Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Live Thread

The IndyCars Take to the Streets of Long Beach [Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Live Thread}

4/21/13 in IndyCar   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Blog Photo - Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Live ThreadAt the end of Saturday's practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, a whopping 18 cars were within a mere half second, and 24 cars out of the 27 car field were within a second. That shows how tight, deep, and talented the IndyCar field currently is. At the top of list in qualifying was Dario Franchitti, who won his second consecutive pole at Long Beach. Dario is desperate to rebound from an awful first two races of the season. Two DNF'ers have put Dario dead last in points, even behind AJ Allmendinger, who wasn't at St. Pete. The start has put a big damper on Dario's hope for a fifth title, and he needs a win to start the comeback trail post haste.

Alongside Franchitti on the front row is our defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, who hopes his first turn sitting outside of Dario goes better than Josef Newgarden's last year. Starting third will be Will Power, the defending race winner. Filling out the Firestone Fast Six are Takuma Sato, who remains fast but still looking to put it together, Mike Conway, running a one-off race for Rahal Letterman, and Helio Castroneves, the current points leader.  Conway is the most interesting story of those. His full-time IndyCar career ended last year after he decided he was no longer comfortable on ovals. That's well within his right to feel, and no one blames him for it. For now, Conway's only drive this year is this one, but he's a horse for the course, having won here in 2011, and he's been quick all weekend.

Also looking to rebound this weekend is Honda. Long Beach last year was the site of Honda's biggest embarrassment in 2012. Despite every Chevy team taking a 10 grid penalty, Honda still wasn't able to take the checkered flag. The 2013 season hasn't started great for the long-time dominant engine either. Chevy won both the first two races, and hold seven of the top 10 spots in the points. Scott Dixon is the only Honda even in the top five, and he will start 27th and last after causing a red flag in qualifying. Today's starting lineup is pretty balanced between the two engine marques, so it should be a competitive race on that end. We know it'll be a competitive race from a drivers' standpoint.

My pick for the race is Franchitti. A champion like that can not be counted out, and this week is looking like the start of his rebound in 2013. My dark horse, so as it is in IndyCar these days, is Conway. He's done it before at Long Beach, and he's got the car and the skills to do it again.

The broadcast starts at 4:00 pm on NBC Sports Network, with the green flag around 4:40. Timing and scoring can be found here, and More Front Wing's Event Summary can be found here.

Q it up here throughout the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
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4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

Points Standings:

1. Helio Castroneves 99
2. Takuma Sato -6
3. Scott Dixon -10
4. Marco Andretti -12
5. Justin Wilson -18
6. Ryan Hunter-Reay -26
7. Graham  Rahal -33
8. Will Power -37
9. Simona de Silvestro -37
10. James Hinchcliffe -38

TK is 12th. Dario moves up to 20th, 55 points back.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Hold on, IndyCar has reviewed the penalty on Servia and rescinded it. Put Servia back to 6th in the results below, and move everyone else back.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Two more "this race was ridiculous" tidbits:

-This was the first top 5 of the season for the entire top 5
-This is the first race where Penske, Ganassi, and Andretti did not finish on the podium since unification.

With that, the Unofficial Results for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach:

1. Takuma Sato (a fantastic win all around, it's too bad AJ couldn't be there, he has surgery to repair his sciatic nerve on Wednesday)
2. Graham Rahal (he needed this)
3. Justin Wilson (had a problem preventing him from going out for qualifying and still ends up 3rd)
4. Dario Franchitti
5. JR Hildebrand (he also needed a result)
6. Marco Andretti
7. Simon Pagenaud
8. Simona de Silvestro
9. Helio Castroneves
10. Scott Dixon
11. James Jakes
12. Josef Newgarden
13. Ana Beatriz
14. Sebastien Bourdais
15. Will Power (luck has not been on his side so far)
16. Tristan Vautier
17. Ed Carpenter
18. Oriol Servia (that penalty cost him 12 spots)
19. Alex Tagliani -1 lap
20. Tony Kanaan DNF (Contact)
21. Charlie Kimball -2 laps
22. EJ Viso -27 laps
23. AJ Allmendinger DNF (Mechanical)
24. Ryan Hunter-Reay DNF (Contact) (Not a great day, but credit to the champ for admitting he messed up trying to make something happen)
25. Mike Conway DNF (Electrical)
26. James Hinchcliffe DNF (Contact)
27. Sebastian Saavedra DNF (Contact)

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Oriol Servia has been penalized 30 seconds for contact with TK in turn 1.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Takuma Sato wins the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach! AJ Foyt Racing is heading back to Victory Lane!

Here's how long it's been for both driver and team:

-Sato hasn't won since the 2001 Macau Grand Prix in Formula Three
-AJ Foyt Racing hasn't won since 2002, Airton Dare at Kansas
-Foyt Racing hasn't won a road and street course since 1978 at Silverstone

Full results to come.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

TK got into the tires with 2 laps to go.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

At this point, Sato should have this, but well, it is Sato...

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

These commercials are pissing me off.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

TK might have an advantage in the final laps on blacks, but he's also still 5th and almost 10 seconds back of Sato. Not sure it's going to be worth more than maybe one position.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

After that chaos, the top 10: Sato, Rahal, Dario, Wilson, TK (top guy on blacks), Servia, Pagenaud, Simona, JR, Marco. Bourdais is 11th, Helio 13th, Dixon 14th, Vautier 16th, Power 19th.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Vautier and Power have an issue in the pits. Right rear damage for Power. He's pitting again.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Caution out as Hunter-Reay tries to pass Beatriz into a corner, goes in too hot, and hits the tire barrier. Leaders pitting now.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Vautier up to 3rd. Pagenaud by TK for 5th. Power barely holding off Servia.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Somehow Graham is up to 2nd and Vautier has gone from starting last to 4th. Wilson started near the back too, and just passed Power for 7th. Guys are moving up here. Still half a race to go.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

That restart was horrid. First they're not close to lined up. Then Conway is slow for some reason. Then TK gets too aggressive and pinches Hinch, who ends up in the tires and collects Viso, who has damage. DERP all around.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Top 10 now: Sato, Power, Dario (despite a poor pit stop), Conway, Rahal, Hinch, Pagenaud, Viso, TK, RHR. Simona is 15th, which is better than she's been all day, so the yellow did help a bit.

Dixon finally got his lap back, although he's still mired in 24th.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Yellow as Kimball and Tagliani get together and into the tires. Simona hadn't pitted yet, and getting to duck in during this yellow might have given her some big track position.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Sato on blacks gets by RHR on failing reds for 2nd. There had be a Hunter-Reay train developing these last few laps, all while Dario gets away.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Mention of fuel saving. DRINK!

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Hunter-Reay took the lead on the restart, but Dario took in back in turn 1! Somehow they got through clean.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dragon Racing contrast: Bourdais makes a great pass, Saavedra makes a mistake and wrecks.

Vautier was given a drive-through.

4/21/13   |   Debi_L   |   11845 respect

Ouch. Saavedra hits hard!  That will be an advantage though, for Dixon to complete his repairs.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Almost a full clean start, until Dixon was whacked by Vautier and had a cut tire.

4/21/13   |   Debi_L   |   11845 respect

Oh wow (sarcasm) they got together on lap one on the first major corner.  

Never saw that one coming (said no one ever)

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Also, yeah that anthem was terrible. I'm not sure what she was worse at: singing or enunciating.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Debi_L wrote:
Okay, So I was following the Indy Lights on twitter (thank you Jenna Fryer).  Did half the field really wreck out??

Yes. It was pretty bad. Three car wreck on the front stretch at the start, even before turn 1. Then two other cars wrecked later. Yes, there were only 10 starters. Some of them have talent (I think), but that's still really bad. Lights is in real trouble right now.

4/21/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

One change in the starting order. Tristan Vautier was penalized 10 spots for an engine change, the first engine change penalty of the year. It drops him to 27th and last.

4/21/13   |   Debi_L   |   11845 respect

BTW MUTE button for the anthem 

4/21/13   |   Debi_L   |   11845 respect

Okay, So I was following the Indy Lights on twitter (thank you Jenna Fryer).  Did half the field really wreck out??