The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was a tough day at the office for several of IndyCar’s leading drivers.
Two-time champion Scott Dixon, reigning champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves were involved in minor accidents Sunday.
Castroneves and Dixon, however, battled back after their cars were repaired to finish ninth and 10th, respectively, which earned them valuable points.
Castroneves kept the lead in the Izod IndyCar Series championship standings by eight points over race winner Takuma Sato and by 11 points over the third-place Dixon.
Long Beach was the third race of the series’ 19-race season.
“I was trying to be careful but got bunched up and broke the front wing,” said Castroneves, who drives for Team Penske. “My team did a great job getting me back out.”
Dixon spun on the opening lap after getting hit from behind by rookie Tristan Vautier, “which resulted in a flat tire for us,” Dixon said.
Hunter-Reay was running among the leaders early but on Lap 51 of the 80-lap race he drove too fast into Turn 8, a right-hander, and slammed into the track’s tire barriers. He finished 24th in the 27-car field.
“Completely my fault, but at that point we were just trying to make a bad day a little better,” said Hunter-Reay, a driver for the Andretti Autosport team who won the Long Beach race in 2010.
Hunter-Reay teammate James Hinchcliffe, who won the season opener last month on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., was knocked out in a multi-car crash on the 35th lap.
Carlos Munoz wins Indy Lights race
Colombian Carlos Munoz won the Firestone Indy Lights race on the Long Beach course after three of the field’s 10 cars crashed on the opening lap.
Two rookies, Gabby Chaves and his teammate Sage Karam, finished second and third, respectively.
The first-lap crash collected Jack Hawksworth, Peter Dempsey and Zach Veach.