Saturday at Long Beach

Today’s Schedule:

Saturday, April 9, 2022-All Times Pacific

7:30 AM Spectator Gates Open
8:45 AM – 9:45 AM INDYCAR Practice #2-Peacock
9:55 AM – 10:15 AM HMSA Qualifying
10:20 AM – 10:35 AM IMSA Series Pit Set Up
10:45 AM – 11:25 AM Porsche Carrera Cup Race #1
11:00 AM – 11:30 AM IMSA WeatherTech Championship Autograph Session (IMSA Paddock – free to all spectators)
12:05 PM – 1:20 PM INDYCAR Qualifying & FIRESTONE FAST 6Peacock
1:30 PM – 2:00 PM Commence IMSA Pre-Race
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM Start of IMSA Sportscar Grand Prix of Long Beach (100 min)
4:30 PM – 5:00 PM Stadium SUPER Trucks Race #1
5:15 PM – 5:35 PM Historic IMSA GTP Challenge Race #1
6:00 PM Acura and ELS Present Saturday Concert Starring Royal Machines w/special guests (Terrace Plaza in front of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center)
6:00 PM – 6:20 PM Super Drift Practice
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM Formula D Super Drift Challenge Competition #2

Three news items from Friday.

First, Indycar has assessed a six place grid penalty to Devlin DeFrancesco for avoidable contact during the EXPEL 375 at Texas. DeFrancesco was deemed to be at fault in all three caution periods.

Devlin DeFrancesco

I’m glad Indycar has taken this step. This action sets a good example of the conduct expected of drivers.

DeFrancesco was 25th in Friday’s practice. If he qualifies there, it won’t be much of a penalty. I have not known Indycar to carry over grid penalties to the following race.

Following yesterday’s practice, Jimmie Johnson did not appear at the autograph session. He posted the following video to Twitter.

Johnson apparently suffered the injury when he hit the tire barrier during practice. It sounds like Johnson will be reevaluated in the morning before practice. If he is not cleared to drive, Ganassi has a pretty good substitute who is in Long Beach for IMSA.-some guy named Bourdais.

NBC announced that Peacock will again have an untimed post-race show on Sunday immediately after the NBC broadcast ends. I could get used to this.

Track Record in Jeopardy?

Simon Pagenaud’s time was within one second of the track record, set by Helio Castroneves in 2017. Today’s cooler temperatures and using the red alternate tires could result in a new speed mark for the Long Beach track.

A sleeper pick for pole is Marcus Ericsson. Ericsson led much of the first half of practice yesterday.

Friday Report

Attendance was big at the first day of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. I’m sure empty grandstands were noticeable on Peacock. Most people spent the day inside the convention center to avoid the near 100 degree temperatures. Today the high should be around 72 degrees and for race we are looking at 68 degrees for a high.

The numerous displays in the convention center range from auto manufacturers to car accessories to home and health products. The center is a massive building. It was nice to have the option of being inside to avoid the extreme heat.

I stumbled upon a fan Q& A with the drivers from A. J. Foyt Racing.

From left: Dalton Kellett, Tatiana Calderon, Kyle Kirkwood

The line for the autograph session stretched around the corner. I wonder how big it would have been had fans known Jimmie Johnson would not be htere.

I had forgotten how much walking is required at this track. I am enjoying being back here, and I hope to get back one more time. If you live in the East, this is not a race you would want to do annually.

I will close with a few shots of on track action. the cars are entering turn 9.

Alexander Rossi leads Romain Grosjean and Dalton Kellett
Marcus Ericsson could be in contention for the pole today.
Pato O’Ward, Helio Castroneves

Back later with reports on morning practice and qualifying.