’re about to run out of fuel. I didn’t see it until two laps to go. Then, they radioed in, saying, ‘Go full throttle, overtake, do whatever you need to do.'”

“It was a relief to hear that because the tension was high. Being able to push hard for those last two laps without worrying about fuel was crucial.”

Dixon’s victory marks his second win in the most prestigious street race in the United States, completing a successful weekend for Chip Ganassi Racing. Ganassi’s sports car team of Renger van der Zande and Sebastian Bourdais also secured a win in the IMSA race on Saturday.

This win extends Ganassi’s streak in IndyCar to two consecutive victories, with reigning series champion Palou winning the exhibition race last month in California. Palou finished third behind Dixon and Herta in Sunday’s race.

For the final 20 laps, Dixon faced pressure from Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden, who appeared to have the pace to catch Dixon for the win. However, the race dynamics changed when Herta made contact with the back of Newgarden’s car as they slowed through the hairpin with lapped traffic ahead.

Colton Herta, Scott Dixon and Alex Palou

Newgarden was pushed out of the way as both Herta and Palou passed him.

“He just stopped in the middle of the corner,” Herta complained about Newgarden. Herta, driving for Andretti Global, finished just 0.9798 seconds behind Dixon and later apologized to Newgarden.

“Usually, you want to exit the corner as straight as possible to get the best run onto the straight. You do that by opening up the entry. But it slows down your speed so much on the entry, if you’re not doing that every lap, it’s tough to kind of gauge how fast he was going to be going there.

He opened it up,” Herta explained. “It’s his right to do that. It’s my right to not run into the back of him there.” Newgarden, who dropped to fourth place, questioned why Herta wasn’t penalized.

“I’m not sure how lifting someone two feet in the air isn’t a penalty,” said Newgarden, who wasn’t sure if he could have caught Dixon anyway. “That seems pretty black and white to me, but I’d ask everybody else: If it were in the reverse, I’d expect to be penalized.”

As Dixon celebrated, his competitors wondered how he managed to have enough fuel not only to finish the race but also to celebrate with burnouts and drive the car to victory lane.

Dixon dedicated the win to Sir Colin Giltrap, a New Zealand motorsport benefactor who passed away Wednesday and played a significant role in Dixon’s career, as well as the careers of many top Kiwi racers around the world.

Scott Dixon (Credits:

Palou secured third place, contributing to Honda’s dominance in a race backed by its Acura brand. Newgarden, finishing fourth, was the highest-placed Chevrolet driver.

Felix Rosenqvist, marking Meyer Shank Racing’s first pole in IndyCar, was overtaken swiftly by Will Power on alternate tires. Despite a strong start, Rosenqvist gradually lost positions and ended up in sixth by the eighth lap.

However, Rosenqvist’s race took a turn, along with Dixon’s, when rookie Christian Rasmussen spun out and crashed into the wall, causing damage to Jack Harvey’s car as well.

This incident prompted Power and Dixon to pit, with Newgarden taking the lead on the 18th lap. Both Power and Dixon then adopted a fuel-saving strategy for the rest of the race.

Although Power restarted in 12th place, he was eventually overtaken by Dixon, who steadily climbed through the ranks. Power finished sixth, closely followed by Marcus Ericsson, achieving his best result yet with the Andretti team.

F2 champion Theo Pourchaire made his IndyCar debut, filling in for the injured McLaren driver David Malukas. Pourchaire had no prior experience driving an Indy car before Friday’s first practice session.


By Christopher Kamila

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