"The last thing I wanted to do was run out of gas in front of the whole field and cause a big accident," Dixon said.
Five things that happened Sunday at Long Beach:
TEMPER, TEMPER: Half the paddock was angry after the race over on-track incidents. Justin Wilson claimed he was taken out by Scott Dixon in a move "that is so deliberate and blatant," and Wilson was furious IndyCar did not penalize Dixon for the contact.
Simon Pagenaud also was furious with second-place finisher Will Power, refusing to accept his apology for contact that ruined Pagenaud's chance to race for a win.
"I think we had a car to win and he pretty much ruined our race, our chance," said Pagenaud. "We were friends until now. We won't be going on vacation together, I guess."
Power insisted he thought Pagenaud had an issue with his car.
"I honestly thought he had a problem because he went back really slowly and so I went up his inside and then realized he was just going to turn and try to back out. I got him. My bad," Power said. "I feel bad. I don't like to be raced like that and I'm surprised I didn't get a penalty. But I honestly thought he had a flat tire or something because he was really slow and I didn't understand why."
Pagenaud, who rallied to finish fifth, dismissed Power's claim.
"Racing, green flag, and I slowed down? Good for him," Pagenaud said.
JPM'S BIG GAIN: Juan Pablo Montoya finished fourth on Sunday in his best showing — in a test, practice or qualifying session — in his return after seven seasons in NASCAR. Montoya climbed to fourth early in the race, but a penalty for pitting when pit lane was closed dropped him to 20th and he had to drive his way back.
"I could have been a little more aggressive at the end, but I really wanted to make sure we didn't get in any trouble and got a decent finish," Montoya said.
BOURDAIS' BAD DAY: Sebastien Bourdais had high hopes for Sunday after a strong qualifying run and fast practice sessions. But Bourdais had a terrible race, twice crashing into tire barriers. His KVSH Racing team made repairs both times while pit road was closed, which drew a pair of penalties from IndyCar. After starting third, Bourdais finished 14th.
"This one really hurts," Bourdais said. "I had a great car and I just made a mistake. I didn't brake late, but was nowhere near making the corner. It was a very bad judgment call."
TOUGH DAY FOR GANASSI: It was a rough day for three of Chip Ganassi Racing's drivers. Ryan Briscoe had an early engine issue and the team had him briefly park to avoid further damage. Then thick, white smoke began billowing out of Charlie Kimball's car while he was running sixth.
Tony Kanaan was collected in Hunter-Reay's seven-car accident when he was one of three drivers to crash in the wreckage. Dixon almost salvaged the race with a win until he had to stop for fuel.
"They told me to take it easy on the radio when the accident happened, but I guess I didn't take it easy enough," said Kanaan.
HELIO'S TWEET: It briefly appeared that Helio Castroneves was on the list of angry drivers when a tweet from his official account criticized race control for not penalizing drivers during the race. The tweet included an image of IndyCar's official logo with a 'thumbs down' symbol photo-shopped in the center.
But the tweet was deleted not long after it appeared, and Castroneves later posted that his sister had sent the missive from his account without his permission.
"I apologize and the steward were correct with the call made," Castroneves posted.
Castroneves was fined $30,000 in 2011 for calling the race director "a circus clown" on Twitter.