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