LONG BEACH, California — The streets of Long Beach are screaming again with the glorious sounds of speeding Indy cars! The Verizon IndyCar Series took to the track this morning for the first practice of the annual race weekend in southern California.
The backdrop of the ocean and marina are almost as beautiful as that sound. The weather isn’t too shabby either, with a temp around 64 at practice time, and a predicted high of 69 today.
It’s certainly all coming together to benefit Scott Dixon (No. 9 Honda, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams). He ran quickest with a lap time of 1:07.6357. The first 16 cars were separated by less than a second.
Can I just take a second to say that these numbers just go to show what many of us have been saying about this particular class of IndyCar drivers – it’s the most solid field we’ve seen in years. The talent is undeniable and the raciness on track is awe-inspiring. Even during practices!
Alright, getting back on track…
Dixon has started the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 10 times, and has one win under his belt from 2015. He podiumed in 2016 with a P2 and is looking to make a go for the pole position that has evaded him thus far.
Wanting something doesn’t mean you’re going to get it though. And there are a few other drivers that are the Sebastien Bourdais is a force to be reckoned with… and if you pay attention to my Twitter, you already know that that force, is actually The Force. The Dale Coyne Racing driver ran the third quickest lap this morning.
Yes, Honda is here to stay. They are here to compete and they are here to even things out this season. But, you still can not underestimate the Chevy-powered engines, even though they are outnumbered in 2017. One of their teams is the always-ready-to-battle Team Penske. Current team drivers have won 6 poles and 4 wins. It’s also worth noting that the only Chevys in the Top 10 of morning practice were Team Penske cars – the No. 3 of Helio Castroneves (P2), the No. 12 of Will Power (P5), and the No. 1 of current series champion, Simon Pagenaud.
While Castroneves and Power are the only two to have earned those poles, all three of those drivers have at least one win in Long Beach to their name.
I’m not a betting woman, but if I was, I think I’d have my money on a Penske for the pole this weekend.
Verizon IndyCar Series track times for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach:
Friday, April 7th:
Practice #1: 10:00 – 10:45 a.m. PT / 1:00 – 1:45 p.m. ET
Practice #2: 2:00 – 2:45 p.m. PT / 5:00 – 5:45 p.m. ET
Saturday, April 8th:
Practice #3: 10.45 – 11:30 a.m. PT / 1:45 – 2:30 p.m. ET
Qualifying: 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. PT / 6:30 – 7:45 p.m. ET
Sunday, April 9th:
Warm Up: 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. PT / 12:00 noon – 12:30 p.m. ET
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Practice #2, Qualifying and the Race will all broadcast on NBCSN.
The remaining track sessions will be livestreamed.
All links to livestream and IndyCar radio coverage is available here.