Long Beach Scott Dixon Wins Opening Round

PacWest driver Scott Dixon opened the Dayton Indy Lights Championship with an impressive victory at the Long Beach Grand Prix in California today. Dixon maintained his starting position of second for the majority of the race in his ...

PacWest driver Scott Dixon opened the Dayton Indy Lights Championship with an impressive victory at the Long Beach Grand Prix in California today.

Dixon maintained his starting position of second for the majority of the race in his #17 Invensys-Powerware machine, but grabbed the lead with just four laps remaining as the race went from yellow to green flag conditions.

Race leader Jonny Kane over shot turn five on the race restart as Dixon applied enormous pressure on him from the green -- he was never troubled in his run to the flag.

The win was a huge thrill for Dixon's new sponsors Invensys-Powerware who had a large group of corporate guests at the Long Beach race.

Dixon, from New Zealand, led Australian Jason Bright and Brazilian Felipe Giaffone to the checkered flag.

Dixon's teammate Tony Renna was running as high as seventh before a late-race spin which relegated him back to ninth. Renna showed a lot of speed early and was up to seventh place a couple of laps into the race after starting 12th in his #17 Motorola PacWest Lights car.

The win was the second of Dixon's career after he won at Chicago from the pole in his debut season in 1999.

The race was the first Lights win for PacWest since Didier Andre won at Laguna Seca from the front row last year and was the third Lights win for PacWest as it enters its fourth year of Lights competition. Dixon finished second at Long Beach last year and was determined to go one better today.

The second round of the 200 Dayton Indy Lights Series is not until June 4 when the Miller Lite 225 will be run at the Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin.

SCOTT DIXON - #17 -- INVENSYS-POWERWARE PACWEST LIGHTS -- 1st

"Obviously we could not have had a better start to the season," said Dixon.

"The PacWest team has been great and obviously gave me a competitive car. I have to thank "Ziggy" (Team Manager, Paul Harcus) for a terrific job.

"This is great result with Invensys-Powerware joining us officially as major sponsors last week and hopefully we can give them plenty more to cheer about this season.

"On the last restart I was disappointed I did not go under Jonny (Kane) earlier because I think I could have made it.

"As it turned out he broke too late and I was in a position to slip underneath him cleanly.

"We have a bit of a break now and I know I will just be itching to get back into the car."

TONY RENNA - #18 MOTOROLA PACWEST LIGHTS -- 9th

"We certainly thought we could have finished a lot higher than ninth, but that's the way it goes," said Renna.

"I had a great start, but we struggled with both oversteer and understeer.

"We had instability in the rear and it finally caught up with me which caused the spin. We will get them next time. We know we are going to be good in Milwaukee."

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Didier André , Scott Dixon , Jonny Kane , Tony Renna , Jason Bright