Add another chapter to Scott Dixon’s illustrious career.
Dixon is a three-time champion in the Verizon IndyCar Series and a former winner of the Indianapolis 500.
But a victory at the Grand Prix of Long Beach had eluded him — until Sunday.
A powerful car and a bit of luck enabled Dixon to win the race on the street course for the first time in nine attempts.
The 34-year-old New Zealander led 44 of the race’s 80 laps and he won by 2.2 seconds over second-place Helio Castroneves.
“It feels spectacular to win,” said Dixon, nicknamed the “Iceman” for his reserved manner. “I finally got it right.”
Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud, Castroneves’ teammates at Team Penske, finished third and fourth, respectively.
Castroneves started on the pole, followed by Montoya and Dixon. But Dixon slipped past Montoya on the opening lap of the 1.97-mile, 11-turn course and began chasing Castroneves.
“Dixon got the momentum and passed me,” Montoya said.
Then came a turning point 29 laps into the race when Castroneves and Dixon made green-flag pit stops.
After his car was serviced, Castroneves was ready to pull away but was held by his crew an extra second or two so that Castroneves wouldn’t collide with the car of Tony Kanaan, Dixon’s teammate at Chip Ganassi Racing.
That enabled Dixon to drive past Castroneves and leave pit road with the lead he would hold for most of the remaining laps.
“It was better to be safe than sorry,” Castroneves said of being held up.
Once they were racing again, “I was really pushing hard [to catch Dixon] but with his experience, I knew he wasn’t going to make a mistake,” Castroneves said.
Dixon’s win was the 36th of his IndyCar career. Montoya won the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 29, and James Hinchcliffe won a week ago on a road course near New Orleans. Hinchcliffe finished 12th at Long Beach.
Montoya maintained the lead in this year’s championship standings with a three-point edge over Castroneves.
The fourth Penske driver, reigning IndyCar champion Will Power, had a forgettable day.
Power started 18th and was driving into the pits early in the race when a car stalled ahead of him.
That prompted Power to slow suddenly and then his car stalled, and by the time Power returned to the track, he was 22nd and one lap down to the leaders. Power finished 20th.
“It makes me more motivated to make up for it the next couple races,’ Power said.
The race was free of accidents and featured only one caution period, for debris on the track, early in the event.
Ed Jones won the race in IndyCar’s second-level Indy Lights Series on the Long Beach circuit, with Spencer Pigot finishing second. Jones also won the season opener in St. Petersburg.
On Saturday, brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor won the prototype division of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship series in a Corvette prototype.
Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach and co-driver Dirk Werner won the race in the series’ GT Le Mans class in a BMW.