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Wilson rues costly Long Beach clash with Dixon

Justin Wilson was convinced he was on course for victory at Long Beach, until a battle for the lead with Scott Dixon ended up disaster for the #19.
Long Beach: race report
Long Beach: full results

After starting from tenth place on the grid for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, Dale Coyne Racing's Justin Wilson had managed to climb up to second place behind Scott Dixon for the penultimate restart of the day on lap 65.

An early pit stop had gained Wilson the track position, but now it seemed that Dixon was on the same strategy and both were at risk of attack from Will Power in third place who had pitted later and was on fresher, faster tyres. That meant Wilson needed to get past Dixon as soon as possible before he became a sitting duck for the #12.

"[We] had a fantastic restart," noted Wilson. "I had a couple of looks, tried to go down the inside in turn 1 and got blocked, which is fine - he moved first, I went to the outside and got squeezed on the outside. I was like 'hang on a minute.'

"Then coming out of 5 the same thing happened," Wilson continued. "He chose the inside so I took the outside and nearly got put in the wall then, so I did the old switchback out of 6 climbing the hill to 7, and then to 8 Scott had the inside but he wanted the outside as well and I got sandwiched between him and the wall, bent both sides of the car and the end of our day."

Ultimately Dixon was two laps short of making it to the end on fuel despite a further two laps run under yellow caused by Graham Rahal being spun out at the hairpin. But Wilson insisted that he would have made it to the finish - and claimed the victory - if Dixon hadn't put him into the wall and out of the race.

"We had the fuel to make it to the end, we were making great fuel mileage under the yellows and great fuel mileage on track," he confirmed. "We gambled and could make the mileage and we should have been at least on the podium.

"It is just frustrating when something like this is taken away from you," he added. "We worked so hard, had fantastic strategy. I think we are there and we have got what it takes. We have some great people and the car runs flawlessly and we are out there trying to win races."

For his part, Dixon said that he regretted the rash and explained that he'd simply been caught out by what Wilson was trying to do into turn 8: "I feel bad for the accident with Justin Wilson. I didn't expect him to be there on the outside so I will go talk to him," he said.

As for running out of fuel, Dixon admitted that had been a heartbreaker for him and the Chip Ganassi Racing team.

It was a tough situation for the Target team to be in there leading at the end and not make it," he said. "We ended up being about a half of a lap short on fuel and didn't get a break with a yellow flag. We could have stayed out and tried it but then we would have risked running out of fuel and wrecking the field."

Dixon ended up dropping to the back of the lead lap in 12th place for the chequered flag, while Wilson's retirement meant that he was classified with 16th place in the final race results.

"Not the day we wanted but we'll regroup and be ready for Barber," said Dixon, already looking forward to the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in two weeks time at Barber Motorsports Park.

Long Beach: race report
Long Beach: full results

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Scott Dixon rolls out of pitlane during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson in the hairpin during practice at Long Beach -- Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media
Justin Wilson during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon Road America
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi Indy Car [credit: IndyCar TV Twitter]
Detroit IndyCar race start
Esteban Gutierrez IndyCar Detroit
Graham Rahal Detroit IndyCar 2017
Scott Dixon Indy 500
Sebastien Bourdais Indy 500 practice
Max Chilton Indy 500 2017
Max Chilton Indy 500 2017
Scott Dixon [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon Indy 500 qualifying
Sebastien Bourdais headshot
Sebastien Bourdais Indy 500 practice 2017
Ed Carpenter Indy 500 practice 2
Ed Carpenter Indy 500 practice

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