Scott Dixon moved into the lead at the start of Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, but the decision to run a three-stop strategy ultimately cost him the chance of a first win of 2017.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver was in control of the race in those early laps, and admitted to be making good mileage with his fuel, but the early jump to a three-stop strategy enabled those on a two-stopper – James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi and Sebastien Bourdais – to get ahead.
Ultimately Hunter-Reay and Rossi both retired with mechanical issues, but Dixon was denied a podium finish after being passed by Josef Newgarden, meaning the multiple series champion could only finish fourth.
“We got a great start in the NTT Data car and were just cruising along there making good fuel mileage,” said Dixon. “We came in to pit shortly after and that ended up shuffling things up a bit on strategy.
“But the car was great and the team worked really hard. It was pretty hard to pass at the end, which is typical for street races as we all know. So fourth was how it played out.
“We’ve qualified very well the first two races so hopefully we can convert that into a win really soon.”