Graham Rahal begrudgingly accepts post-race penalty after last lap clash with Scott Dixon
Graham Rahal has begrudgingly accepted the post-race penalty handed down by NTT IndyCar officials at the end of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach after clashing with Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon on the final lap of the race.
On the final lap of the race, Dixon was hounding Rahal in his #15 Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan car, and the tension came to a head at Turn 8 as he locked up on the entry to the corner, this allowed Dixon a chance to pass down the back straight.
As Dixon moved his #9 Ganassi-Honda to the inside, Rahal moved across to block the Kiwi. Rahal eventually beat Dixon to the finish line. However, race control felt the move was in reaction to Dixon's challenge and swapped the positions moments after the race removing the chance for Rahal to claim his first podium since St.Pete in 2017.
"Did I block? Yes, I blocked; you’re allowed to block in this series,” Rahal said after the race. "You’re allowed to make a move, I made a move. That’s allowed, I mean, that’s allowed. I didn’t go back to the left; there’s a lane to the left.
"He had push-to-pass remaining, I didn’t. If he wanted to go left, he could go. But, I don’t know, we’ll discuss it with the officials."
"At the end of the day, P4. Do we deserve P3? Probably, but you know what? It was a good day and good points for us. We haven’t had a lot of luck this season, so I’ll just take it as it is and move on."
The reigning series champion was reluctant to get angry over the move Rahal made on him but insisted he felt the RLL driver was in the wrong, he also noted Rahal has been pushing his luck with his defensive moves as the pair also raced in close quarters at the previous race at Barber Motorsports Park.
"You're not meant to react," said Dixon "That's exactly what he did. It forced me not to hit him, I had to brake, get off the throttle. I think when you're having to avoid somebody when they've done a reaction.
"I think had he not defended or reacted the way he had done, we would have got the pass easily done. I think it is what it is. We're going to be okay with it. They're not going to be happy with it. That's the way it is.
"I think Graham has definitely been racing on the edge. Definitely at Barber, some pretty risky kind of situations too. It is what it is. We'll just have to move on. Good friends with Graham. There's no hard feelings there. But you still have to give everybody some space."