IndyCar tackles the streets of Long Beach
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The IZOD IndyCar Series will run its third consecutive road/street course race of the season this weekend in Long Beach, CA.
Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves kicked off the season last month with the win at St. Petersburg, FL. Last week, Castroneves' teammate, Will Power, rebounded from a poor starting position to take the victory at Barber Motorsports Park. The series will race on the streets of Sao Paulo Brazil on April 29.
With podium finishes in each of the first two races, Castroneves holds a two- point lead over Scott Dixon from Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Dixon is the only other driver to finish on the podium at St. Petersburg and Barber.
Castroneves started on the pole and won at Long Beach in 2001 when the race was sanctioned by CART/Champ Car.
Dixon has yet to win at Long Beach, but after leading the most laps in each of the first two races this season with the new Indy car, this could be the time that Dixon drives into victory lane at the Southern California street course.
"It's been sort of one that slipped by us many times," Dixon said. "It's a fun place to race. It has a different degree of difficulties. You have long straights, good braking areas, some fast corners, so it's a good mix. I think we'll put on a great show.
"The kind of car we're racing now, with the racing being so good at Barber, I expect it to be very good at Long Beach."
With his win at Barber, Power moved to up to third in the point standings. He is nine points in back of Castroneves.
Power has started on the pole in each of the first three races at Long Beach that have been sanctioned by IndyCar (2009-11). He won at Long Beach in April 2008, in what was the final race for Champ Car. IndyCar and Champ Car unified prior to the start of the '08 season.
"We really have been quick everywhere this year," Power said. "I think you put [Barber] out of your mind pretty quick and start focusing on [Long Beach]. I guess it gives the guys confidence that we can win if we don't qualify on pole, and we can win from quite far back."
IndyCar's new pit rules go into effect at Long Beach. Pit road will be open from the outset of non-emergency full-course cautions on road/street courses, potentially cutting the number of laps under the yellow flag. The rule will be employed for the remainder of the season.
The sanctioning body has made another rule change, beginning with this race. The lapped traffic will move to the rear of the field during any restarts in the final 20 laps of a road/street course event.
"The pits have historically been closed during full-course yellows to make sure that not only the field is under control but in order before opening the pits," IndyCar competition and race director Beaux Barfield said. "As such, it leads to this rush when all 26 cars come in at the same time. It can be exciting, but it definitely is a contributing factor to some of the pit lane issues that we've had in the recent past."
Twenty-six teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Series: IZOD IndyCar. Date: Sunday, April 15. Race: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Site: Streets of Long Beach, CA. Track: 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit. Start time: 3:30 p.m. (ET). Laps: 85. Miles: 167.28. 2011 Winner: Mike Conway. Television: NBC Sports Network. Radio: IMS Radio Network/SIRIUS XM Satellite.
04/13 11:57:01 ET