In preparation for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, NTT IndyCar Series drivers will participate in an Open Test from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET) Wednesday, April 24 on the famed 2.5-mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Veterans will take the oval from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., with Rookie Orientation Program and…
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‘What They’re Saying’ from Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s tough when you’re not able to compete at the very, very front. We were at the front, but you want to be competing for first (place). That’s disappointing, but we gave it our all today and thought we had a pretty good race, for the most part. The Hitachi car was fast, it was just a touch off what other cars had. Alexander (Rossi) did a nice job; congrats to Andretti Autosport. We had good fuel mileage (and) Chevy did a good job for us. We just were a little short. It’s a good day, it’s just tough when you’re not competing for the win.”
MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “One more race finished here at Long Beach. I think if you look through our weekend, our race result was not that bad compared to the practice sessions and our qualifying. Of course, not where we want to be. Definitely shouldn’t be happy and we are not happy with P15, but that’s maybe a way to go for the next couple races and I’m just looking forward to improving the car as much as we can, mainly for the road courses and the street courses – that’s where we’re struggling the most. I’m looking forward to the Month of May now, I’m more than excited. We all know we have a good car there. Bring it on.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “I think we did the most with the situation we were in today. Starting where we did (P15), we were going to need some help to get too far forward and it just didn’t come. There were no yellows (flags) that played into our favor; it was basically a caution-free race after that first one. The Arrow guys did a great job in the pits, the car was really quick, we made some moves on track – I think we might have made up more spots than anybody else. It’s so tough in a race that goes all green like that. Proud of the guys. We had good pace, I think we recovered well from qualifying. We’ll try and carry this momentum into the month of May.”
MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “Obviously, it didn’t go the way we wanted with the incident at the start. We got caught out there with everyone packing up in the fountain in Turn 3, so it wasn’t ideal and obviously hitting (teammate) Jack (Harvey) was very unfortunate. From then on, we were one lap down and we had a drive-through penalty, so it was just a very difficult afternoon from that point. Big thank you to the Arrow guys for always pushing and never giving up.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It was unfortunate with the Graham Rahal incident. I think he overshot Turn 8 and then quickly tried to turn in reaction, and you know the rule is you can’t come back to defend if somebody’s already there, and that’s what happened. I was on (overtake) and hit his rear tire and had to lift off. I lost my momentum and that also turns the overtake off, as well. It was just one of those things. Had he not reacted there we would have (passed him) anyway. But it’s racing, hard racing. Definitely the last stint was strong for our PNC Bank car. It’s unfortunate we had that fuel problem issue (on the pit stop). I think we could have had a good race for second (place) there. Congrats to (Alexander) Rossi; that was a fantastic drive. We took a real gamble at the start of the race using used reds (Firestone alternate tires). We maybe didn’t do the right thing there.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It was a kind of static race and we were looking for opportunities, but they didn’t really come. I’d say we sort of lost our race a little bit after the first stop, when we had clear track and then came out just behind (Marcus) Ericsson. He was actually a lap down. In INDYCAR, you’re racing even if you’re a lap down and that was probably his instructions, but we lost a lot of lap time behind him. With that, we lost (James) Hinchcliffe as well. After that, it was sort of just following the others and trying to make a difference. Trying to save the tires and make an attack. Then, save the tires again and make an attack. It was hard and the pace was strong through the field, and it felt like all the guys in top 10 really drove with really strong pace all the time. It’s hard to do anything from there, unfortunately. I’m happy with my drive. I don’t think I could have done much better today, I guess that’s the positive to take out of this. Let’s keep digging for the next one in the NTT DATA car.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “I guess it’s my mistake for going down there. I kind of went in the marbles. Probably went to the wrong side to defend from (Scott) Dixon. That was it, man. It was probably a podium finish there, but threw it away, unfortunately. I was debating whether to make the corner and I thought nah, it’s better to be seventh than in the tires. I was close. I may have made it, but I didn’t want to take the risk.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “I’m OK (physically), but I feel bad because we don’t have it. We have to figure something out. Very disappointing, very disappointing.” (About how tough it was physically today): “It was alright. My injuries were the least of my problems, for sure.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 TOTAL Honda): “It’s not that tough (of a pill) to swallow; we were going to lose the spot anyway. My front (tires) were absolutely gone. Those were used reds (Firestone alternate tires). We should have gone to new blacks (Firestone primary tires) there at the end. My tires were absolutely shot. I had no braking grip whatsoever, but I moved right as quick as I could out of the corner and then I gave him a lane. By the rules you’re allowed to make your move, which I did on the exit of the corner. That was it. We’re just going to have to discuss it (with the officials). Look, I’m not like upset about it. We had a good day. Our car wasn’t great today, but it was decent and the TOTAL Oil team pushed hard. That’s all we can say. Did I block? Yes, I blocked; you’re allowed to block in this series. You’re allowed to make a move, (and) 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 overtake (remaining), I didn’t. If he wanted to go (there) he could go. But, I don’t know, we’ll discuss it with the officials.” (About how he would feel if he was in Scott Dixon’s position): “You would try the exact same, there’s no doubt. I think I played the rules as I see them fit. Did I block? Yeah, I take full (credit). Yeah, I blocked, but you’re allowed to in this series, and if they don’t want blocks, they should say you can’t make a move at all and just change the rule. The problem is, we see such large discrepancies in what is a block (and) what is not a block. It’s fine; we just need to go further and understand (the rule) a little better. 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.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “The No. 18 SealMaster Honda car seemed pretty solid early in the race and I was able to make a couple of moves. As the race went on, the balance got away from us and I picked up more and more understeer. I tried and tried to pass (Felix) Rosenqvist, but he defended and I could never get by. At the end, I just tried to save the car and made sure I didn’t make any mistakes. We’ll just take our 11th place finish and move on.”
SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda): “We had a clean start. Sebastien (Bourdais) seemed pretty quick, so when he got close to me, I didn’t fight him. I’m happy I didn’t because he passed a couple of cars and I watched and followed suit, so it was a good learning experience for me. We seemed pretty quick, as well, and wanted to run his strategy. But when I came out of the pits with a heavy fuel load, I just bottomed too hard coming into Turn 1, locked the fronts and went into the runoff. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the car spun with the heavy fuel load, I spun halfway and that caught me off guard and I stalled it. There was nothing we could do from that point on but to turn it into a learning race.”
ED JONES (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet): “It was one of those situations today where we needed to try something a bit different to make things work. We needed a bit of luck on our side as well. Unfortunately, things didn’t play out that way. On the upside, we made progress with the car every session this weekend and ended in a better spot than where we started. That’s a positive. Going into the two races at Indianapolis, ECR has solid cars there, so we should have two solid races headed our way.”
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “It was a very unfortunate start to the race. We got caught up in the mess that was going on in front of me and stalled the car after some contact. We went a lap down and from there, just had to try and claw our way back as much as we could. It’s frustrating because it seemed like we were actually going pretty quick and had a good race car. If we had been able to stay on the lead lap at the beginning, it would have been a lot better, but that’s not the way it went. We’ll come back stronger next time.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): “Yeah, it was a solid day. I think that was the best we could have done today. I think we did everything we were supposed to do. Execution was there. We just lacked a little bit of pace, overall. So, we’ve got to keep working on it. That’s all you can do. (Alexander) Rossi had a great race. I think (Josef) Newgarden did a fantastic job and putting a Penske car up there is great. We’ve just got to keep working. I’m really excited about the INDYCAR Grand Prix coming up. I’m looking forward to the Month of May.”
ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “Difficult day overall, but that is what to expect after starting 22nd. We charged all the way up to 14th, but we had a fuel miscalculation somehow. I was hitting the (fuel) number they were saying and the team thought we were going to make it to the end. Here and there, it must have got lost in translation because we were about a lap and half short causing us to give up our 14th place — which still isn’t good enough — for 17th. At Barber and here, we passed eight to 12 cars, so if that is starting 12th, then we would be leading the race. We’ve got to look into why qualifying has been such a struggle this year for us. Once we have a good starting place, I think we can prove to people that we know how to race then we can carry it forward from there. Looking ahead, I am excited to get to be back in Indianapolis and be back on an oval where I feel we have a chance to win.”
ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “You never think (you’ll dominate the race). We knew it was going to be a really hard-fought battle. The NAPA AUTO PARTS crew gave me such a great race car. This is the 200th win for Andretti Autosport, so what better way to do it than in that type of fashion here at Long Beach (and) here in California. It’s an amazing day. I have a great car and a great crew behind me. I couldn’t do it without them, so hats off to them. This is a special one. I just found out my grandfather died yesterday, so I wanted to dedicate this (win) to him and obviously Michael (Andretti) for 200th win.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We had a fuel problem late in the race, and we’re not really sure what happened. (The car) was in emergency mode at the end of the race, just trying to make it home. All in all, it was a disappointing weekend considering the speed we had earlier, but congrats to Alexander (Rossi) on the win and good job to the No. 27 team. We gained a few points and are looking on to Indy.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda): “It was a tough race, no moves really. I got off the line P8 and had a good battle with Simon (Pagenaud) in the first two stints. We tried to undercut on the second stop but unfortunately instead we lost a place to Will (Power) and that was it. There were no yellows (flags) and I tried everything I could, but it was difficult to get the balance. We had to go to the black (Firestone primary) tire in the end (stint) because we knew the reds (Firestone alternate) were faster, but we just couldn’t get the balance. We will have a road course and speedway test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Month of May is always exciting. We are carrying good momentum now, so hopefully we have a good, strong test that we can transfer to good results.”
PATRICIO O’WARD (No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet): “Obviously, it wasn’t the result we wanted for the No. 31 GESS Carlin Chevrolet; we always want to at least move forward from where we qualified. We were really strong towards the end, but for some reason I was just sinking like a rock at the beginning of the race. The car just wasn’t behaving how it should’ve been with those used red (Firestone alternate) tires that we started on. We need to look back and see what really went wrong at the beginning of the race and compare it to the end of the race where we doing so much better. It’s unfortunate, but our race was just decided early on when we lost so many spots right out of the gate.”
MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “To be honest, I thought it was quite an enjoyable race today here in Long Beach. It actually went pretty quick. I had the challenge of getting good fuel mileage and I think we did the best out of anyone fuel saving, which is why we were able to pit three laps later than everyone else on that final stint. It allowed me to really push and close the gap to (Zach) Veach. We had a few things in the race not go our way, like (Ed) Jones pulling a bold move on the last corner on a restart costing me a few spots. There just weren’t a lot of opportunities to overtake today, so it was more about hitting your numbers.”
JACK HARVEY (No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda): “We were lacking some substantial pace, as I think we had some pretty significant damage from that shunt. I was just trying to get to the end of the race to just try and collect as much data for the team as possible. This weekend has been kind of a struggle for us. But even in a race like I had, I was still pushing as hard as I normally would and there was no difference in mentality. We’ll have a take a look at the data tonight and see where we can improve for the (INDYCAR Grand Prix).”
COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda): “I’m super bummed for everyone on the No. 88 King Taco team and everyone who came out to show support and cheer me on. I’m really appreciative because I had a lot of family, friends and fans here with it being a hometown crowd. Everyone was awesome. We can take positives from here because we were so damn fast all weekend and I was really happy with the car. The guys did an incredible job, everyone has done so well working together. We’ll move forward. We have some testing planned later this week and we have the Month of May coming up, which will be awesome.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda): “We started the day really strong in warmup and we didn’t change anything on the car from warmup to the race, and the car was nothing like this morning. I knew that once it was a fuel saving race that it was going to be hard to make up ground. It was a long day — I can’t wait for May.”
Rossi reels off second straight dominant Long Beach triumph
LONG BEACH, California (Sunday, April 14, 2019) – Al Unser Jr. may be “King of the Beach,” but Alexander Rossi is driving himself toward INDYCAR racing royalty at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
For the second straight year on the iconic NTT IndyCar Series street course, Rossi dominated the competition. The Andretti Autosport driver led all but five of 85 laps from the pole position Sunday to become the first back-to-back winner at Long Beach since Sebastien Bourdais won three in a row from 2005-07.
“We were able to get a race car I was really happy with,” Rossi said. “Winning the pole is huge come Sunday because it allows you to hopefully be in front leaving Turn 1 and really just control the race from there.
“It’s awesome to be able to really kickstart our year.”
ACURA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH: Official results
Driving the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda, Rossi cruised across the finish line 20.2359 seconds ahead of Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden – the largest margin of victory at Long Beach since Unser Jr. won by more than 23 seconds in 1995. Rossi became the ninth multiple winner at Long Beach, joining the likes of his team owner Michael Andretti (two wins), Mario Andretti (three), Bourdais (three), Paul Tracy (four) and Alex Zanardi (two). Unser Jr. took home six victories at “the Beach.”
Four of Rossi’s six NTT IndyCar Series career victories have now come when the 27-year-old Californian started from the pole position. Sunday’s win also moved him into second place in the 2019 championship standings after four of 17 races, trailing Newgarden by 28 points, but he said it was no day at the beach.
“I think we got lucky that we were able to get through some traffic and Josef was held up for a bit,” Rossi said. “From that standpoint, we were able to build a gap. It’s never easy. We didn’t have a whole lot of pressure … but you still have to go quick, right? There are a bunch of really fast guys behind you, so you can’t relax at all.”
Rossi became the fourth NTT IndyCar Series driver, each from a different team, to win in as many races this season. He also delivered Andretti Autosport its 200th race victory in all disciplines in which the team has competed since its 2003 inception. Sixty-three of those wins have come in NTT IndyCar Series competition.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in I think a short period of time, to get to 200,” Michael Andretti said. “We’ve had so many great people help get us there. I was just told we had 38 different drivers that won for us over the years to get us to this point.”
Andretti had high words of praise for Rossi, the driver who picked up win No. 200.
“I think he’s a great driver,” Andretti said. “I think we saw in him from the moment he sat in one of our cars, we knew we had someone special here. He’s been great to have as a part of the team.
“He drove flawlessly all weekend. That lap he did (in) qualifying, I think, was the difference as well. To be able to start on pole here is a big advantage.”
By finishing second in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, Newgarden scored his fourth top-four finish to start the season. Starting fourth, the 2017 NTT IndyCar Series champion leapfrogged to second place during the first round of pit stops and remained there the rest of the day.
“It’s tough when you’re not able to compete at the very, very front,” Newgarden said. “We were at the front, but you want to be competing for first (place). That’s disappointing, but we gave it our all today and thought we had a pretty good race for the most part. … We just were a little short.”
Reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon finished third in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. The five-time champion and 2015 Long Beach winner crossed the finish line in fourth place behind Graham Rahal, but the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver was penalized a position for blocking Dixon on the final lap.
“It was unfortunate with the Graham Rahal incident,” Dixon said. “I think he overshot Turn 8 and then quickly tried to turn in reaction. The rule is you can’t come back to defend if somebody’s already there, and that’s what happened.
“It was just one of those things. Had he not reacted there, we would have (passed him) anyway. But it’s racing, hard racing.”
Rahal, driving the No. 15 TOTAL Honda, didn’t refute the decision. The INDYCAR rule for blocking states that a driver may be penalized for making a move in reaction to another driver’s effort to overtake.
“I’m not upset about it,” Rahal said. “We had a good day. … We haven’t had a lot of luck this season, so I’ll just take it as it is and move on.”
The race on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary circuit saw one full-course caution when the cars of Marcus Ericsson, Jack Harvey and Spencer Pigot made contact in the fountain area of Turns 2 and 3 on the opening lap. Ericsson was penalized for avoidable contact over the incident.
Grand Prix Association of Long Beach officials announced that weekend attendance for the event increased approximately 1 percent from 2018, to approximately 187,000 fans.
The focus of the NTT IndyCar Series shifts now to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. An April 24 open test on the 2.5-mile oval will allow teams and drivers scheduled to compete in the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge valuable track time. IndyCar.com will provide livestream coverage of the test.
The race weekend for the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the IMS road course is May 10-11, with the race airing live at 3 p.m. ET Saturday, May 11 on NBC. Indy 500 practice opens May 14, with qualifying on May 18-19. “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” takes place Sunday, May 26 and airs live at 11 a.m. ET on NBC.
Reigning series champion Dixon leads Long Beach practice
LONG BEACH, California (Friday, April 12, 2019) – Previous Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach winners Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay continued their assault on the iconic street course by leading Friday practices, swapping the first and second positions between the morning and afternoon sessions.
Dixon, the 2015 race winner and reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion, topped the timesheet in the second practice with a lap of 1 minute, 7.7940 seconds (104.505 mph) on the temporary street course hosting Indy cars for the 36th straight year. The driver of the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda was second fastest to Hunter-Reay in the opening practice, but admitted he even left time on the table on the lap that won him the day in the sunny Southern California afternoon session.
“It was an average run,” Dixon, the five-time series champion, said. “I think I missed the timing on when to get the fast lap out of (the run on Firestone alternate tires). We ran long, the grip felt high, but I made some pretty big mistakes on the first two laps. But the PNC Bank car rolled off strong, it was good this morning.
“As you can tell, every weekend, man, it’s super tight and the mix is quite heavy, so we’ll have to see what we can do and try to create a bit of a gap there.”
Hunter-Reay, who won at Long Beach in 2010, ran second to Dixon in Friday’s afternoon practice with a lap of 1:07.8434 (104.429 mph) in the No. 28 DHL Honda. That came after the 2012 series champion led the first practice with a lap just a tenth of a second slower.
“Last year, we had very competitive cars,” said Hunter-Reay, who qualified seventh at Long Beach in 2018 but finished 20th in the race as Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi became the seventh straight different driver to win at Long Beach.
“Again, this year (we) rolled off with a really good setup, I think,” Hunter-Reay continued. “It was a good starting point. We’ve made some changes to it trying to find what to do, what not to do, as you regularly would on a street course.
“So, yeah, it was a good first day, definitely learned a lot. I know what to apply for tomorrow.”
While the two practices were mostly clean – with but a single red-flag stoppage when AJ Foyt Racing’s Matheus Leist stopped on course in the afternoon – there were plenty of near misses and wall brushes as the 23 entered drivers squeezed every ounce out of their cars and the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street course.
Felix Rosenqvist, rookie teammate to Dixon, ran third in the afternoon and for the day with a lap of 1:07.8867 (104.362 mph) in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Josef Newgarden, the NTT IndyCar Series championship leader after three races, was fourth in Friday practice at 1:07.9648 (104.242 mph) in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. Newgarden takes a 27-point lead over Dixon into the race weekend.
Patricio O’Ward was second among rookies on the leaderboard, carving out a second-practice lap of 1:08.0303 (104.142 mph) in the No. 31 GESS Carlin Chevrolet. The 2018 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion was giddy after experiencing the legendary Long Beach circuit for the first time in his career.
“This place is a blast!” O’Ward said. “It’s quite hard to get those last three-tenths (of a second). It’s really, really hard to get everything right. You have to be precise because here you don’t have grass (runoff areas as on permanent road course); you have a wall. It’s pretty tough to get around here with a perfect lap, but I’m enjoying so far.”
Rossi, last year’s Long Beach winner, was sixth on the combined speed chart at 1:08.0810 (104.064 mph) in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda.
A third practice begins at noon ET Saturday and streams live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold. NTT P1 Award qualifying to determine the pole winner and starting grid airs live at 2:45 p.m. on NBCSN and INDYCAR Pass.
Coverage of the 85-lap race begins at 4 p.m. Sunday on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
Claro video to stream races to 12 Latin American nations, including Mexico
On the day that rookie sensation Patricio O’Ward impressed again by posting the fifth-best practice lap for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, online streaming video service Claro was named by INDYCAR to take over livestreams of NTT IndyCar Series races in O’Ward’s native Mexico and 11 other Latin American nations beginning with Sunday’s race.
Claro will stream the final 14 races of the 2019 season in the first of a multiyear deal and offer on-demand race replays of each event. In Mexico, a season-long subscription to the video channel is available for 779 pesos (approximately $42 USD) and may be billed through Telmex, Telnor or Telcel invoices, by credit card or iTunes.
“I’m really excited this deal is ready and my friends and family will be able to follow each one of my steps in every track on my new career path with INDYCAR,” said O’Ward, a native of Monterrey, Mexico. “The most important thing is that I will feel more connected with all my fans in Latin America, including people from my lovely Mexico. I will keep working with my Carlin team very hard, so they can watch great results and feel proud of me.”
In addition to Mexico, Claro will livestream NTT IndyCar Series races in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru.
“The NTT IndyCar Series adds to our content offer, complementing the wide range of entertainment offered by Claro video to its users in Mexico and LATAM (Latin American) countries,” said Alberto Islas, Claro video general director. “Entering the exciting world of motor racing gives us the opportunity to reach millions of consumers interested in this area with a new and interesting product.”
Another Andretti to drive at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Third-generation driver Jarett Andretti will make his Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires debut next month as he joins Andretti Autosport for the Freedom 100 on May 24 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Andretti, the 26-year-old son of Indy car race winner John Andretti, will attempt to become the seventh member from one of racing’s most famous families to compete at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, joining the list that includes his father, great uncle Mario, uncle Adam and cousins Michael, Jeff and Marco.
“To say I’m excited to run the Freedom 100 this year would be an understatement,” Jarett Andretti said. “Anytime you get a chance to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it’s special. Obviously, Andretti Autosport has a great track record there and I’ve known all the mechanics on the cars for years. I can’t wait to get the month of May started.”
Team owner Michael Andretti, Jarett’s godfather, was happy to help his first cousin once removed achieve his goal of racing at IMS and add to the family legacy. Jarett has competed for Andretti Autosport in USAC sprint cars and the Pirelli GT4 America sports-car series.
“I’m really happy to field a car at IMS for Jarett,” Michael Andretti said. “Running in an Indy Lights car will be a new experience for him, and I know he’s up for the challenge. Our Indy Lights team has shown strong pace this season, and we have a Freedom 100 title to defend.
“Jarett is already a team driver on the GT4 side, and I’m confident he is going to fit into the Indy Lights team well. He will be a contender and an instant crowd favorite.”
What They’re Saying’ from Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach practice
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a good day. The car feels really good. The Hitachi Chevy boys have worked really well this weekend. We just need to stay on top of it. We found some stuff from the first session that will make us better, and now it’s a matter of putting all of those details together correctly for tomorrow. I think we’re going to have a great car tomorrow for qualifying and try to set ourselves up nicely for the race.”
MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “We had a great Practice 1 here, but unfortunately in the second session, I think the higher temperatures and the setup that I had didn’t work well together. I had too much oversteer on turn-in, which doesn’t help you to go faster. We also had a couple issues during the session that didn’t help either, so we have some work to do for tomorrow, but I think we are closer to the guys in the front than we’ve been the whole year. Hopefully, we’ll have a good practice tomorrow to prepare us for qualifying to go to Q2.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “I think we learned a lot today. Ultimately, our pace wasn’t representative; the No. 20 decided to have no respect on track and sat right in front of us on our fast lap on reds (Firestone alternate tires) – you only get one lap. Bit annoying not knowing where you are pace-wise because we still have some work to do on the car. Once again, the Arrow car rolled off the truck pretty quick. The guys have done a lot of work in the offseason to improve our pace here; it wasn’t our strongest track last year. I think we’ve made strides and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do with it tomorrow after a night to sleep on it and make it a little better.”
MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It was a fun first day here in Long Beach. It’s a great track to drive, and obviously, the first time for me, but I had a lot of fun. It’s quite technical, quite bumpy, so you need to sort of learn how to use the track and where to place the car over all of the bumps and curbs out there. It takes a bit of time to get into that – I’m still sort of trying to figure out the best way around this track, but I’m getting there. We did quite a few laps, as well, to learn the car and try different setups, so we’re definitely moving in the right direction. We just need to find a bit more in the Arrow car for tomorrow and Sunday.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I think it was only an average run. I think I missed the timing line when I went to get the fast lap out of it. We ran long and the grip felt high, but I made a pretty big mistake in the first two laps. But the PNC Bank car was strong and it was good this morning. We didn’t really get what we wanted out of it and I think we had the potential this morning. I think the Hondas look strong. As you can tell every weekend, it’s super tight and the mix is quite heavy, so we will have to see what we can do to try to create a bit of a gap there.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It was a pretty good day in the beginning and it felt like I had some work to do on the driving in the first practice. This is kind of a technical circuit, for sure. Then in the second practice on blacks (Firestone primary tires), it felt not the best, but then on reds (Firestone alternate it seemed like we had a lot of pace. Scott (Dixon) in P1 and me in P3 and I think I had a kind of dodgy run and still, I was able to go to P3, and we didn’t really wait until the end when the track was the best. So I think that is promising for tomorrow. We still have something I want to get better in the car but overall, a really good first day in the NTT DATA car.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Obviously, the second session was a bit messy for us. We had a couple of issues. We got some good data from our teammates and have some great stuff to look at. We look to improve the Verizon Chevy for tomorrow.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Pretty solid day for us. We regrouped after Barber and actually came back to the basics that we knew in years past. This was a good track for us here last year, so I was confident that we were going to have a pretty good weekend so, so far so good. Gotta keep at it.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 TOTAL Honda): “It was a decent day for the TOTAL team. I think in the end our pace is OK. I think we’ve got to find a couple of tenths (of a second) to be comfortable. We probably could match what the top guys did. We caught a little traffic on our first lap on reds (Firestone alternate tires) and just didn’t get it all. We had to bail out of the second lap, too, which hurt us, so we did our best time on our third lap and it wasn’t a pretty lap. I think we’re competitive, but like always, it’s going to be super, super tight. We finished seventh and were only a couple of tenths off. We’ve just got to keep digging and try to find a little more.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “I’m missing something. I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but I’m really struggling to switch on the tires and get the No. 18 SealMaster Honda car going. I’m looking for the feel I usually have here at Long Beach and I’m not getting it. I’m not particularly worried. I just need to get where I have the confidence to challenge the car. We are just going to have to sit down, review all the data and see what we can come up with. Fortunately, we have one more practice before qualifying tomorrow.”
SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 David Yurman Honda): “The Long Beach circuit is a little different than other street courses I’ve been to. It’s very flowing with a nice rhythm to it and the David Yurman car has been pretty decent. We’re just struggling with one thing and that’s where all of our lap time is. If we can fix that one item, then we’ll be good to go for tomorrow. We have a bit of work to do tonight, and hopefully, we’ll be set for qualifying tomorrow.”
ED JONES (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet): “Today was a tough start to the weekend. However, we made a lot of progress in that second session. The field is so tight, even if you make up just a few tenths it really jumps you up a lot. If we continue making improvements like we did today, we could be looking at getting into the second round of qualifying tomorrow. That’s our goal.”
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “We definitely have some work to do tonight to get ourselves in a better spot for qualifying tomorrow. We’re going to go back and look at not everything we did today, but also from previous street course races. We’ll come up with a solid plan to find some more time.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): “Awesome day today. I’m really excited about the DXC Technology Chevy, it’s really competitive. I feel very good in the race car and am having a lot of fun here in Long Beach. We’re tuning the car, and I think the Firestone Fast Six is doable for us tomorrow. We’ll keep working on the car tonight and be ready to go tomorrow for qualifying.”
ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “Overall, it was a pretty good day. We were P3 on the blacks (Firestone primary tires) in the second session and then we put the reds (Firestone alternate tires) on and I just didn’t put a clean run together. I think we ended up P14, but realistically, I think we’re pretty good. I’m happy with that. We need to make sure we have a clean day tomorrow and qualify towards that Firestone Fast Six.”
ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “I think generally the car is good. We’ll be going through our normal checklist for Practice 3 tomorrow. I think we had a 1:07.7 run going and I made a mistake in Turn 8. I think the pace is there, so now we just need to put it all together.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “Really, we’re just getting back to finding our baseline. Last year, we had very competitive cars. Again, this year rolled off with a really good setup, I think. It was a good starting point. We’ve made some changes to it trying to find what to do, what not to do, as you regularly would on a street course. The tricky part of a street course is you have to keep up with the racetrack, you have to be proactive with keeping up with it. As you go through the race weekend, it’s constantly changing conditions. So it was a good first day, definitely learned a lot. I know what to apply for tomorrow.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda): “The view from pit out is quite good. Being there should be a good advantage for the race. It was a tough day. We did try a couple of different directions. Graham (Rahal) and I split the workload, but it feels like we are a step behind at the moment and trying to catch up. We’re learning all the time how to do a proper back-to-back (race weekend). There is a lot of work to be done tonight.”
PATRICIO O’WARD (No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet): “This place is a blast. It’s quite hard to get those last three-tenths (of a second). Really, really hard to get everything right. You have to be precise because here you don’t have grass, you have a wall. It’s pretty tough to get around here with a perfect lap, but I’m enjoying so far. We’ve done some pretty good running. We’re struggling with the blacks (Firestone primary tires) for some reason, but look to be OK with reds (Firestone alternate tires). So, we’re going to be working on that for tomorrow. Looking forward to the event. All I hear is good things about this place.”
MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “We made a big jump performance-wise from the first practice session to the second practice session today. We were struggling a little bit during that first session to put it all together, but once we got out there this afternoon it all started working for the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet. We were able to match our red (Firestone alternate) tire run on both the first and second run with the same tires, which is a really good sign, so I think we’re in good shape for a top-six qualifying performance tomorrow.”
JACK HARVEY (No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda): “Fridays just aren’t our day. We had a fuel leak, so that kind of threw the session off a bit for us, but there’s obviously nothing we can really do about that. On the bright side, I’m glad that we caught it today and the guys fixed it pretty quickly. So far this season we have done a good job at recovering on Saturday. Right now, we just need to focus on having a good day tomorrow.”
COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda): “Alright day on track today. We struggled a bit in the second practice. The boys and I will put in the effort so we can have a great qualifying session. The No. 88 King Taco car is quick, so I know we can put it towards the top.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda): “We are in the game, but still need to make a small change or two to be where we need to be on the reds (Firestone alternate tires) and the car is close to where we want it for the black (Firestone primary) tires. We need to make changes in the right direction overnight to make up the three-tenths (of a second) that separate us from the fastest six currently, but I definitely think we have a shot at the Firestone Fast Six tomorrow.”
Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach fast facts
Race weekend: Friday, April 12 – Sunday, April 14
Track: 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course (clockwise) in Long Beach, California
Race distance: 85 laps / 167.28 miles
Entry List: Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (PDF)
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 primary set for Practice 1.
Twitter: @GPLongBeach @IndyCar, #AGPLB, #IndyCar
Event website: www.gplb.com
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2018 race winner: Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda)
2018 NTT P1 Award winner: Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda), 1:06.5528, 106.454 mph
Qualifying lap record: Helio Castroneves, 1:06.2254, 106.980 mph, April 8, 2017
NBCSN telecasts: Qualifying, Saturday, April 13 (2:45 p.m. ET, live); Race, Sunday, April 14 (4 p.m. ET, live). Leigh Diffey will be the play-by-play announcer for NBCSN’s telecast of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Kelli Stavast and Robin Miller are the pit reporters.
Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Anders Krohn. Jake Query and Nick Yeoman are the turn announcers with Dave Furst, Rob Howden and Ryan Myrehn reporting from the pits. The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama race airs live on network affiliates, Sirius 113, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All NTT IndyCar Series practices and qualifying are available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app, with qualifying also airing on Sirius 218 and XM 209.
NBC Sports Gold livestreaming: All NTT IndyCar Series practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer livestreaming product that will put more INDYCAR programming content at viewers’ fingertips than ever before. In addition, full-broadcast, same-day replays of NTT IndyCar Series races, live streams of Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires races, edited cutdowns of NTT IndyCar Series and Indy Lights races and more will be available.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Friday, April 12
10 – 10:45 a.m. – NTT IndyCar Series practice #1, NBC Sports Gold
2 – 2:45 p.m. – NTT IndyCar Series practice #2, NBC Sports Gold
Saturday, April 13
9 – 9:45 a.m. – NTT IndyCar Series practice #3, NBC Sports Gold
12:10 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifications), NBCSN (live, 11:45 a.m.)
Sunday, April 14
9 – 9:30 a.m. – NTT IndyCar Series warmup, NBC Sports Gold 1 p.m. – NBCSN on air
1:35 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines” command, Anthony Lynn, head coach, Los Angeles Chargers
1:42 p.m. – Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (85 laps/167.28 miles), NBCSN (live)
- The first three NTT IndyCar Series races of 2019 have been won by three different drivers – Josef Newgarden, Colton Herta and Takuma Sato – representing three different teams – Team Penske, Harding Steinbrenner Racing and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. The past 10 NTT IndyCar Series races have had eight different winners (James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi, Will Power, Sato, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Newgarden and Herta).
- The top seven in the NTT IndyCar point standings – Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi, Colton Herta, Sebastien Bourdais and James Hinchcliffe – are represented by seven different teams – Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Andretti Autosport, Harding Steinbrenner Racing, Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan and Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
- This weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the 36th Indy car event on the historic street circuit. Mario Andretti won the first Indy car race there in 1984. Alexander Rossi was the 2018 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), James Hinchcliffe (2017) and Alexander Rossi (2018).
- Competition reigns in qualifying for the NTT P1 Award, too, with 12 drivers earning a spot in a Firestone Fast Six qualifying round thus far in 2019: Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Felix Rosenqvist, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Colton Herta, Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal, James Hinchcliffe, Sebastien Bourdais and Spencer Pigot. Only Dixon has earned a Firestone Fast Six spot in each of the first three races.
- Team Penske has won seven of the last 10 poles at Long Beach: Helio Castroneves, who set the lap record in 2017, 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), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014) and Alexander Rossi (2018).
- Five drivers have won the race from the pole – Mario Andretti (1984, 1985 and 1987), Al Unser Jr. (1989-90), Helio Castroneves (2001), Sebastien Bourdais (2006-07) and Alexander Rossi (2018).
- Eighteen of the 23 drivers entered in the event have competed in Indy car races at Long Beach. Eleven entered drivers have led laps: Sebastien Bourdais 173, Will Power 168, Ryan Hunter-Reay 151, Scott Dixon 103, Alexander Rossi 71, Takuma Sato 66, Marco Andretti 64, Simon Pagenaud 54, Tony Kanaan 51, James Hinchcliffe 25 and Josef Newgarden 4.
- Tony Kanaan seeks to start his 303rd 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 362nd Indy car start, which ranks third on the all-time list.
- Scott Dixon has made 243 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the second-longest streak in Indy car racing. Marco Andretti has made 219 consecutive starts, which is the third-longest streak in Indy car racing.
- Scott Dixon, the longest-tenured driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, is third on the all-time Indy car victory list with 44 wins. Sebastien Bourdais is sixth on the all-time list with 37 wins and Will Power is tied with Bobby Unser for seventh on the all-time list with 35 wins.
- Two California natives are entered in the race. Defending race winner Alexander Rossi is a native of Nevada City, California, while leading rookie Colton Herta hails from Valencia, California.
- Five NTT IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year contenders – Marcus Ericsson, Santino Ferrucci, Colton Herta, Patricio O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist – are entered.
ACURA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, 2019 NTT IndyCar Series points leader): “Needless to say, things didn’t go as planned at Barber. But coming from a 16th starting spot to finish fourth, the No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet team and I felt like it was a win. We’re off to such a great start this season with nothing but top-five finishes so far, and we’re really hoping to continue that streak as we head into Long Beach. It’s just such a cool city and there’s so much history with this event. Street courses like Long Beach are really fun, but also really challenging due to the difference in track surface in comparison to a road course or oval. Plus, it’s awesome that our IMSA team competes there at the same weekend, so it’s cool to be able to root for those guys from the other side of the paddock.”
MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “I’m excited to go to Long Beach. Personally, the street courses are the circuits that attract me the most and are the places where I feel most comfortable driving the car, so I’m happy to get back there. What I like about them is that they are intimidating and you have no room for mistakes. You have to be a hundred percent right and you have to be a hundred percent focused on what you’re doing, you can’t have any distractions. Last year, we had a solid race at Long Beach and I think we might have a great setup. Tony (Kanaan, Leist’s teammate) qualified in the top 12, so we’ll see if we can keep up the pace from last year and improve a little bit.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “Long Beach is one of everyone’s favorite stops on the calendar. That place has been very good to us in the past, and we are hoping to keep our momentum from last week rolling and have a strong race. The fact that Acura has taken over title sponsorship is an added cool factor. We’d love to be the first to win the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.”
MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “I’m really excited to go to Long Beach. We’re going there with a very positive feeling after a strong race at Barber. We finally got a good result in the Arrow car after the bad luck in the first two rounds, so we’re bringing that momentum with us. Obviously now the main target for us is to try and qualify higher up; that’s the key for an even better result on Sunday. That’s where we’ll focus our preparation and go out and try to execute it again this weekend. I’m excited and really happy we’re already heading to another race. Bring it on.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, 2018 NTT IndyCar Series champion): “Long Beach has such an amazing history. It’s a truly iconic American event that started gaining a lot of popularity with Formula One back in the day. With the layout of the track, it’s truly one of the best street circuits anywhere around, and more importantly you actually get to race there. It took me forever to get to victory lane there in 2015, but we managed to accomplish that and I hope we can return to that form again this year in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I’m a big fan of street-course racing and I’d be lying if I told you that Long Beach wasn’t one of the races I was most looking forward to after stepping up to INDYCAR this year. I really enjoyed Toronto and St. Petersburg in Indy Lights, and then St. Petersburg in an Indy car this year in the first race of the year. I think our NTT DATA Honda is good on these types of circuits and I think the layout will be really fun to drive. I learned a lot the past two races in Austin and Birmingham, and we’re hoping we can apply those lessons to Long Beach this weekend.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The No. 12 Verizon Chevy team and myself have gone over our data from what was a frustrating day at Barber and have a great plan for us to get back on track at Long Beach. They’re preparing a really good car that I think will allow us to make a run for the podium. I’m a big fan of street courses in general, but that place is really special. It really is one of the legendary races on the schedule. We’ve had a lot of success there and we can’t wait to race this weekend.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “I’m looking forward to Long Beach, it’s a great event. We had a pretty decent car there last year, so hopefully we can turn the situation around. We’ve been running in the top 12 pretty strong but we have to qualify better, so working on qualifying is going to be my priority for Long Beach and from then on we can go race.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 TOTAL Honda): “I am really excited to get going here. I truly think the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach should be one of our most competitive races of the year and, coming off the team’s performance from Barber, I feel like our team should be right in the hunt with the TOTAL Honda. We will always need to fine-tune and find more speed, but I am confident that after last year we should be pretty strong in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. I love Long Beach. It’s a demanding and really tricky circuit. For a street circuit, it’s long, has great high-speed areas but huge brake zones that you have to get through which are awesome passing opportunities. I expect a really competitive and tough fight as always, but it does produce some of the best racing around!”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “Long Beach is historically a track where I’ve had a lot of success. The atmosphere is fantastic. It’s just a great event. The No. 18 SealMaster Honda team is coming off a couple of good races. We’ve earned a lot of valuable championship points and are now sixth in the championship race. We just have to keep working hard, keep digging and see how far we can go. I am incredibly honored to be inducted into the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Walk of Fame. Joining such an illustrious group of drivers, owners and teams is very special. The fact that I am still an active Indy car driver, and along with Will (Power), will be the first active Indy car drivers to be inducted, is an accomplishment I’m extremely proud of.”
SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 David Yurman Honda): “I’m pretty excited about heading to Long Beach. Then again, I’m always excited going to a street course. I’m curious to see what we’ll have when we get there. We did some simulator work and it was really, really good for us. It’s helped us at other tracks, so hopefully it will be the same for Long Beach and we can get back into the top 10. Doing sim work is helpful, but I can’t wait to drive the actual track. From what I’ve seen of the circuit, it kind of reminds me of Detroit in a way. It’s a little bumpy and I like the hairpin a lot going onto the front straight. I’m excited for that and for the fountain turn, because I’m told it’s legendary.”
ED JONES (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet): “It’s been a tough first three races for the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet, so it’s very exciting to be able to go back to a track where I’ve had some really good results the past few years. Long Beach should suit us well and I’m very hopeful to get some good momentum going into the month of May.”
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “Long Beach is one of the best weekends of the year. It’s great to see the enthusiasm of the fans that come out all weekend to see all the different series. We’ve studied where we can improve on street courses and are looking forward to showing that this weekend!”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): “This season is going to be a very interesting one! The No. 22 DXC Technology Chevrolet team has great potential that we haven’t fully unlocked yet. The race car is competitive and there is no better place for me than Long Beach. It’s my favorite track on the schedule and also a place where I’ve had a lot of success. We won there in 2016 – marking my first win for Team Penske, and I’m hungry for more. Let’s see what California brings us. It’s going to be a very exciting weekend with such a great crowd and amazing festivity. I can’t wait to go out there and give it 100 percent. I will also be watching my teammates in the Acura Team Penske DPi and I wish them good luck for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.”
ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “With the Barber weekend behind us, it means we’re moving on to one of my favorite races of the year, Long Beach. I was able to get my first career top-five here last year and only one spot off the podium. We’re definitely pushing to have an opportunity to better that result this year.”
ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda, 2018 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach winner): “Words don’t really capture my excitement of getting back to Long Beach. It’s a flagship event on the calendar, my first home race of the year and a place with a lot of special memories for the NAPA racing team. This weekend will be all about putting all the pieces together, which should hopefully get us onto the podium for the first time this year.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “I’m really looking forward to racing in Long Beach again. It’s always been one of my favorite tracks and the DHL car has showed some good pace and picked up good results. The entire team has been strong there the past couple years, so we’re optimistic that we’ll leave with a good result.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda): “As it is a very competitive field in INDYCAR, it’s difficult to judge it race by race. But certainly we are more comfortable with our generic street-course setup and will develop the speed at the weekend, so we should be reasonably competitive and that’s the start line. It’s very nice to have the first pit box (earned by getting the pole position at Barber Motorsports Park), so you don’t have to wait for gapping yourself for practice and qualifying, and it’s a good benefit in the race, too, needless to say. And it looks good. I think it’s a great start of the season. We are definitely moving forward because of continuous work together since 2018. Both cars had some issues for each event, unfortunately, but that’s part of racing and hopefully we will be more reliable for the rest of the season. The No. 30 car won two races in the last five starts if you count the 2018 season, which is very encouraging. Motivation is definitely very high.” … (On being third in points): “I like it! This is because of an absolute team effort. I went into the month of May as the point leader in 2013 and know we can’t rely on past results. We need to keep developing and getting more strong finishes. The racing is very competitive so it’s very easy to drop once you lose momentum, so we will work even harder.”
PATRICIO O’WARD (No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet): “I’m very excited to get to Long Beach this weekend. It’s a new track for me and all I hear are good things about that event. As a spectator in the past, I’ve always thought it was just a really cool venue to have Indy cars racing at, so I’m super excited to finally get my chance out there on track to hopefully get a good result. We’ve shown a lot of pace the last two races, but we just haven’t been able to put everything together at the same time. I’m ready to get a good result for myself and Carlin because I know that’s what we deserve.”
MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “I really enjoy coming to Long Beach and putting on a show downtown. It’s great to see how much the fans enjoy the race and that they keep coming back year after year. These back-to-back weekends are always a bit taxing on the teams and the drivers, but after just barely missing out on a good result in Barber last weekend through no fault of our own, I’m ready to get back in the car and get a good result for the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet.”
JACK HARVEY (No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda): “Last year was pretty solid at Long Beach and we had great race pace. I think we had a top-five going into the yellow last year. We need to focus on strategy going into the weekend and have a good Friday practice, replicate our usual Saturday – that would be quite good – and then have a slightly better Sunday. Better Sundays for us are having a result inside the top 10. There’s a lot to be encouraged about heading to Long Beach.”
COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda): “I’ve always enjoyed coming to the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race as a kid. And now it’s awesome that finally I get to have a true home race! The streets of Long Beach have always been a key venue for the NTT IndyCar Series because it draws such big crowds. I can’t be more excited to get going in my No. 88 King Taco Indy car with Harding Steinbrenner Racing and build up momentum again.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda): “We need to rebound after last weekend’s race at Barber. Long Beach has a great setting for a podium finish and I love the track. Long Beach is my second favorite race of the year (only behind the Indy 500), and I always have a lot of friends and family that come to support me and the U.S. Concrete team there. It would be great to put on a great show for them and bring home a good result and valuable championship points.”
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Hinchcliffe leads Barber practice in day of pushing limits — ‘What They’re Saying’ from Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama practice
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