Dixon: Non-call against Pagenaud likely cost him Long Beach win


Scott Dixon was not happy with his runner-up finish in Sunday’s 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – but it wasn’t due to lack of performance.

Dixon was upset that race winner Simon Pagenaud was not penalized on Lap 55 for crossing the double yellow line before reaching the end of the pit road exit lane.

Crossing the double yellow line was discussed in the pre-race driver meeting and drivers were told anyone violating it would receive a penalty.

Shortly after that exit, Pagenaud grabbed the lead away from Dixon and motored the last 25 laps to his fifth career Verizon IndyCar Series victory.

“I don’t really want to comment because I haven’t seen the replay,” Dixon told NBCSN. “But I caught a replay on the big screen and it’s tough to see there, but I think he ran across (the double yellow lines) and the rules clearly state that you can’t have two wheels on the other side of the line before you get a penalty.”

IndyCar stewards issued a warning to Pagenaud, but he did not lose his position on the track and held on to capture the checkered flag.

“I just hope you’re not recircling with our stewardship here and doing warnings,” Dixon said. “He got a warning, so there’s meant to be no warnings left, so I don’t know what that’s all about.

“I think it was our race, man. So it is what it is.”

Dixon was going for his second consecutive win at Long Beach, but ultimately came up one spot short.

“Rules are rules and I hate it when you see it get changed,” he said.

Warnings were supposedly eliminated after last season, according to Chip Ganassi Racing team strategist Mike Hull.

“They told us with the steward system they were going to have this year, there would be no warnings, so he was either in the right or the wrong,” Hull said. “On the television (replay), it clearly showed all the viewers that (Pagenaud) didn’t stay in a straight line all the way to the exit of the pit lane.

“What we were told in the driver’s meeting, if anybody did that, that would be a penalty. They didn’t say what the penalty was, but he shouldn’t be leading the race.”

However, team owner Chip Ganassi took a more diplomatic approach to the incident.

“It was obviously a close call,” Ganassi said. “It’s certainly a chance to look for some opportunity how we can improve on questionable calls like that.

“It was obviously a questionable call. The video shows one thing and I don’t know what the stewards used to make their decision. But I sort of support what they do. But I kind of like the NASCAR system, where it’s black and white, there’s a camera there and the camera makes the call electronically. Maybe it’s an opportunity for us to improve.”

As for Pagenaud only getting a warning, Ganassi again took the diplomatic path.

“You look at those situations over the long term and over a year period or something, they’ve got a new group of stewards in the booth and they’re trying to do the best they can,” he said. “I applaud what they’re trying to do. It’s not an easy job what they have to do up there. I’m sure I’ll have a discussion with them and I’ll probably learn something I didn’t know.”

Regardless, Ganassi said he’s very happy with the way his team has performed overall in the first three races of the season, including Dixon’s win two weeks ago at Phoenix.

“You look at Dixon, he’s ahead in the points where he was a year ago after three races, so that’s good,” Ganassi said. “(Tony) Kanaan is doing a job good and Charlie Kimball is up ahead of where he was a year ago and Max Chilton, the newcomer to the team, is doing a great job himself.

“We’re happy at this moment and we want to have some momentum going to Indianapolis. Right now, I think we have that. Let’s carry it to Birmingham and then on to Indianapolis in May.”

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Texas starting lineup: Felix Rosenqvist back on pole; Scott Dixon qualifies second


FORT WORTH, Texas — For the second consecutive year, Felix Rosenqvist will lead the NTT IndyCar Series starting lineup to the green flag at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Arrow McLaren driver is hoping the third time will be the charm at the 1.5-mile oval, where he has run extremely well but has only a career-best 12th in five starts.

“We’ve always been good here, but this is a whole different confidence level compared to last year,” Rosenqvist told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “Let’s try to wrap it up (Sunday).”

In 2020, Rosenqvist was competing for a podium when he crashed with 10 laps remaining at Texas.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for speeds from Saturday’s time trials

INDYCAR AT TEXASSchedule, start times, how to watch on NBC, Peacock

Last year, he started first on an oval for the first time in his career but finished 21st because of a broken halfshaft.

“It’s definitely one of my favorite tracks, and naturally, I’ve always been OK here,” Rosenqvist said. “It was the first oval that made sense to me. Every year I’m building on that. But looking at the results, they don’t represent the speed I normally have.

“I don’t want to jinx anything, but I hope tomorrow is going to go a bit better and some luck our way would be nice. It’s been feeling super good. Arrow McLaren has been mega every session, so just keep it rolling.”

Arrow McLaren qualified all three of its Chevrolets in the top five, building on a second for Pato O’Ward and fourth for Alexander Rossi in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The March 5 season opener was a disappointing start for Rosenqvist who was squeezed into the wall by Scott Dixon on the first lap.

Dixon, a five-time winner at Texas, will start second Sunday, followed by Rossi and Josef Newgarden. O’Ward will start fifth alongside Takuma Sato, who will start on the outside of the third row in his Chip Ganassi Racing debut.

During nearly four hours of practice and qualifying (including a special high-line session), Saturday’s lone incident involved Conor Daly.

The Ed Carpenter Racing driver spun three times but stayed off the wall and in the frontstretch grass. Aside from a front wing change and new tires, there was no damage to his No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet during the incident midway through the 30-minute session in which drivers were limited to the high line.

“I hadn’t really had a moment before, but it snapped really aggressively,” Daly told NBC Sports after final practice. “Not ideal, but I do know my way around correcting a spin it seems like. I drove NASCAR last weekend and that seemed to help a little bit. I drove in the dirt a lot in USAC Midgets and seemed to be able to save something but not ideal or what we wanted to have happen.”

Daly will start 25th of 28 cars alongside teammate Rinus VeeKay in Row 13. Carpenter qualified 18th.

“Our three of our cars were clearly looking for something. Mechanical grip is for sure what we need. Qualifying we actually expected to be a lot better, but we found an issue there. We’ll see what happens. This race can change a lot. I’m confident in the team to hopefully figure some things out for tomorrow.”

Here’s the IndyCar starting lineup for Sunday’s PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway (qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine and speed):


1. (6) Felix Rosenqvist, Dallara-Chevy, 220.264 mph
2. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 219.972


3. (7) Alexander Rossi, Dallara-Chevy, 219.960
4. (2) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Chevy, 219.801


5. (5) Pato O’Ward, Dallara-Chevy, 219.619
6. (11) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 219.508


7. (10) Alex Palou, Dallara-Honda, 219.480
8. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 219.355


9. (18) David Malukas, Dallara-Honda, 219.256
10. (26) Colton Herta, Dallara-Honda, 219.184


11. (28) Romain Grosjean, Dallara-Honda, 219.165
12. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Dallara-Honda, 219.146

ROW 7 

13. (55) Benjamin Pedersen, Dallara-Chevy, 219.100
14. (14) Santino Ferrucci, Dallara-Chevy, 218.892


15. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Dallara-Chevy, 218.765
16. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Dallara-Honda, 218.698


17. (77) Callum Ilott, Dallara-Chevy, 218.427
18. (33) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 218.375

ROW 10

19. (78) Agustin Canapino, Dallara-Chevy, 218.367
20. (27) Kyle Kirkwood, Dallara-Honda, 218.227

ROW 11

21. (06) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 218.196
22. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 218.103

ROW 12

23. (51) Sting Ray Robb, Dallara-Honda, 217.676
24. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 217.611

ROW 13

25. (20) Conor Daly, Dallara-Chevy, 217.457
26. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Dallara-Chevy, 216.880

ROW 14

27. (45) Christian Lundgaard, Dallara-Honda, 216.210
28. (30) Jack Harvey, Dallara-Honda, 216.103