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.

https://twitter.com/JimmieJohnson/status/1512598067366678529?t=gCxjMo4bjwUSsBNVAL0oog&s=19

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.

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Fast Facts


 Race weekend: Friday, April 8 – Sunday, April 10
Track: 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course (clockwise) in Long Beach, California
Race distance: 85 laps / 167.28 miles
Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.
Firestone tire allotment: Six sets primary, four sets alternate. Rookie drivers are allowed one extra primary set for Practice 1.
Twitter: @GPLongBeach @INDYCAR, #AGPLB, #INDYCAR
Event website: www.gplb.com
INDYCAR website: www.INDYCAR.com
2021 race winner: Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda)
2021 NTT P1 Award: Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet), 1:08.2241, 103.846 mph
Qualifying lap record: Helio Castroneves, 1:06.2254, 106.980 mph, April 8, 2017
NBC Sports race telecast: 3 p.m. (ET) Sunday, April 10, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Marty Snider, Dave Burns and Kevin Lee are the pit reporters.
Peacock Premium Live Streaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product. NBC’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race telecast will be simulcast on the streaming service, while Peacock Premium’s exclusive post-race show – featuring driver interviews, podium ceremonies and post-race analysis – will be streamed following the race.
INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton and turn announcers Nick Yeoman, Jake Query and Michael Young. Ryan Myrehn and Joel Sebastianelli are the pit reporters. The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race and all NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying sessions air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 160, racecontrol.indycar.com and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Friday, April 8
3:15-4:15 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 1 (45-minute session), Peacock Premium (live)
Saturday, April 9
8:45-9:45 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 2 (45-minute session), Peacock Premium (live)
12:05 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock Premium (live)
Sunday, April 10
9-9:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock Premium (live)
Noon – Driver introductions
Noon – NBC on air
12:38 p.m. – Start engines command
12:45 p.m. – Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (85 laps/167.28 miles), NBC and Peacock Premium (live)
Race Notes:
This weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the 38th INDYCAR SERIES event on the historic Long Beach street circuit. Mario Andretti won the first INDYCAR SERIES race there in 1984. Colton Herta won the race in 2021.
There have been two winners in two races in 2022 – Scott McLaughlin (St. Petersburg) and Josef Newgarden (Texas). The last time Team Penske won the first three races of an INDYCAR SERIES season was in 2012 when Helio Castroneves (St. Petersburg) and Will Power (Barber, Long Beach and Sao Paulo) claimed wins in the first four races. Since 2012, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES has averaged just under nine different race winners per season, including a record-tying 11 winners in 2014. There were nine different winners in the 16 races of 2021, with equally tight competition projected for this season.
There have been seven different winners in the last 10 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races (Marcus Ericsson, Pato O’Ward, Alex PalouJosef Newgarden, Will Power, Colton Herta and Scott McLaughlin). The only repeat winners in that stretch are Newgarden (Mid-Ohio and WWT Raceway in 2021 and Texas in 2022), Palou (Road America and Portland in 2021) and Herta (Laguna Seca and Long Beach in 2021).
Three California natives are entered: 2021 Long Beach race winner Colton Herta hails from Valencia while Andretti Autosport teammate and 2018 and 2019 Long Beach race winner Alexander Rossi is a native of Nevada City. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Jimmie Johnson is from El Cajon.
Herta has won the last three INDYCAR SERIES races held in the Golden State (Laguna Seca 2019, Laguna Seca 2021 and Long Beach 2021).
Al Unser Jr. has won the most times at Long Beach (six). Will Power and Alexander Rossi are the only entered drivers with multiple wins. Power won in 2008 and 2012, and Rossi won in 2018 and 2019. Other former race winners scheduled to compete are Helio Castroneves (2001), Takuma Sato (2013), Scott Dixon (2015), Simon Pagenaud (2016) and Colton Herta (2021).
Five drivers have won the race from the pole – Mario Andretti (1984, 1985 and 1987), Al Unser Jr. (1989-90), Helio Castroneves (2001), Sebastien Bourdais (2006-07) and Alexander Rossi (2018-19).
Twenty-one of the 26 drivers entered have competed in INDYCAR SERIES races at Long Beach. Will Power has 15 starts, most among all entered drivers.
Ten entered drivers have led laps: Helio Castroneves 194, Power 170, Alexander Rossi 151, Scott Dixon 104, Takuma Sato 67, Simon Pagenaud 54, Colton Herta 43, Josef Newgarden 22, Graham Rahal 4 and Jack Harvey 1.
Six NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookies – Tatiana Calderon, Devlin DeFrancesco, Callum Ilott, Kyle Kirkwood, Christian Lundgaard and David Malukas – are expected to compete. All but Ilott will be making their first INDYCAR SERIES start on the Streets of Long Beach.
Milestones: Alexander Rossi will attempt to make his 100th NTT INDYCAR SERIES start … Scott Dixon will attempt to make his 291st consecutive start, the second-longest streak in INDYCAR SERIES history.

Race Day at Texas

Today’s Schedule: All times Eastern

10:00 AM Gates Open

12:00 PM Driver Introductions

12:45 PM Green Flag for the Expel 375 NBC coverage begins at 12:30 PM

Post race show on Peacock after NBC coverage ends

Race time temperature should be around 69 degrees and sunny, rising to the mid 70s by the end of the race.

The race should be very competitive. I think any one of the first seven starters could win. Pole sitter Felix Rosenqvist is confident of his chances. Josef Newgarden was very quick in the practice sessions. Many Texas races have come down to a late yellow and cars diving into the pits for new tires. The leader is a sitting duck in this situation.

From yesterday-

https://thepitwindow.blog/2022/03/19/rosenqvist-takes-pole-at-texas/

Nathan Brown of the Indianapolis Star posted a story last night in which he reported that the efforts to reduce the effect of the JP 1 compound have not changed much. We are likely to see a single file race again. That would be a shame. Some of Indycar’s best races have been at Texas Motor Speedway.

Will Power led the effort for a high downforce session to attempt to scrub off the JP1 compound

This is possibly the last Indycar race at TMS for a while. there has been no talk about renewing the relationship this weekend. Attendance yesterday extremely low. I am not anticipating a large turnout today.

Let’s hope for a safe, competitive race.

St. Pete Schedule

It’s Race Week! The schedule for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by RP Funding has a packed Friday with four races, and one Indycar practice session. Five different series share the track with Indycar this weekend. Saturday ends with Indycar qualifying at 12:30 PM.

The on track Saturday schedule is short because there is a performance at the Mahaffey Theater that evening. The conflict is a result of the race moving from its traditional march slot on the calendar.

Race time is 12:30 PM Eastern Sunday. I like that Indycar is moving their races to earlier time slots. The race is on NBC. Practices and qualifying are on Peacock

All times Eastern

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2022 Gates Open 7:30 AM-6:00 PM

7:45AM – 8:15AM Indy Pro 2000 Qualifying
8:30AM – 8:45AM SRO GT America Qualifying 1
8:50AM – 9:05AM SRO GT America Qualifying 2
9:20AM – 9:50AM USF2000 Qualifying 1
10:05AM – 10:50AM Indy Lights Practice
11:05AM – 11:25AM Mazda MX-5 Cup Qualifying
11:40AM – 12:25PM Indy Pro 2000 Race 1
12:40PM – 1:25PM USF2000 Race 1
1:54PM – 2:10PM Indy Lights Qualifying
2:25PM – 3:25PM SRO GT America Race 1
3:40PM – 4:25PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 1
4:40PM – 5:25PM Mazda MX-5 Cup Race 1
5:40PM – 6:10PM Indy Lights Final Practice

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2022 Gates Open 7:45 AM-1:30 PM

8:00AM – 8:45AM Indy Pro 2000 Race 2
9:00AM – 9:45AM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 2
10:00AM – 10:45AM Mazda MX-5 Cup Race 2
11:00AM – 12:00PM SRO GT America Race 2
12:30PM – 1:45PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying

2:00 PM-2:30 PM Indy Lights Autograph Session Fan Village

3:00 PM- 4:00 PM Indycar Autograph Session Fan Village

4:00 PM-6:00 PM Party in the Park North Straub Park

8:00 PM Fireworks

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2022 Gates Open 8:30 AM- 2:30 PM

8:45AM – 9:15AM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Warm Up
9:30AM – 10:30AM Indy Lights Race
10:45AM – 11:25AM USF2000 Race 2
11:50AM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Driver Introductions
12:30PM Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race (100 Laps)

NBC Sports, INDYCAR Announce 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Broadcast Start Times

This announcement is one I have been waiting for. Remember, these are television times, not race start times. The one disappointment I have is that it appears neither Iowa race will be a night race meaning World Wide Technology Raceway is the only race after dark on the schedule. I am happy that mid Ohio retained its early start time.

           For Immediate ReleaseINDIANAPOLIS (Monday, Jan. 10, 2022) – NBC Sports and INDYCAR have announced the broadcast start times for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule, which will feature a record 14 races on broadcast network NBC, headlined by the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 29 at iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with coverage on NBC beginning at 11 a.m. (ET).
The first six races of the season will air on NBC, including the season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding at noon (ET) Sunday, Feb. 27.
NBC Sports will also present the third consecutive year of the INDYCAR-NASCAR doubleheader July 30-31 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, with the INDYCAR race at noon (ET) Saturday, July 30 on NBC.
Highlights of NBC Sports’ 2022 INDYCAR schedule include:
The 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 29, on NBC, with coverage beginning at 11 a.m. (ET).The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach returns to NBC at 3 p.m. (ET) Sunday, April 10.The third consecutive year of the INDYCAR-NASCAR doubleheader at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course the weekend of July 30-31, with the INDYCAR race on Saturday, July 30 on NBC
.The much-anticipated second iteration of the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville, and first presentation of the race on network television, will air at 3 p.m. (ET) Sunday, Aug. 7 on NBC.The season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca will be presented at 3 p.m. (ET) Sunday, Sept. 11 on NBC.
Peacock will exclusively stream an NTT INDYCAR SERIES race for the first time in 2022 when the Honda Indy Toronto race will be held at 3 p.m. (ET) Sunday, July 17. Peacock will simulstream all races airing on NBC and all qualifying and practice sessions, as well as coverage surrounding the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, Indy Lights races, race day warmups and full-event replays of 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races also will be available on Peacock.
NBC Sports’ 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES coverage schedule:

NBC/Indycar Package-A Peek into the Future

The future is upon us. In the extension of the current broadcast package with NBC Indycar has kept the traditional television component and is dipping its toes into the future. I am ecstatic about the 13 races on NBC. It will save a lot of time and angst every race week. I can pretty much know where to find the race.

The two races on USA, one of which I assume will be the Texas night race, should be easy to remember, as should the two races on Peacock. Which races will be on USA and Peacock? Besides the Texas night race, I’m guessing another nioght oval joins the schedule. As for the other two, I have no idea right now.

Streaming two races is quite a gamble for both the series and the network. Mark Miles said yesterday showing races exclusively on Peacock is an attempt to draw in younger fans, who are more likely to watch on their phones. I applaud the strategy. I have no desire to watch a live race on my phone, but if others do, great. Regardless of the broadcast channel, give me a television set.

I do see streaming as the wave of the future. Broadcasting and viewing is changing rapidly. The races on peacock are just the beginning. Eventually, our viewing habits will change. As long as I can watch on a large screen, I don’t care how the race is delivered.

Miles also said something about being able to follow the race on your phone while you are at the track. If I am at the track, I’m not going to be looking at my phone. I might take a look during a caution to get some details of what caused the yellow, but otherwise, I will just watch the live action and the video boards.

Next year will be interesting as afr the race broadcasts go. I hope NBC keeps improving the race graphics. I really like the pit stop clock and the tire choice images they have begun showing. I like all the information given in Formula 1 races and I would love it if Indycar races got to that point.

Notes

Josef Newgarden led testing at laguna Seca yesterday. The test included Team pernske, Andretti Autosport, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Each of the remaining six races should have at least 25 cars on the grid. Helio Castroneves will participate in every race except Gateway. Romain Grosjean is expected to race at gateway, but i’m not sure if he will be in the 51 or a third car.

Miles hinted that some of Indiainpolis 500 qualifying will be on NBC as it was last year. All qualifying qwill be on Peacock in 2022.

Road America Day 2-Qualifying, Weather or Not

Today’s Schedule All time are Central Daylight Time

Qualifying will be shown on NBCSN at midnight. Personally, not my idea of how to build a lead in for the race, but Peacock we must.

The weather looks a bit wet.There is a high probability of a thunderstorm in about an hour (8am local) . Another chance of rain is between 11 am and 1 pm Practice could be wet and qualifying might be damp.Right now it is mostly sunny. High temperature will be around 74.

I hope to have brief post session reports all day and a wrap up later tonight.

Pole Fight and Last Chance Battle Involve Former Winners

Today’s Schedule; All Times eastern

Gates Open 9:00am 7:00pm

Last Chance Practice 11:00am 11:30am

Firestone Fast Nine Practice 11:30am 12:00pm

Last Chance Qualifying 1:15pm 2:30pm


1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET

Firestone Fast Nine 3:00pm 3:45pm


2:30 PM – 4:30 PM ET

NTT IndyCar Series Practice 5:00pm 7:00pm


4:30 PM – 7:00 PM ET

Grandstands open:

Paddock, Paddock Penthouse, A Penthouse, B Penthouse , E, E Penthouse, Tower Terrace, Northwest Vista and Deck, Southeast Vista and deck.

Note: only limited sections open in all stands.

Parking:

North 40 is free. All other lots are paid. $10

Four former winners have a shot at the pole this afternoon in the Fast Nine shootout. That is a routine occurrence. Onf ormer winner will fight to make the field. That doesn’t happen often.

Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, and Ryan Hunter-Reay earned a chance to run for the pole this afternoon. Dixon had the fastest time yesterday, Kanaan was third, Castroneves sixth, and Hunter-Reay eighth.

I think the pole battle is between Dixon, Kanaan, and Colton Herta. Dixon is favored, but don’t dismiss Herta’s chances.

On the other end of the field, five drivers, including 2018 winner Will Power, need to qualify for the final three spots in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. Power had the 31st fastest time yesterday, but the if three of the other four can outrun him, the 2014 series champion will sit out next Sunday. Power, one of the greatest qualifiers in Indycar history, will get one of the spots, but it may be tight. The cars are competing just against each other today, and not against the rest of the field.

Also looking for a spot on next Sunday’s grid are Simona DeSilvestro, Sage Karam, Charlie Kimball, and R C Enerson.

Stay tuned. this will be a fascinating day at both ends of the field.

Some photos from yesterday:

Can Helio Castroneves win another pole?
Always nice to see Robert Wickens at the track
Simona DeSilvestro after her first qualifying run.