Dixon calls for Long Beach race-distance tweaks

Image by LePage/LAT

Dixon calls for Long Beach race-distance tweaks

Scott Dixon has revived suggestions for the race length of the Long Beach Grand Prix to be extended in the hope that more tire degradation and strategy options might result in closer competition following Alexander Rossi’s blowout win on Sunday.

Rossi’s victory margin of just over 20s was the biggest seen at the famed Southern Californian street circuit in almost a quarter of a century, and the racing behind him was similarly processional: Dixon’s late-race charge provided most of the entertainment toward the end of the race, and even that resulted from his having earlier lost positions to a slow pit stop.

“It almost needs to be a longer race,” said the reigning series champion. “I think IndyCar were trying to make it a longer race, but they kind of got turned down on that effect. It is an easy two-stopper for everybody, so it makes it pretty bland. Both [compounds of] tires are good. You see a little more degradation on the reds if you use a used set. All in all, they make the 30 laps [in a standard stint], if you need to get them, pretty easy.

“But toward the end there with deg, we were able to pick a couple cars off there. It’s just … it’s hard, right? For Firestone, they can probably make a tire that’s got a lot of deg, but nobody’s really going to like it.”

Dixon’s sentiments were echoed by Josef Newgarden, who finished one place — and several seconds — ahead of him in second.

“This is honestly a very straightforward race,” Newgarden said. “Maybe it needs a small adjustment. The tires are pretty friendly here. It’s a pretty simple two-stop. All that added together, you’re not going to get as much action as you get at other tracks.

“Yeah, maybe there’s a little bit of room to think about it. There’s not a lot you can do strategy-wise to mix it up that’s effective. I think that’s why it produces what it did.”