Long Beach: Saturday IndyCar notes INDYCAR race steward Papis finishes second in final Pro/Celebrity Race
The 40th and final Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race featured a field full of former winners in its farewell, including four former Indy car drivers - Eddie Lawson, Max Papis, Al Unser Jr. and Jimmy Vasser. But it was actor Alfonso Ribeiro who drove to victory, the fourth for the former "Dancing with the Stars" champion.
California Pizza Kitchen To Lead Townsend Bell Indy 500 Effort
California native Townsend Bell will be partnering with a hometown brand for his 2016 Indianapolis 500 effort, as California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), the authority in creative dining with a California vibe, joins to lead the No. 29 car’s sponsorship for May’s historic race. The 100th Running will mark a first outing in Indy car racing for the global restaurant company born in Beverly Hills in 1985.
Joining California Pizza Kitchen as a co-primary sponsor on the No. 29 will be Bell’s long-time sponsor and fashion industry leader, Robert Graham. The American Eclectic lifestyle brand will pull from its creative style to combine the influential design and complex patterns of Robert Graham with the globally-recognized branding of California Pizza Kitchen.
Vasser Wins Pole But Field Inverted for 40th Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race (Update) UPDATE
Alfonso Ribeiro on the grid today
TV star Alfonso Ribeiro, who won this race twice, won the 40th and final Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race today. Ribeiro played Alfonso Spears on the sitcom Silver Spoons, and Carlton Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Look for separate report later......
04/16/16 After a 30-minute qualifying session on Friday, Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach officials awarded the 40th and final Toyota Pro/Celebrity Pole Position to winner, Jimmy Vasser. Before Vasser could celebrate, however, race officials announced that the field would be inverted, taking the top position away from Vasser, who drove his 210-horsepower Scion FR-S around the 1.97-mile street course in downtown Long Beach, with the fastest time of 1:41.301. As a result, the number-one starting spot went to charity auction winner, Doug Fregin.
Long Beach: Penske team runs 1-2-3-4 in final IndyCar practice
Will Power led a Team Penske Chevy sweep of the IndyCar final practice ahead of qualifying this afternoon for the 42nd Toyota GP of Long Beach. Power was the only driver in the 1m - 6 sec bracket at 1,06.889s.
Points leader Simon Pagenaud was 2nd fastest followed by Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Juan Montoya.
Honda drivers Mikhail Aleshin and Graham Rahal were 5th and 6th.
Another beautiful day here in Long Beach. The IndyCar teams are getting ready to qualify today for the 42nd running of the Toyota GP of Long Beach and final practice is underway. Hunter-Reay just hit the tire barrier at the end of the backstraight and damaged his left rear.
There were 4 Hondas in the top 10 in the 2nd practice session yesterday. So anything is possible in qualifying today. I would look for one of the Team Penske drivers to make a run for the pole today.
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 NATURE’S BAKERY CHEVROLET SS – Involved in an on-track incident with Denny Hamlin and sustained rear damage to the No. 10 Chevrolet
WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN YOU AND THE NO. 11? “I had just come out on tires. They were cold and I wasn’t very good anyway, I was pretty loose. I came down the front straightaway and I put my finger out the window to point him by, but he hit my on entry. I don’t know if he… it looked like he came pretty close when he went to go to the inside too. Man, I love Denny (Hamlin), but he makes a lot of mistakes behind me. I don’t know if he misjudged it or I was going slower than he thought, but I put my finger out the window and pointed him by. I had no intention to race him. I was not fast enough. I don’t know, but the guys are going to try and fix it.”
Audi has established the best starting base for itself for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season opener in Silverstone. Car number “7” of Marcel Fassler/Andre Lotterer/Benoit Treluyer (CH/D/F) set the fastest time, trailed by Lucas di Grassi/Loic Duval/Oliver Jarvis (BR/F/GB) in number “8” with a gap of just one tenth of a second.
For Audi, it has been the twelfth occasion of setting the fastest time in the FIA WEC which has been held since 2012.
Snow in the morning and a stopped third free practice, wet tarmac and a track temperature of six degrees centigrade around noon: the conditions for the first qualifying session in the 2016 season were anything but ideal.
We had the opportunity to ask IndyCar driver Graham Rahal the following questions around the controversy in the IndyCar paddock around the fact the Chevy aero package appears to be better than the Honda again this year. We also asked him about the domed skids for the Superspeedways.
Q. There's been a lot of controversy between the aero kits, Honda and Chevy. I assume on this track it's not as big a deal. GRAHAM RAHAL: It is. You have a lot of long straightaways here. That seems to be where their gain is, mid and top speed. They seem to continue to pull. In essence this aero package is the same as what we ran at Phoenix, right? The top speed at Phoenix for our competitors I think was -- well, the top speed for I think a Honda car was what Helio ran at average speed. So we're in a little bit of a hole there.
In a session that was a waste of time, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel led the way in the final Chinese Grand Prix Formula 1 practice session run in the wet on the Shanghai International Circuit. The times are, therefore, meaningless because dryer weather is expected for qualifying.
Heavy rain throughout the morning meant the cars needed full wets to start the session and only Bottas tried it.
Video: NASCAR at Bristol Q&A with Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch and others Chase Elliott (No. 24 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet); Ryan Reed (No. 16 Lilly Diabetes / American Diabetes Association Ford, NASCAR XFINITY Series); Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire + Auto Center Ford); Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota) talk to the media at Bristol Motor Speedway Friday. Comment
Video: Matt Brabham Team Pirtek Indy 500 Press Conference From the AUtoRacing1.com You Tube Page - Brett Murray and Team Pirtek talk to the media at the Long Beach GP about their Indy 500 effort for Australian Matt Brabham. Also featured are Taya Kyle (wife of the American Sniper - Chris Kyle) and Sonny Saghera - the next member of the CK Crew Pit Crew that will compete in the Indy Pit Stop competition. Comment
Legal Fight over GM's Acquisition of Cruise Automation Cruise Automation Inc. and its founder Kyle Vogt have filed a lawsuit against engineer Jeremy Guillory for allegedly delaying the company’s $1 billion acquisition by General Motors Co. by demanding a stake in the startup.
Cruise is a three-year-old company that creates technology to enable driverless cars. Early on the company built hardware that would retrofit existing Audis, but last year it shifted to software that enables autonomous cars to operate in cities. Mr. Vogt sold his videogame streaming service to Amazon.com Inc. for roughly $1 billion in 2014.
Montoya tops opening IndyCar practice on the streets of LB
As predicted in our morning write-up, Honda is much more competitive on the streets of Long Beach because mechanical grip is a bigger part of the equation here.
Juan Montoya topped the morning practice leading Penske-Chevy teammate Will Power giving Chevy a 1-2. However, Honda cars, led by Jack Hawksworth in third, were 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th. So the top-10 were split 50/50 between Chevy and Honda.
Ganassi Ford catches fire in Long Beach The Chip Ganassi Ford GT No. 67 has caught fire in morning practice on Shoreline Drive on the streets of Long Beach. The fire was huge and the car has suffered significant damage. The red flag is out.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 KELLEY BLUE BOOK CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) and discussed his season thus far, his earliest memories of coming to BMS, his fitness regimen and many other topics.
YOU WILL BE MAKING YOUR FIRST NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES START AT BRISTOL THIS WEEKEND. TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE ANTICIPATION OF COMING HERE IN THE CUP CAR FOR THE FIRST TIME: “I’m excited. What a cool place Bristol is. It is a track I’ve always enjoyed coming to watch as a fan, and one that I certainly never wanted to miss watching at home. Very neat to be here and be here and be a part of the Cup Series race this weekend. We have had some good runs and some not so good runs on the Xfinity side. We ran a Truck race here and I think a Pro Cup race here. I’ve been fortunate enough to race here a handful of times over the past four or five years. Hopefully, we can take a little bit of that knowledge that we have gathered over those races and try to apply it this weekend.”
Porsche 1-2 in opening Silverstone practice Porsche has gotten its FIA World Endurance Championship title defense off to a strong start, with its pair of 919 Hybrids topping the time charts in opening Free Practice for Sunday’s Six Hours of Silverstone.
Timo Bernhard led the way in the damp 90-minute session, reeling off a best lap of 1:432.182 in the No. 1 car.
NASCAR Sets Sail With Licensing Deal For Themed Cruise NASCAR this morning is unveiling its first licensing deal with a cruise company in a multi-year pact that will take a NASCAR-themed cruise liner to the Caribbean. Entertainment Cruise Productions will put on "NASCAR: The Cruise," a six-day voyage in late January of next year. Admittance costs $975, with 2,260 slots on the ship. A spate of NASCAR luminaries will be present, including HOFers Richard Petty and Rusty Wallace. Other planned activities include pit crew competitions and simulator games, plus theme nights, pool parties and trivia contests.
Roger Penske, Bruce Flanders earn spot in Walk of Fame
Roger Penske accepts his induction
It would seem Roger Penske and Bruce Flanders have little in common other than their undying love for motor sports.
Penske has had a team in nearly every form of motor racing. The team is celebrating its 50th season. Penske’s team has 178 IndyCar victories, more than any other team in the series. His IndyCar team has won five of the 41 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach races. Flanders has never owned an IndyCar team, although he once raced motorcycles. He is an announcer.
Boston GP will drown in red ink (Update) UPDATE [Editor's Note: It gets even worse. This report ups the ante that race organizers will pay to the government another $5 million.] Boston IndyCar organizers could be on the hook for more than $16.5 million to cover police, fire and maintenance costs, according to new agreements that lay out several contingencies, deadlines and necessary approvals needed to make the Labor Day event a reality.
The so-called memorandums of understandings -- signed this week with city and state officials, and released yesterday -- begin to flesh out the organizers’ tab for covering “any and all costs” of the three-day September event, including paying for $4.2 million in estimated costs by the city and up to $5.2 million in potential expenses at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.
Long Beach Grand Prix is a fan and driver favorite At last year's Indianapolis 500, the slowest average speed during qualifying was just a bit under 220 mph. At this weekend's 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the top qualifiers will barely eclipse 100 mph.
Nevertheless, the Long Beach Grand Prix is consistently singled out by drivers as one of the best venues on the IndyCar circuit.
"It's definitely the one street course you want to win," two-time Long Beach champion Will Power said. "There's a lot of history, and I think it's second to the Indy 500."
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