Reigning IndyCar champion Will Power’s weekend to forget has ended in disappointing fashion at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in California.
The Queenslander, who could only qualify 18th for the 80-lap race at the 1.968 mile temporary street circuit, never recovered from a stall on the pit lane in lap seven of Sunday’s race (Monday AM AEST) as he eventually limped home in 20th.
New Zealand’s Scott Dixon reversed his poor record at Long Beach to claim the win with Power’s South American teammates Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya coming second and third respectively.
The result means Power is back in sixth on the championship standings after three races in his title defence, 39 points behind championship leader Montoya.
“Me finishing P20 was a result of a bad day in qualifying,” Power said.
“I didn’t get it done and it was snowball effect from there.
“Today I made mistakes and I stalled the car on pit road during the first pit stop.
“Was hoping for a top-10 finish but it didn’t happen. It makes me more motivated to make up for it the next couple races.”
While Power was a dejected figure, it was a different tale for three-time IndyCar champion Dixon, whose only prior top 10 finish at Long Beach was a fourth in 2010.
Coming into the race on the back of his worst start to a season since 2009, Dixon made the most of a decision by Castroneves’ pit crew to hold the Brazilian back to avoid contact with another car on lap 33 to snatch the race lead.
He didn’t relinquish it and went on to secure the 36th win of his IndyCar career, passing Bobby Unser for fifth place on the career victory list.
“This is huge. I love the event, but as far as coming here and doing well it hadn’t been on that list,” Dixon said.
“That pit stop exchange definitely helped us get to the lead but the car was fast and all we had to do was maintain that lead.”