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2014 Standings
After Long Beach
Pos. Driver Points

1 Will Power 93
2 Mike Conway 66
3 Simon Pagenaud 60
4 Helio Castroneves 55
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay 54
6 Scott Dixon 51
7 Carlos Munoz 48
8 Juan Pablo Montoya 47
9 Mikhail Aleshin 46
10 Sebastian Saavedra 42
11 Tony Kanaan 40
12 Justin Wilson 38
13 Takuma Sato 36
14 Josef Newgarden 34
15 Ryan Briscoe 33
16 Sebastien Bourdais 33
17 Graham Rahal 33
18 Marco Andretti 32
19 Carlos Huertas 32
20 Oriol Servia 26
21 Jack Hawksworth 24
22 James Hinchcliffe 20
23 Charlie Kimball 17

Wins
T1 Will Power 1
T1 Mike Conway 1

Podium Finishes
1 Will Power 2
T2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1
T2 Helio Castroneves 1
T2 Mike Conway 1
T2 Carlos Munoz 1

Lap Leaders:
1 Will Power 74
2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 51
3 Takuma Sato 33
4 Scott Dixon 22
5 Mike Conway 4
6 Sebastian Saavedra 3
7 Helio Castroneves 2
8 Josef Newgarden 1


Prize Money
1 Will Power $50,000
T2 Mike Conway $30,000
T2 Ryan Hunter-Reay $30,000
4 Simon Pagenaud $18,000
5 Takuma Sato $17,000
T6 Helio Castroneves $15,000
T6 Carlos Munoz $15,000
T8 Juan Pablo Montoya $10,000
T8 Scott Dixon $10,000
T10 Mikhail Aleshin $8,000
T10 Tony Kanaan $8,000
12 Oriol Servia $7,000
T13 Justin Wilson $5,000
T13 Marco Andretti $5,000
T15 Sebastian Saavedra $4,000
T15 Josef Newgarden $4,000
T17 Ryan Briscoe $2,000
T17 Carlos Huertas $2,000

Entrant Points
Pos. # Entrant Points
1 12 Team Penske 93
2 20 Ed Carpenter Racing 66
3 77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 60
4 3 Team Penske 55
5 28 Andretti Autosport 54
6 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 51
7 34 Andretti Autosport HVM Racing 48
8 2 Team Penske 47
9 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 46
10 17 KV AFS Racing 42
11 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 40
12 19 Dale Coyne Racing 38
13 14 A.J. Foyt Enterprises 36
14 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 34
15 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing 33
16 11 KVSH Racing 33
17 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 33
18 25 Andretti Autosport 32
19 18 Dale Coyne Racing 32
20 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 26
21 98 BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian 24
22 27 Andretti Autosport 20
23 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing 17

Finishing Average
1 Will Power 1.5
2 Simon Pagenaud 5
T3 Helio Castroneves 7
T3 Oriol Servia 7
5 Scott Dixon 8
6 Mike Conway 8.5
7 Mikhail Aleshin 9
8 Juan Pablo Montoya 9.5
T9 Sebastian Saavedra 10
T9 Carlos Munoz 10
11 Ryan Hunter-Reay 11
T12 Tony Kanaan 12
T12 Justin Wilson 12
T14 Ryan Briscoe 13.5
T14 Sebastien Bourdais 13.5
T14 Graham Rahal 13.5
T17 Josef Newgarden 14
T17 Carlos Huertas 14
19 Takuma Sato 14.5
20 Marco Andretti 15
21 Jack Hawksworth 18
22 James Hinchcliffe 20
23 Charlie Kimball 21.5

Pole Positions
T1 Takuma Sato 1
T1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1

Appearances in the Firestone Fast Six
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 2
T2 Scott Dixon 1
T2 Tony Kanaan 1
T2 Sebastien Bourdais 1
T2 Will Power 1
T2 Takuma Sato 1
T2 Marco Andretti 1
T2 James Hinchcliffe 1
T2 Josef Newgarden 1
T2 Simon Pagenaud 1
T2 Jack Hawksworth 1

Qualifying Average
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 2
2 Scott Dixon 6
3 Jack Hawksworth 6.5
4 Marco Andretti 7
5 Tony Kanaan 7.5
T6 Takuma Sato 8
T6 Sebastien Bourdais 8
T8 Will Power 9
T8 Carlos Munoz 9
10 Helio Castroneves 9.5
11 Simon Pagenaud 10
12 James Hinchcliffe 10.5
13 Oriol Servia 12
T14 Josef Newgarden 13
T14 Justin Wilson 13
16 Ryan Briscoe 13.5
17 Mike Conway 14.5
18 Sebastian Saavedra 16.5
19 Juan Pablo Montoya 17
20 Mikhail Aleshin 17.5
21 Carlos Huertas 19
22 Charlie Kimball 19.5
23 Graham Rahal 22
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Preview

by Brian Carroccio
Tuesday, April 16, 2013

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Ryan Hunter-Reay at Long Beach in 2012
Bob Heathcote/AR1.com
Although quite long, the list is not terribly impressive.  It includes events previously run on airport circuits, casino and football stadium parking lots, numerous layouts winding through downtown business districts, countless stories of failed promotional efforts, and quite a few checks that didn't clear. 

Often marketed as three-day "festivals of speed," the viability and wisdom of "street races," is often debated.

Proponents contend that urban street races offer IndyCar the best chance to lure a strong race-day crowd, as spectators will be drawn by not only the exotic machines, but accompanying carnival-like atmosphere of sunshine, beer gardens, gorgeous backdrops, and gorgeous people.  Likewise, they insist such events can be a financial windfall for the local economy, filling the surrounding hotels, bars and restaurants. 

The very vocal opponents of IndyCar street events believe such thinking to be total hogwash.  They detest the "Mickey Mouse," layouts, poor sight lines and tight confines, which they say produce processional "follow the leader," type races.  Further, these opponents claim such events do nothing to help local municipalities, pointing to numerous events that have failed, where the local municipality has taken a financial bath.

While no one can dispute that numerous events have failed, I might offer that such thinking conveniently overlooks the fact that street races are not the only IndyCar events that have failed.  No, plenty of ovals, whether large, medium or small, and permanent road courses have failed too.  Likewise, I might offer that the preponderance of numerous failed races on various types of circuits could suggest poor management, rather than a flaw somehow inherent to "street races." 

But I digress. 

Back in the heyday of CART, the grandstands all had more rows of seats than they do today and big TV ratings.  Then Tony George had a better idea and in 2006 onward destroyed the sport of IndyCar Racing.  Long Beach has endured, but it is not what it once was.  Still great, but a notch below the elite times of huge crowds, huge sponsorship and high TV ratings.
Moving ahead, no one can question this: The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach has been nothing short of a monumental success.  Flush with a loyal, heavy hitting title sponsor in Toyota dealerships from Southern California, an annual celebrity race of Hollywood stars, a scenic Oceanside backdrop, seemingly eternal sunshine (it's never rained during a race at Long Beach), beautiful people, and the dulcet tones of Indy Cars, Long Beach has thrived in spite of the political turmoil that has characterized the sport over the past three decades.  Last year, partially due to a rainy Friday practice day, Long Beach drew only an estimated 170,000 over three days.

Further, every single promoter going before their local legislature to request funding for such an event can cite Long Beach, as not only an that has flourished on no uncertain terms, but one that has greatly contributed to a sparkling urban revival in a once dilapidated coastal city. 

Now, not all will be perfect this weekend.  For one, the articles saying the attendance "isn't what it once was," will surely appear.  Also, as picturesque as Long Beach is, there is little evidence suggesting anyone outside the sport's legion of diehard fans will see the race, as the TV ratings on NBC Sports Network remain low.  Further, despite the surrounding ambience, the tight, narrow Long Beach circuit historically has not lent itself to great racing.

Nevertheless, IndyCar can and should celebrate its 30th anniversary racing on the picturesque streets of Long Beach. 

See, aside from Indy, Long Beach has been, is and will likely continue to be the IndyCar's greatest annual celebration; a survivor through decades of infantile, destructive political struggles, and gross mismanagement; the gold standard in event promotion; a reminder of all this great sport can in fact be. 

With that being said, let's preview the 30th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. 

Who runs well at Long Beach?

To begin, there will be six former winners in the field:

Sebastien Bourdais (2005, 2006, 2007)
Will Power (2008, 2012)
Helio Castroneves (2001)
Dario Franchitti (2009)
Ryan Hunter-Reay (2010)
Mike Conway (2011)

Power has started from pole three times, Bourdais twice.  Castroneves and Franchitti have each started from pole once. 

Of the remaining drivers who will take the green flag this weekend Justin Wilson has finished second twice; Simon Pagenaud, and Oriol Servia have each finished second once.

Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe, and Alex Tagliani each boast one third place finish at Long Beach. 

Kanaan and Wilson have each started once from pole. 

As for teams, Penske and Ganassi have each won five times at Long Beach.  Andretti Autosport has won twice, KV Racing Technology once.  The winningest team in race history, Newman/Haas (6 victories), is not entered in this weekend's race. 

Who doesn't run well at Long Beach?
Strangely, Scott Dixon.

Dixon, who is usually good everywhere, has a best finish of fourth in six career starts at Long Beach.  The smooth, calculating Kiwi has also never qualified better than fifth. 

Also, of note, Simona de Silvestro has never finished better than 17th in three career Long Beach starts.

What is the key to winning at Long Beach?

Qualifying well.

Yes, while not exactly a shocking revelation, consider this: in the 29 previous runnings, the winner has come from outside the top-5 grid positions a mere five times.  Paul Tracy won from 17th in 2000, Michael Andretti won from 7th in 1986, and 15th in 2002.  Alex Zanardi won from 11th in 1998.  Will Power also won from the 12th starting position last year after an engine change resulted in a 10-grid spot penalty. 

Contrarily, the winner has come from the front row in 17 of the 29 runnings. 

Yes, starting up front is helpful anywhere.  It is vital at Long Beach. 

Who are the favorites to win?

Castroneves, Hunter-Reay and Power. 

Castroneves leads the championship so far in 2013 and possibly could have won both St. Pete and Barber.  He also finished second at Long Beach in 2000.  However, it should be noted that Castroneves, has not finished in the top-five at Long Beach since his 2001 victory.  Hunter-Reay won from pole at Barber two weeks ago.  Power, in addition to his two victories, has three career poles at Long Beach, and a second-place finish. 

If I have to pick someone from the non-winners, I'll go with Hinchcliffe.  The likable Canadian, who won the season-opener at St. Petersburg, has scored a third and fourth in two career Long Beach IndyCar starts, and won the 2010 Indy Lights race. 

What about the prospects for the other former winners?

They're bleak. 

Bourdais' three wins came with Newman/Haas in the Champ Car days, and he has yet to be a factor this season with Dragon Racing. 

Franchitti is difficult to ever discount, however he has qualified 10th and 17th in the first two events, which as mentioned above does not forecast a trip to victory lane. 

As for Conway, he was electric at Long Beach two years ago.  Still, a top-10 finish in this one-off with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing would probably be considered a good weekend.   

Are there any potential sleepers?

Wilson comes to mind as he finished second twice in the Champ Car days.  Also, the lanky Brit qualified third for Long Beach last season.  However, Dale Coyne Racing has zero podium finishes and a mere one top-5 finish on a street course since unification. 

Pagenaud did finish second last year, and I do expect the friendly French driver to score a breakthrough victory sometime this season. 

However, Pagenaud's teammate Tristan Vautier is the pick here.  Vautier, the 23-year old French rookie has been fast in qualifying, making the Firestone Fast Six at both Barber and St. Pete.  Plus, Vautier won 3/5 street races last season in Indy Lights. 

Come on!  Everyone knows Vautier is bad fast.  Give us a real sleeper.

Well, if you insist, how about Charlie Kimball?  While we've yet to see any real consistency from Kimball, I couldn't help but notice how confident the 28 year-old American seemed two weeks ago at Barber. 

So, who will win?

Hunter-Reay.

Looking at past Long Beach performances I'm inclined to say Power.  His qualifying and race record at Long Beach are better than RHR's, who has not recorded a top-five finish aside from his 2010 victory. 

Still, Hunter-Reay and Andretti Autosport seem to be currently firing on all cylinders.  All four Andretti drivers are in the top-10 in the series standings.  The chemistry within the team is reminiscent of the glory years when Dan Wheldon, Bryan Herta, Kanaan and Franchitti drove for what was then Andretti/Green Racing. 

Further, it's quite possible Hunter-Reay has actually taken a step forward early in 2013.  He won pole at Barber, and remember, last season's title run came with only four top-5 starting positions. In other words, RHR managed to win the title without elite qualifying form.  The performance at Barber suggests he and Andretti Autosport may have taken a step forward in qualifying form -- a scary proposition for the rest of the field. 

In closing, I'm looking for frustration from Penske and Ganassi, and jubilation from the Andretti camp, as RHR stakes an early claim to a repeat title run, in capturing his second win on the streets of Long Beach. 

Brian Carroccio

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