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IndyCar Long Beach Grand Prix: Scott Dixon wins as Colton Herta takes the blame for hitting Josef Newgarden

Pulling off another masterful fuel conservation startegy, Scott Dixon has won the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach for the second time and his first since 2015.

It's the 57th career victory for Dixon, who has won four of the last six IndyCar races. The six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion stretched the No. 9 Dallara-Honda's final tank of fuel 34 laps to win by 0.9798 seconds over Colton Herta, followed by Alex Palou, Josef Newgarden and Marcus Ericsson.

"That was tough," Dixon told NBC Sports' Marty Snider. "That was real tough. I honestly didn't think we were going to make it. Luckily we were on the safe side. Hopefully we can keep doing this."

RACE RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 40th Grand Prix of Long Beach

It appeared Dixon's biggest challenge would come from Newgarden, but the 2023 Indy 500 winner lost two spots after stalling in the hairpin after contact from behind by Colton Herta.

"Josef was coming strong, and I was unsure how he was going to be behind us," Dixon said. "But I also knew that he'd be burning the tires off, too. (Team owner) Chip (Ganassi) came on and said, 'Just go for it, man.' ... The stress level was high. Those guys were coming fast and strong. We were off by a lap or two of making it easy. I think other fuel races I've done, I've had it under control for the whole stint.

"I saw Josef coming, and I knew he was going to be really strong. Don't know what happened there. And I knew Colton would be strong. The last two laps, the team came on and said go for it, we've got plenty of fuel. And away we went."
Snider said Newgarden and his team were outraged on the radio that Herta was given no penalty in the collision. After the race, Herta and Newgarden had an apparently amicable conversation about the incident in pit lane.

"It seemed pretty obvious," Newgarden told NBC Sports' Kevin Lee. "He just misjudged it and ran into me. I got lifted up off the ground a foot or two. You have to wait for the clutch to re-engage and get reset. I'm not going to say we were going to get Dixon. It was very difficult to get the run I needed. I think traffic was going to provide me an opportunity. So that run was maybe going to be my last chance. Never know if I'd pulled it off. Maybe not. He was really quick. I don't know how they were going as far as they were (on fuel).

"We had a great car, good speed all weekend. I think we have to be happy with a fourth, but I'm not sure about the Herta deal. I think they should probably look at that differently. If you hit somebody, it is what it is."

In an interview with NBC Sports' Dillon Welch, Herta took the blame.

"Ultimately it's up to me to carry the right speed into the corner and not to run into people into the back of people, and I just misjudged it," Herta said. "I don't like to race like that, especially a guy like Josef that I have a lot of respect for, but our Honda was really good today. Dixon, I still don't know he got to the lead or what happened there. Overall, I'm happy with two really good races to start the year. Hopefully we can keep this going."

Dixon's victory capped a big weekend for Chip Ganassi Racing, which also won Saturday’s IMSA race at Long Beach.

Lap 77

It seems Josef Newgarden won't win his second consecutive IndyCar street race to start the 2024 season.

With eight laps remaining, the two-time series champion and 2023 Indy 500 winner stalled in the hairpin Turn 11 on Lap 77 after getting rear-ended by Colton Herta.

After briefly losing power, Newgarden lost two spots and fell behind Herta and Alex Palou.

Scott Dixon continues to lead by more than a second over Herta, who wasn't penalized for the contact. NBC Sports pit reporter Marty Snider reported that Newgarden is "fuming" over the lack of a call by the race stewards. Snider said Newgarden's No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet went into anti-stall mode after the contact from Herta's No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

Herta put the blame on Newgarden for slowing up through the hairpin.

Lap 75

With 10 laps remaining in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, leader Scott Dixon leads by 0.7745 seconds and is trying to hold off a charge by Josef Newgarden, who has fresher tires and no fuel concerns but also has Colton Herta on his tail in third.

Herta has cut a few seconds off the margin to Newgarden as the Team Penske driver has tried in vain to find a suitable spot on the tight 11-turn street circuit to pass Dixon. Two-time series champion Alex Palou also is lurking in fourth and could be a factor.

Dixon is trying to stretch his final tank of fuel 34 laps to the finish to earn his second Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach victory.

Lap 62

With 23 laps remaining, Scott Dixon has cycled back into the lead of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

After pitting on Lap 15 under yellow, Dixon inherited the lead for the first time on Lap 32 during the race's first green-flag cycle. The six-time series champion pitted with Will Power (who started second and led the first 15 laps) under green on Lap 51.

Josef Newgarden, who won the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, moved into the lead on Lap 52. The Team Penske driver stayed in first for 10 laps but then gave up the lead to Dixon with a stop on Lap 62.

Dixon now leads Newgarden by nearly 3 seconds, but the Chip Ganassi Racing star must conserve fuel while trying to stretch his tank for the final 34 laps. Newgarden will have fresher tires and no concern about fuel management over the final 20 laps.

Lap 29

Green flag pit stops began with pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist gave up the lead to take four soft tires.

A lap leader, Josef Newgarden stopped from the lead, followed by Marcus Ericsson. Colton Herta stopped from the lead two laps later, handing the lead to Scott Dixon.

Through 43 of 85 laps, the six-time series champion leads Will Power (who gave up first to pit under yellow after leading the first 15 laps) by 3.5 seconds. Dixon also pitted with Power but managed to gain a spot after the restart.

During the first cycle of stops, Christian Lundgaard was given a five-position penalty for an unsafe release from his pit box.

Lap 15

The first caution flag flew on Lap 15 for Ed Carpenter Racing rookie Christian Rasmussen, who hit the all in Turn 4. Jack Harvey caught a piece of the incident but was able to continue in the No. 18 for Dale Coyne Racing.

NBC replays showed that Rasmussen brushed the wall the lap before, sustaining damage to his No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet.

"Just unfortunate, tapped the wall out of 11 and thought the car was fine," Rasmussen told NBC Sports. "My steering was a little bit off, but then I went into 4, it just completely snapped."
Will Power pitted from the lead under caution, handing the lead to teammate Josef Newgarden.

As the race went green on Lap 18, the top five: Newgadren, Marcus Ericsson, Colton Herta, Alex Palou and Felix Rosenqvist. Power has restarted in 12th.

Lap 10

An already tough weekend for Arrow McLaren has gotten tougher in the first 10 laps of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

After the team's trio of Dallara-Chevrolets failed to advance from the first round of qualifying, teammates Pato O'Ward and Alexander Rossi made contact on the opening lap.

O'Ward received a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact after rear-ending Rossi into the fountain hairpin section of the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street course.

After the race, O'Ward took the blame.

Rossi was forced to pit to repair damage. On Lap 10, Rossi and O'Ward were outside the top 20, and Theo Pourchaire (who is substituting for injured David Malukas in the No. 6 Dallara-Chevy) was in 18th.

Meanwhile, Will Power has led every lap while opening a 5-second lead on Team Penske teammate Josef Newgadren.

Lap 2

Will Power pounced at the green flag, taking the lead from pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist on the opening lap of the 40th edition of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The two-time series champion swept around the outside in Turn 1 to take the lead in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet on Lap 2 (per IndyCar, the first lap and race clock started under caution "due to a Race Control issue").

After a winless 2023, Power is hungry for a win and seems to have returned to form early this season.

The Team Penske star, who missed the pole by 0.004 seconds in his best street-course qualifying effort in more than a year, also had an early edge from starting on the softer tire compound.

Rosenqvist dropped four spots in the first five laps on the primary tire, which is more durable but usually has less top-end speed. He is making his second front row start since joining Meyer Shank Racing this season.

This is the first pole position in more than 100 starts for MSR but the sixth for Rosenqvist. Despite his pace, the Swede has only one victory in five past seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing and Arrow McLaren.

Defending race winner Kyle Kirkwood, who scored his first career IndyCar victory at Long Beach a year ago, will start 10th.