40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach by the numbers
- 0 –> laps led by Sebastian Saavedra in 39 previous Verizon IndyCar Series starts before leading three in the 2014 Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach
- 2 –> number of races it took Juan Montoya to regain his “mojo.”
- 2 –> pit stops by race winner Mike Conway
- 3 –> rookies in the top 10
- 3 –> laps led by race winner Mike Conway
- 3 –> circuits turned by Graham Rahal on primary Firestone Firehawk racing tires (black), the fewest of any driver
- 4 –> cars issued drive-through penalties for various infractions
- 4 –> Colombian drivers in the top 10
- 5 –> positions gained by Graham Rahal on the first green flag lap
- 6 –> pits stops by Helio Castroneves, the most in the field
- 7 –> lead changes
- 8 –> DNF’s due to contact in the two 2014 races
- 17 –> spots gained by rookie Mikhail Aleshin in his two Verizon IndyCar Series starts
- 18 –> laps run under caution
- 23 –> wins by Team Chevy powered cars since engine competition returned to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2012
- 31 –> circuits turned by Carlos Munoz on black Firestone Firehawks, the most of any driver
- 69.0691–> seconds it took for Helio Castroneves to complete lap 75, the quickest of the race
Where they stand
I’ve seen numerous tweets and message board postings saying that the reason why Will Power was not penalized at Long Beach is because Verizon is now the title sponsor of IndyCar. Normally I try and ignore conspiracy theories, but I felt this one needed addressing, at least from a business perspective. Favoring a Verizon backed car makes ZERO business sense for IndyCar and/or Verizon. Here’s why:
- Wantonly favoring Verizon is a sure fire way to upset your other sponsors and teams. Without other sponsors and teams, you have no IndyCar.
- Verizon chose to sponsor IndyCar because they see IndyCar as a way to grow their brand and reach out to potential new customers. They are interested in seeing the fan base of IndyCar grow so that they have more potential prospects to whom they can sell their services. How many customers do you think will be left if one car/team wins every race, not to mention if the car you sponsor is accused of malfeasance?
It’s as simple as that. Most decisions in sports/entertainment come down to business, and it makes no business sense to help one car win.
Testing… 1,2,3… testing…
The next three weeks are busy ones on the Verizon IndyCar Series testing calendar.
First up are two tests at the Texas Motorspeeday on April 16th and April 17th. Scheduled to take part in the test on the 16th are: Takuma Sato, Marco Andretti, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Justin Wilson, Ed Carpenter, Sebastian Saavedra, Sebastien Bourdais, Graham Rahal, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves, Juan Montoya, and Will Power. Also at Texas on the 16th will be rookie oval tests for: Carlos Munoz, Mikhail Aleshin and Jack Hawksworth. The following day Ed Carpenter and Marco Andretti will take part in a Firestone Racing tire test on the 1.5 mile, Fort Worth oval.
The test on April 16th will be open to the public from 9am-6pm. It is free of charge and fans should enter through gate 4.
Two separate refresher/ROP test days for the Indianapolis 500 are scheduled at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Kurt Busch and Jacques Villeneuve are scheduled to participate on April 29th, and rookies Jack Hawksworth and Mikhail Aleshin are scheduled to participate on May 5th.
A Verizon IndyCar Series open test on the IMS road course will take place on April 30th, between the two tests on the IMS oval.
The hat returns
Who can forget the hat that Townsend Bell was sporting during last year’s “Month of May?”
Well don’t you worry, Bell and a hat will be returning to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an attempt to qualify for the 98th Indianapolis 500. KV Racing Technology made an announcement over the weekend that Bell has been confirmed to the No. 6 Robert Graham – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet. Bell, attempting to qualify for his 8th 500, previously drove for KVRT in 2009 when he scored his best “Greatest Spectacle In Racing” finish of 4th place.
“I want to thank Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and Robert Graham for the chance to compete with KV Racing Technology at this year’s Indianapolis 500,” said Bell. “In 2001, Jimmy was my teammate in my first Champ Car event and in 2009 I had my best finish at Indy racing with KVRT, so coming back to the defending Indy 500 champions, is special. I will be working with one of my favorite engineers, Gerald Tyler, so that is also a big plus. Finally, I want to express my gratitude to Robert Graham for their support. Without them this would not be possible. I wear Robert Graham clothing, as most of your know from last year’s fedora and I am proud to represent the company.”
Support will come from Robert Graham, a designer clothing company. “We are very pleased to associate Robert Graham with Townsend Bell for the 2014 Indianapolis 500,” said Michael Buckley, Chief Executive Officer of Robert Graham. “Partnering with Townsend Bell is a strategic brand fit, providing a fun and exciting platform to reach millions of IndyCar fans and gain positive brand exposure. Townsend is an extremely talented driver, knowledgeable commentator and athlete who fully personifies the Robert Graham lifestyle. The Robert Graham team and our fans around the world are cheering for him.”
“Month of May” changes
Indianapolis Motor Speedway today released two more changes to the Indianapolis 500 schedule.
The first is the addition of an extra practice day on Monday, May 19th. The practice time, scheduled from noon-5pm, will allow teams extra time to work on race-day set-up after qualifying on Sunday. “On Sunday teams will be completely focused on qualifying, so we added another practice session to give them a sufficient amount of time to test their race setups,” said Derrick Walker, INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations. “Previously a majority of teams have utilized most of Sunday for full-tank running, so it was important for us to continue to give them that opportunity after qualifications are complete.” The practice session will be open to the public.
The second change is a tweak to this year’s new qualification procedures. After determining the quickest 33 on Saturday, Sunday will be broken into three distinct phases:
- starting positions 10-30 (Group 1) will be determined between 10:15am-12:15pm, and will consist of single four lap qualifying attemps
- starting positions 31-33 (Group 2 – see below) will be determined between 12:45-1:30pm
- starting positions 1-9 (Fast Nine and Verizon P1 Award) will be determined between 2:00-2:45pm)
Group 2 will include the 31st, 32nd and 33rd fastest cars from the Saturday qualifying session. Also included will any team that ran into problems during Saturday qualifying that didn’t permit them from making an attempt. As well, any new entries submitted to INDYCAR prior to 7pm on Saturday will be afforded the opportunity to qualify. In the later two cases, the entry will be restricted to the eleventh row of the field.
“As our qualifying format evolves we continue to evaluate what is best for the competitors,” Walker explained. “We realized the need to provide teams that suffer an unexpected hardship on Saturday a second chance to make the Indianapolis 500. The changes apply primarily for cars that crash or suffer a mechanical failure during their Saturday qualifying run. Ultimately, we will capture the fastest 33 cars and that’s who will make the race.”
Who was quick
What we learn from this week’s who was quick, is that turning in one quick lap doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a good finish. The 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was a race where strategy and a little luck, instead of pure outright speed, netted you a good finish.
Some interesting notes:
- Sebastien Bourdais and the No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet had the best exit off of the hairpin
- the No. 7 SMP Racing Honda with rookie pilot Mikhail Aleshin was the fastest through the fountain section
- Justin Wilson and the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda carried the most speed down the front stretch
- the KVAFS engineer’s had the 90 degree corners figured out as Sebastian Saavedra was really quick through Turn 1 and Turn 8
Quickest overall lap times were as follows:
|1||Helio Castroneves||No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet||01:09.0691||102.576||75|
|2||Takuma Sato||No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda||01:09.0815||102.557||13|
|3||James Hinchcliffe||No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda||01:09.1386||102.472||13|
|4||Sebastien Bourdais||No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet||01:09.1568||102.445||76|
|5||Mikhail Aleshin||No. 7 SMP Racing Honda||01:09.1715||102.424||6|
|6||Tony Kanaan||No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||01:09.3686 102.133||102.133||11|
|7||Will Power||No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet||01:09.4065||102.077||24|
|8||Carlos Huertas||No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda||01:09.4752||101.976||77|
|9||Ryan Hunter-Reay||No. 28 DHL Honda||01:09.4980 101.943||101.943||13|
|10||Mike Conway||No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet||01:09.5001||101.939||79|
|11||Simon Pagenaud||No. 77 Charter Communications/SPHM Honda||01:09.5206||101.909||15|
|12||Graham Rahal||No. 15 National Guard Honda||01:09.5536||101.861||10|
|13||Justin Wilson||No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda||01:09.6236||101.759||39|
|14||Sebastian Saavedra||No. 17 AFS KVAFS Racing Chevrolet||01:09.7123||101.629||14|
|15||Juan Montoya||No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet||01:09.7385||101.591||78|
|16||Jack Hawksworth||No. 98 Charter / Castrol Edge Honda||01:09.7388||101.591||73|
|17||Josef Newgarden||No.67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Honda||01:09.7481||101.577||7|
|18||Scott Dixon||No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||01:09.7650||101.552||49|
|19||Carlos Munoz||No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda||01:09.8204||101.472||78|
|20||Charlie Kimball||No. 83 Novo Nordisk Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||01:09.8769||101.390||38|
|21||Ryan Briscoe||No. 8 TNT Energy Drink Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||01:09.9858||101.232||58|
|22||Oriol Servia||No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda||01:10.0822||101.093||53|
|23||Marco Andretti||No. 25 Snapple Honda||01:10.1796||100.952||76|
Wrapping it up (what I’m reading):
Some are newsy, some are opiniony, and some are little of both:
- Motorsports Talk - The 2014 Long Beach weekend was just what the doctor ordered
- Racer.com - IndyCar: Wilson says Dixon tangle cost possible win
- Scoring Indy – Scoring The Chaos – Long Beach 2014
- anotherindycarblog – Unfiltered Race Notes
- Oil Pressure Blog – Random Thoughts on Long Beach
- More Front Wing – FIRST IMPRESSIONS: 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
#IndyCar tweet of the day
From the I’ll believe it when I see it category:
— Graham Rahal (@GrahamRahal) April 14, 2014
IndyCar video(s) of the day
40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach highlights:
Who said a little bit of hate is a bad thing: