Dixon earns final podium spot, after blocking call on Rahal

Scott Dixon parked his car right in front of Graham Rahal on pit road in the staging area, following the final lap of the NTT IndyCar Series’ annual trip to Long Beach, Calif., because he believed Rahal would lose the final podium position for blocking him on the backstretch.

And he was correct, because race control came on the radio moments later to announce that Rahal made an illegal block which moved Dixon up to third.

Dixon had a run on Rahal exiting Turn 8 and racing down the backstretch on the final lap of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, when Rahal moved down the track to block his advance.

“I moved right as quick as I could, out of the corner, as you can see,” Rahal said to Marty Snider of NBC Sports, pointing at a TV monitor. “Then I gave him a lane.

“By the rules, you’re allowed to make your move, which I did, on the exit of the corner, and that was it.”

“As the rule is, you can’t come back to defend if somebody is already there,” Dixon said. “And that’s what happened.”

Rahal didn’t deny that he blocked. He even out-right admitted that he did.

“You’re allowed to block in this series,” he said. “You’re allowed to make a move. I made a move. That’s allowed.”

Rahal said afterwards that it wasn’t a tough result to swallow, because his used red front tires were shot, and that he had no grip, but he wanted an explanation for what was wrong with his move.

“The problem is we see such large discrepancies in what is a block, what’s not a block.

“It’s fine. We just need to go forward and understand it better.”

At the end of the day, however, while he believed he deserved third, he was happy with the good points day.

“We haven’t had a lot of luck this year,” he added. “So I’ll just take it as it is and move on.”

For Dixon, the podium finish salvaged a pit road mistake, where the crew couldn’t fully connect the fuel hose to the car for a few seconds. Running the start of the race on used reds wasn’t the right call, according to Dixon.

“Definitely the last stint was strong for our car. It’s unfortunate we had the fuel probe issue. I think we could’ve had a great race for second there.”

Dixon leaves Long Beach third in points, 33 back of Josef Newgsarden. Rahal leaves in ninth, 76 back of Newgarden.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."

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