Sunday Morning Update from Long Beach
|Famous turn one fountain|
It is a beautiful day in Southern California for the 45th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. The weather has been perfect all weekend and should be 72 degrees by race time. The Indy cars have a final warm up at 9 am this morning and race time is 1:30 pm local time.
Alexander Rossi, a native of Nevada City, California, will lead the 23 entries down Shoreline Drive this afternoon. Rossi, the defending winner from 2018, is familiar with being on pole after earning that position last year.
Interesting to note that Rossi is only one of five IndyCar drivers to win this race from the pole in 36 IndyCar events. Sebastien Bourdais, driving the number 18 entry for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan, is the only other driver in the race today to also accomplish that feat twice, in 2006 and 2007.
|O'Ward Starts 9th|
There are five rookies in today's race and four of them are starting in positions 9th, 10th, 12th and 13th. Patricio O'Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champion driving for Carlin Racing, will start 9th today. O'Ward won nine races and nine poles last year to earn the title of champion. When the season started, the Monterrey, Mexico native found himself without a ride in February. Carlin quickly hired the talented driver and his first race was at COTA.
Colton Herta, O'Ward's teammate in Indy Lights, will be starting in 10th position. Herta, a native of Valencia, California, won the COTA race three weeks ago at the age of 18 years old. Herta also had an impressive record in Indy Lights, winning four races last season and finished in second place in the Lights championship.
Felix Rosenqvist, driving the NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing entry, missed the third round of qualifying yesterday after making contact with a tire barrier. Rosenqvist, a native of Sweden, will be starting 12th today. AR1 talked with Rosenqvist and he commented on starting mid pack. "When you get stuck in that midpack, I always call it the angry midpack. It’s a bit like the NHL and that league below the NHL. When you try to give yourself a chance to advance. Whatever you do, it kinda goes wrong. The top 5 cars just kinda move away from the midpack."
Lucille Dust reporting live from Long Beach