James Hinchcliffe has survived a late-race Safety Car to take victory in the Grand Prix of Long Beach, while Will Power finished 13th after incurring damage on the opening lap.
Pole-sitter Helio Castroneves was swamped at the start and the #3 Team Penske Chevrolet dropped back to sixth as Scott Dixon took the lead.
Behind, Power tagged Charlie Kimball through Turn 5 and both ended up in the wall.
The Chip Ganassi Honda driver’s day was done, while the Penske crew fitted a new front wing to Power’s #12 entry.
Sebastien Bourdais took the opportunity to pit under the caution which the incident caused, while Hinchcliffe would pressure Dixon at the restart.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, however, would displace Hinchliffe from second position on Lap 6 and he inherited the lead when Dixon took his first stop on Lap 16.
Hinchcliffe took the #5 Schmidt Peterson Honda into pit road for the first time on Lap 28 and Hunter-Reay on Lap 29, as those two looked for a two-stop strategy in contrast to the more popular three-stopper.
After those stops it was Dixon leading Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, and Simon Pagenaud, who had climbed through the field from rear of grid after a qualifying penalty, with Bourdais a spot further back in fifth.
Bourdais and Pagenaud then took their second stops on Laps 30 and 31 respectively, while Dixon waited until Lap 41.
From there, the New Zealander went on a tear in the #9 Ganassi Honda on red tyres, closing the gap to leader Hunter-Reay to 15s, with Hinchcliffe running second and Alexander Rossi third.
Hunter-Reay and Rossi pitted on Lap 55, while Hinchcliffe played the over cut as he stopped a lap later and jumped the Andretti pair, with Rossi on red tyres soon passing Hunter-Reay on blacks.
Bourdais also pitted for the final time on Lap 57, while out in front the leader was Dixon with Josef Newgarden close behind.
That pair pitted on Laps 62 and 60 respectively, leaving Hinchcliffe in the lead and Hunter-Reay chasing after Rossi’s #98 Honda suffered an engine failure.
A caution was called with 22 laps to run, the top five being Hinchcliffe, Hunter-Reay, Bourdais, Newgarden, and Dixon.
Hinchcliffe gapped the field when the green flags flew again, before Hunter-Reay closed in with less than ten laps remaining.
However, Hunter-Reay then succumbed to technical problems and there was yet another Safety Car.
Hinchcliffe needed to survive the final four laps and he did, gapping Bourdais to take his fifth career win in IndyCar, ahead of the Frenchman, Newgarden, Dixon, and Pagenaud.
Round 3 is at Barber Motorsports Park on April 21-23.
Race results: Grand Prix of Long Beach
|Pos||Driver||Grid||Laps||Race time||Laps led||Status||Pit stops|
|17||Ryan Hunter-Reay||3||79||01:41:38.5661||28||Off Course||2|
|18||Takuma Sato||18||78||01:40:46.3691||–||Off Course||4|
Championship points: After Round 2