'I don’t know how Dixon got it done': What IndyCar drivers said after the Long Beach Grand Prix

What IndyCar drivers were saying at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, where Scott Dixon scored his 57th career victory:

Scott Dixon — First: "That was fun. I think it was definitely a bit sketchy in the fact that the pressure is coming hard and strong. I knew they would burn their tires off pretty quickly with kind of 10-lap offset. I think they had to close a 10- or 12-second lap. The abuse was coming thick and fast. I think we could have had the status quo there with Josef. We had over a hundred seconds of (push to pass) left. I think he was down to the 20s by the time he even got to me. Even to get that out, they weren't trimmed out, we were trimmed, that would have made it difficult to pass. Once you get into the confinements of the corners, it's really tough. Obviously the incident between Colton and him backed him up a little bit. We were OK once we got past a couple people in traffic. I would say I didn't get the number consistently, so I was a little worried about that. We kind of have a light that comes on that gives you a couple of laps' heads up that you're actually going to run out of fuel. I didn't see it with two laps to go. They came on the radio saying, Go flat out, mix one, overtake, whatever you need. That was definitely nice to hear at that point because the stress level was pretty high. To get after it for the last two laps without a concern was big."

Colton Herta — Second: "Yeah, I mean, it was a tough race. I still don't completely now how Dixon made it to the front. I imagine he pitted on yellow and did 34-lap stints, 33-lap stints. I mean, that was pretty impressive. From where we were, we thought the best option was staying out there. I think we made the most out of that strategy. I was happy with how the car was. We were super fast. Yeah, sometimes you need a little bit more than just speed in IndyCar racing. We saw that today. It's always a tough one to lose at the home race, but I'm happy with second. Can't complain too much."
Alex Palou — Third: "It was tough. Really close between the 2, 26 and 9 with that strategy. I’m pretty happy with that podium. Could have done more without traffic but happy to get first podium with DHL. We had the option to do the same strategy (as Dixon), but I don’t know if I could have made it work. Only the 9 car and Dixie could make that work. It was a great weekend for us."
Josef Newgarden — Fourth: “It was just unfortunate to finish back. I was thinking we were going to get a run on (Scott) Dixon there. Just couldn’t quite get him. The Hitachi Chevrolet team did a great job. I can’t be more proud of the work we did. Fast car, great pit stops. They were aces all around. It was a good team effort. Top-five, we’ll have to take that today. (The contact with Colton Herta) seems pretty black and white to me, but I’d ask the question to everybody else. If it were in the reverse, I’d expect to be penalized.”
Marcus Ericsson — Fifth: "It was a solid day for us. We had a good start and good first stint with some overtakes. Unfortunately, I lost a couple of spots in the first pit sequence, and it dropped us from fourth to P2. The car was super fast, and the whole team did a great job. It's nice to see four Hondas up front. I feel really good with a new team, and it's all new. We were running top five at St. Pete until our issue. We started off strong. We still are learning each other. There's more potential to come. It's a very promising start and a good result for everyone. A good day by the whole team. … Racecraft has always been my strength. St. Pete and here we’ve shown that. Today we definitely were fast enough to win. That shows we have really good race pace, and that’s really promising for the rest of the year. We get even more fine-tuned, it’s going to be even better."

Will Power — Sixth: "We were banking on a full stint on greens because they were so much faster. We got stuck with blacks for the rest of the race because we used them in the Fast Six. I would have been with Scott on pace, but that’s the bed we made. Just a terribly timed yellow, but that's the way these IndyCar races can go. The top six was great. I hope we can get back in victory lane soon."

Kyle Kirkwood — Seventh: "It was a decent day. We’ll take the points and move on to Barber. We didn’t start where we wanted. We went on the alt strategy, I don’t know how Dixon got it done. I was behind him and just watching him sail off into the distance saving fuel. We’re hitting the same number as him, and he’s just sailing away. That was crazy to watch. We’re satisfied. I think we could have gotten one more position, but we nailed everything we needed to do so I’m satisfied."

Romain Grosjean —Eighth: “P16 to P8, it was a great Long Beach Grand Prix for us. Agustin (Canapino) had a great race as well. It was a great race for us as a team. We can be proud of that. We improved a lot from St. Pete, and I’m happy that we were able to show such a strong outing on the track. Can’t wait for next weekend in Barber.”

Felix Rosenqvist — Ninth: "I had an issue with brake temps, and I kept adding brake bias to the front and ran a number I never have seen before. I was lacking confidence in the brake zones. I couldn’t attack and definitely couldn’t defend. It sucks when that happens, and you're just plummeting. Pit stops were good. We're improving little things. We’ll try to learn a lot from this and make a deep dive and come back stronger. I felt if I tried to brake where people were braking around me, I’m going to end in the wall. I’m happy we kept our heads cool and did what we could. Still off to a decent start to the season and first year together. I'm hugely proud of team. We’ll move on from this and come back strong at Barber."

Alexander Rossi — 10th: “We had a tough weekend dealing with some unique situations. We made some good steps overnight, into the warmup and into the race. There will always be a check-up when you start that far back and, unfortunately, Pato didn’t have anywhere to go. It was just one of those accordion moments. We shifted into recovery mode from there and the team did a good job to hang in and get us into the top 10.”

Théo Pourchaire — 11th: “It was a crazy, crazy race. I enjoyed it. My first IndyCar weekend is done now. We had a strong performance, so I’m super happy. I have to thank the Arrow McLaren Chevy team for the car. The car was awesome today. I was the biggest mover of the race, which is amazing from 22nd to 11th. Super happy with that. I have to thank the whole IndyCar organization. The championship is amazing. The racing is here. Long Beach is a crazy good place, and I hope to be back in the future there. I learned much more in the race, it’s crazy. Every five laps in a row, many pit stops, out laps, in laps, saving fuel, overtaking cars, and I enjoyed it. The performance was great. It’s pure racing in IndyCar. Physically, it’s tough. I’m quite tired right now, but it was a dream come true to do an IndyCar race for me with McLaren. Such a legendary brand and racing team. I’m quite emotional, but it’s amazing. I don’t realize it yet, but I’m super happy.”

Rinus VeeKay — 14th: “That was a tough race. We chose to start on the greens, and I hoped I could pass some guys. Then, I felt like the pace was pretty good on greens. Unfortunately, lost a bit of time on that first pit sequence. Then, couldn’t really hold on all the way throughout that second stint on greens, but still pretty good I’d say. Then, at the end, there were some guys where everybody was on different strategy. Hoped to make up some more ground, but I really struggled on the blacks. It was just pretty hard to drive at that point. Still moved up, but wished I could’ve made it into the top-12 in the No. 21 Chevy.

Agustin Canapino — 15th: “Another 15th for us. We are really happy. The execution was really, really good. Unfortunately, the strategy wasn’t the best at the end. We had bad luck, honestly, with the strategy. The execution was perfect. Thanks to the whole team for the excellent pit stops. The pace was incredible. We finished 15th in a really difficult race. Very high level for everybody. Top 15, more points, and we are really happy. Hope for more in the next race.”

Pato O’Ward — 16th: “First, I’m sorry to the Arrow McLaren team. I limited our ability to push for strong results today – at least for two cars. I take full responsibility for a rough race, but it will be a quick turn to Barber where we’ll regroup and look to bounce back.”

Graham Rahal — 17th: "We were solid today. I thought we were on for a good top-10. Obviously, we had one stop where the car had a fuel problem though. Something went wrong with the red head and it wouldn’t get fuel in it, and so that cost us 12-14 seconds and nowadays that makes all the difference so unfortunately what we were on for, which I thought was going to be a great result, ended up not being so good but I’m proud of the guys. It was very disappointing, but I thought we took steps forward in our competitiveness on the road and street courses and we’ve just got to keep chugging.”

Sting Ray Robb — 18th: “We have concluded the Long Beach Grand Prix on somewhat of a high note. Really proud of the team. We had some really good pit stops that were clean. We made up a few spots along the way on strategy and made up some spots in the end based off of that early racing stint and avoiding the attrition. Super proud of the team and super proud of the progress we made through the weekend. We needed a clean day, and today was that clean day. Now we can build momentum heading into Barber. I want to thank the crew. We’re here pretty much on the front porch here in California, having them here with their support and cheers. We’re looking forward to the next one.”

Nolan Siegel — 20th: "My first full-length standard IndyCar race is done. It was a long one, the guys did a great job. The car was much better in the race than I think it has been all weekend so props to the team for making that improvement. We had good stops, it went smoothly. We picked up seven spots and our pace seemed pretty strong. It’s really hard to pass around here. I feel good and overall, I’m happy with the day. Huge thank you to everyone that’s helped me along the way and this weekend and let’s see if we can do better in Indy.”

Santino Ferrucci — 21st: “The race was what it was. We took a gamble with the pit stops. Everyone can always Monday quarterback, but we kind of figured we either end up in the top 10 or 21st. We ended up 21st. The Chevrolet is in one piece, and we move on to Barber.”

Tom Blomqvist — 22nd: "It was not a great day for us. It all went wrong at the start. We got stuck in a traffic jam at the fountain, which did some damage to the wing. That messed things up a bit. It's just one of those days in motorsport where you have to learn a lot so you don't repeat those mistakes. We changed the wing, but we probably did it at the wrong time and that put us a lap down and our race was over. Though we're obviously frustrated with how the weekend's gone, we've got to take the small positives from it."

Christian Lundgaard — 23rd: "It was a long day today. Our race became even more challenging early on with taking that caution to pit and then having the penalty. In hindsight, maybe it was the wrong decision to pit with the first set of alternates (tires) in the beginning of the race. I think that hurt us quite a bit. It was a straight fuel save race from there, and we weren’t able to save fuel enough fuel because I think we were one of the cars that wasn’t trimmed. So it was a long and tough day.”

Pietro Fittipaldi — 24th: "We went on an early fuel savings strategy and unfortunately it didn’t work. We had a technical issue in the pit stop with the fueling which then, because we were on a fuel savings strategy and had an issue with the fueling, it put us completely out of the window with strategy so that was our race. I loved being able to race at Long Beach. It’s an amazing track, but it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t really show anything that we had in the race.”

Jack Harvey — 25th: "In the first part of the race, we moved up a couple spots and then Rasmussen spun in front of me and I had nowhere to go. He hit me as he was spinning back down the track and it damaged the floor, and the sidepod and I lost a ton of downforce and grip because of that and that was pretty much the race. I think the positives from the weekend are that we were better today than we were yesterday. I think we moved the car along so hopefully we can continue that little bit of momentum that we built there. Obviously, it didn’t show in the race unfortunately, but if we can start progressing in the weekend like we did from yesterday to today then I think we’ll start seeing some real progress for Dale Coyne Racing."

Scott McLaughlin — 26th: “Obviously very disappointing to DNF with a Chevy that was so fast. I got us off on the wrong foot by missing a key corner in qualifying, losing a couple of tenths a second. We were much better than an 11th-place car in qualifying. Then you look at the race and we were on the same strategy as Dixon and looked to be in a good spot for a solid day. The gearbox issue that ended our day was just the final straw. Again, disappointing to say the least but we head to Barber next looking for a second win there.

Christian Rasmussen — 27th: “Yeah, it was tricky. I feel like we’ve had a good weekend so far. We’ve got up to speed quick in our practices. Not the qualifying we wanted, but the race was unfortunate. Tapped the wall out of (turn) 11. Thought the car was fine. My steering wheel was a little bit off, but I thought it was a bent toe link, but then when I went into (turn) four, I think it just completely snapped and it went around. Not how I wanted to end the day. I’m sorry to the boys, and it’s going to be a quick turnaround to Barber, but we’ll come back stronger.”