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2024 Long Beach GP: Scott Dixon teaches the field a lesson

The NTT IndyCar Series on the Streets of Long Beach never disappoints.  Let’s dive into the biggest takeaways from this excellent 2024 race that was won in style by Scott Dixon.

Scott Dixon is inevitable

At the 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, Scott Dixon once again demonstrated why he is one of the best ever to do it. The six-time series champion aced a tough fuel mileage strategy and defended the lead in the late stages against much faster opponents.

In those later stages, he had a charging Josef Newgarden, Colton Herta, and Alex Palou on his tail. He held them off in a typical Scott Dixon fashion and navigated lapped traffic with incredible precision, composure, and cunning.

He claimed his 57th career victory and his second victory at Long Beach.

Caution causes fuel strategy split

Team Penske’s Will Power controlled the early stages of the race after taking the lead at turn 1. However, things changed when Ed Carpenter Racing’s Christian Rasmussen crashed on lap 15.

The caution brought out by that incident caused a major strategy split that would ultimately decide the direction of the race. Will Power and Scott Dixon pit while Josef Newgarden and many others stayed out.

Ultimately it was Dixon who made the most of the strategy while Power fell out of the equation.

Colton Herta bumps his way to P2

Newgarden and Scott Dixon’s duel in the closing stages allowed Colton Herta and Alex Palou to join the party. As Herta drew closer to Newgarden, he made contact with the Hitachi Chevrolet coming into the hairpin.

This caused the Penske machine to go into anti-stall briefly which dropped Newgarden down to fourth place. To the displeasure of the Tennessee native, Herta was not penalized for the incident.

Hairpin incident aside, it was a clean and successful weekend for the Californian and the crew of the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda.

Arrow McLaren: a weekend to forget

Arrow McLaren arguably had the worst weekend of the grid. In qualifying, neither Pato O’Ward nor Alexander Rossi made it into the Firestone Fast Six.

During the race, things went from bad to worse. In addition to starting towards the back, O’Ward broke the cardinal rule of racing and made contact with his teammate.

Going into turn two, O’Ward rear-ended Rossi, ruining both of their races. Rossi was eventually able to salvage a top-10 finish, but it was far from an ideal day for either man. This is especially the case for O’Ward as he also made contact with Scott Dixon last year.

Meanwhile, Theo Pourchaire made his IndyCar Series debut. The 2023 FIA Formula 2 Champion was the substitute for the still-injured David Malukas.

The 20-year-old had a fairly good showing in the No. 6 Chevrolet, finishing in a respectable P11. Earlier in the weekend he voiced his goal of finishing in the top 15 and achieved that well.

What is impressive about Pourchaire’s debut race was how clean it was. The Frenchman had done no prior tests in an IndyCar other than simulator work. That withstanding, to hit the ground running and nearly crack the top-10 at one of the toughest tracks on the calendar is no easy feat.

Quintessentially IndyCar

The 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach had just about everything a great IndyCar race should have. On-track battles, strategy chess, tons of drama, and a four-way fight for the win at the end.

I said it once, and I’ll say it again. The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is the best IndyCar race outside the Indianapolis 500.

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