Grand Prix of Long Beach Race Preview

“Long Beach is one of my favorite races of the year. It’s one of the cornerstone events for the series with a great fan base and great racing. We have a win there from 2010, started on pole in 2014 but still feel like we have unfinished business after last year with the car shutting off on us while running up front. We have some work to do. We have two top-five finishes so far this year, but we’re not satisfied with that, which is a good thing.”

Fast Facts

Track: 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course (clockwise) in Long Beach, California

Race distance: 85 laps / 167.28 miles

Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

Firestone tire allotment: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. Rookie drivers are allowed one extra set for Practice 1.

Twitter: @ToyotaGPLB @IndyCar, #TGPLB, #IndyCar

Event website: www.gplb.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2017 race winner: James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow Electronics Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda)

2017 Verizon P1 Award winner: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet), 1:06.2254, 106.980 mph

Qualifying lap record: Helio Castroneves, 1:06.2254, 106.980 mph, April 8, 2017

NBCSN race broadcast: Sunday, April 15 (4 p.m. ET)

NBCSN qualifying broadcast: Saturday, April 14 (6:30 p.m. ET, live)

Leigh Diffey will be the play-by-play announcer for NBCSN’s broadcast of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller are the pit reporters.

Radio broadcasts: The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network is led by chief announcer Mark Jaynes with analyst Anders Krohn. Turn reporters are Jake Query and Nick Yeoman, with Rob Howden and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 214, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app.

Video Streaming: All practice sessions not televised by NBCSN will be available RaceControl.IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar)

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, April 13
10-10:45 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com
2-2:45 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #2, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com

Saturday, April 14
10:45-11:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #3, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com
3:30 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (three rounds of Verizon IndyCar Series qualifications); NBCSN (live)

Sunday, April 15
9-9:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series warm-up, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com
1 p.m. – NBCSN on air
1:35 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines” command
1:42 p.m. – Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (85 laps/167.28 miles), NBCSN (live)

Race Notes:

  • Josef Newgarden of Team Penske continues defense of his 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series championship and leads the championship entering this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Newgarden, who won at ISM Raceway on April 7, aims to be Team Penske’s first repeat champion since Gil de Ferran collected back-to-back CART championships in 2000 and 2001.
  • Sebastien Bourdais claimed the season-opening race of the Verizon IndyCar Series for the second year in a row as he won the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 11. Bourdais is seeking a fourth win at Long Beach as he pursues a fifth Indy car championship.
  • Alexander Rossi is the only driver to finish on the podium in each of the first two races. The Andretti Autosport driver – one of three native Californians in the field – finished third at St. Petersburg and Long Beach to start the season and trails Josef Newgarden by five points entering the season.
  • This weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the 35th Indy car event on the historic street circuit. Mario Andretti won the first Indy car race there in 1984. James Hinchcliffe was the 2017 race winner. Sebastien Bourdais (2005-2007) was the last repeat winner at Long Beach.
  • Al Unser Jr. has won the most times at Long Beach (six), while Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power are the only entered drivers with multiple wins. Bourdais won three straight races from 2005-2007. Power won in 2008 and 2012. Other former race winners scheduled to compete are Ryan Hunter-Reay (2010), Takuma Sato (2013), Scott Dixon (2015), Simon Pagenaud (2016) and James Hinchcliffe (2017).
  • Team Penske has won seven of the last nine poles at Long Beach: Helio Castroneves, who set the lap record in 2017, has won four poles (2001, 2015, 2016 and 2017), Will Power won three straight from 2009-2011 and Ryan Briscoe won in 2012. In addition to Power, other past pole winners entered in this year’s race are Tony Kanaan (1999), Sebastien Bourdais (2006-2007) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014).
  • Four drivers have won the race from the pole – Mario Andretti (1984, 1985 and 1987), Al Unser Jr. (1989-90), Helio Castroneves (2001) and Sebastien Bourdais (2006-07).
  • Seventeen of the 24 drivers entered in the event have competed in Indy car races at Long Beach. Eleven entered drivers have led laps: Sebastien Bourdais 169, Will Power 162, Ryan Hunter-Reay 150, Scott Dixon 103, Takuma Sato 66, Marco Andretti 64, Simon Pagenaud 54, Tony Kanaan 51, James Hinchcliffe 25, Charlie Kimball 3 and Josef Newgarden 1.
  • Tony Kanaan seeks to start his 285th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Kanaan will attempt to make his 346th Indy car start, which ranks third on the all-time list.
  • Scott Dixon has made 226 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the second-longest streak in Indy car racing. Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti has made 201 consecutive starts, which is the fourth-longest streak in Indy car racing.
  • Scott Dixon, the longest-tenured driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, is fourth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 41 wins. Petersburg race winner Sebastien Bourdais is sixth on the all-time list with 37 wins and Will Power ranks ninth on the all-time list with 32 wins.
  • Seven Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders – Zachary Claman De Melo, Jack Harvey, Kyle Kaiser, Jordan King, Matheus “Matt” Leist, Zach Veach and Robert Wickens – are entered. It is the most rookies entered at Long Beach since the final Champ Car race in 2008.
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