Race Preview: Grand Prix of Long Beach

Story posted - Apr 16 2013 11:02 PM

IZOD IndyCar Series
Race Preview: Grand Prix of Long Beach

Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 1 DHL Chevrolet
Hunter-Reay, a previous winner on the streets of Long Beach (2010), will look for back-to-back victories this weekend after capturing the checkered flag at the Grand Prix of Alabama two weeks ago.

"I'm really happy to have some much needed momentum going into one of my favorite race events of the year. We'll be looking to follow up a huge win at Barber with another big weekend in Long Beach. As past winners of this race, we know what we need to do to get the job done. Most importantly we need to keep that No. 1 DHL Chevy up towards the front all weekend; consistency is key. Long Beach is such a special race to me and my family for so many reasons. A great result here will go a long way in the fight to defend our championship."

Did You Know: Ryan and his wife Beccy first met in Long Beach in 2004 and consider the street event a home (away from home) town race.

Marco Andretti, No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet
Andretti, who has recorded consecutive top-10 finishes this year, looks to capitalize on momentum and make Long Beach his first stop in Victory Lane this season.

"Right now, I am hungrier than ever for a win. Stopping in Victory Lane in Long Beach would be a great accomplishment. This is a place with so much family history, that it would be a personal milestone for me. While I am never satisfied with where I am at any given moment, I feel very confident with my street course progress at this point in my career."

Did You Know: Marco first joined the "family business" by racing go-karts when he was just nine years old. He worked his way through the ranks and made his IndyCar debut in 2006.

E.J. Viso, No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA CITGO Chevrolet
Coming away from the Grand Prix of Alabama 10th in the fight for the championship, Viso heads to the 2013 Grand Prix of Long Beach looking for his first IZOD IndyCar victory as his team currently holds both victories in the 2013 season.

"Heading back into the street courses, it's something that always excites me. I believe that after the good performance, good speed and good weekend that we had in St. Petersburg, we can only find a continuation of that this weekend in Long Beach. Long Beach is a very, very fun place to race. There are fast corners, slow corners and long straights so that always brings a lot of action to the race."

Did You Know: E.J. attended high school at Rolling Hills Prep in San Pedro, CA, a short 15 minute drive from where the Grand Prix of Long Beach is hosted.

James Hinchcliffe, No. 27 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
Hinchcliffe, who recorded his first career podium in Long Beach (2012), returns to southern California after a frustrating race in Alabama two weeks ago. After making contact on track during the Grand Prix of Alabama, he and the crippled Go Daddy machine were forced to an infield holding area as they awaited a caution that would allow time for the No. 27 to be towed back to the pits. The caution never came and Hinchcliffe spent the remaining 87 laps of the race as an infield spectator.

"I think back to Long Beach a year ago, how much has happened since then, and I'm excited to get back. Obviously, the track has been good to me in the past. But up to last weekend so had Barber (Motorsports Park), so we can't rest too much on that. Starting the season with a win was good, and obviously our street car is quite competitive. Hopefully we can go there, and even though I think we still have some work to do and some ground to make up on some of our competitors, be quick and put together a solid weekend and put the Go Daddy Chevy back on top."

Did You Know: James is an aspiring guitarist and drummer. He owns six guitars including a cherished '64 Fender Strat.

Andretti Autosport, Firestone Indy Lights
Race Preview: Grand Prix of Long Beach

Carlos Munoz, No. 26 Dialy-Ser
Munoz has kicked off his 2013 Firestone Indy Lights season with two pole positions and a visit to Victory Lane in just two races. He returns to Long Beach this weekend looking for back-to-back victories after a flawless performance in Birmingham.

"I am really looking forward to racing in Long Beach. We had a perfect weekend in Alabama, and now we are going for two in a row. We know the Dialy-Ser car is fast, and we have a great strategy for the weekend - we have a lot of high expectations for how well we perform."

Zach Veach, No. 12 K12
This weekend will mark Veach's first started on the famed, 11-turn street circuit in Long Beach, California. Having qualified in the topfive in the first two races of the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights season, Veach is more determined than ever to capture a podium finish this weekend.

"The Long Beach Grand Prix has been a race I've been looking forward to since I was a kid and especially when I first started on the Mazda Road to Indy in 2010. It's such a legendary place and an honor to be racing at. With a little unfortunate luck at Barber two weekends ago, we had a right rear tire go flat mid race due to a puncture, causing us to finish ninth. It was frustrating knowing we turned in the fastest lap of the race. After a lot of studying and hard work in preparation, my K12 crew and I are ready to rebound here at Long Beach and really start our 2013 season! This is a new track for a lot of the drivers this year, so it's going to come down to who can learn the fastest! I want to thank my team for working so hard and K12 for allowing and helping my dream, and the dreams of other students, become a reality!"

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