IndyCar Sunday Long Beach Notebook
Does James Hinchcliffe even own a razor? We'll find out in Brazil in two weeks.
"Well, I may or may not have foolishly made a bet with Wade Cunningham and the bet was my first podium I had to show up to the next race with a completely clean-shaven face, and that's not happened since about 2004," said Hinchcliffe, who recorded his first IZOD IndyCar Series podium finish in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
"So I guess in Brazil you're going to be seeing baby face Hinch show up, and I'm not thrilled about that."
Hinchcliffe, driving the No. 27 GoDaddy.com car for Andretti Autosport, started 16th in the 85-lap race on the 1.968-mile street course because of the 10-grid spot penalty assessed to all Chevrolet-powered teams for unapproved engine changes. His third place was at the expense of teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, who incurred a 30-second penalty for avoidable contact with the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car of Takuma Sato on the final lap.
Still, it was a spirited drive for the 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
"It was a bit of an eventful race; I know from my seat it was certainly exciting," said Hinchcliffe, whose finish followed fourth- and sixth-place finishes in the first two races of the season. "I bet it was from the outside, too. It's cool to see some exciting racing back in IndyCar.
"It came down to the Andretti guys making the best calls on the pit stand. They've been doing that week in and week out this season. It's cool to have such a great team behind you supporting you and making those right decisions because that's what makes IndyCar racing so cool is you can start 16th and still have a crack at this thing if you play the strategy right.
"The Go Daddy car was strong right up to the end. I think my fastest lap was the second-to-last lap of the race. Didn't quite have enough to catch Simon (Pagenaud) and Will (Power), so congrats to them. Hopefully it's not the last time I get a trophy in this series."
Newgarden has short day: Josef Newgarden wasn't feeling any added pressure from starting on the front row in his third IZOD IndyCar Series race.
But his race was short-lived as the Honda-powered No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car clipped the tire barrier as he attempted to slip past Dario Franchitti's car on the right side in Turn 1 of Lap 1.
"I felt like I got alongside him, I gave him the inside lane and I just got touched there on the exit and went right into the wall," said Newgarden, who qualified seventh and started second when all 11 Chevrolet-powered entries were penalized 10 grid spots for unapproved engine changes.
"Maybe it wasn't the right move. The plan was if he was braking alongside of me I would have just give him the lane and tuck right in, but I thought I had a good run on him and a good jump on him, so you know it's one of the those tough breaks."
Barrichello records second consecutive top 10: Rubens Barrichello had his second top-10 finish in three IZOD IndyCar Series races.
"Once we knew we were going to be short (on fuel), I started to push hard," he said. "I would just like people to have more respect for each other on the track. I was hit on every side of my car. Apart from that, I enjoyed myself today. To start so far back (22nd) and finish in the top 10 again shows I am getting better and better, so hopefully I will have my best result two weeks from now in Brazil."
Jakes just misses top 10: James Jakes was running fourth when the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America car for Dale Coyne Racing shot to the runoff of Turn 1 on Lap 67. He lost three spots but the time he got the Dallara car pointed in the right direction.
"Lots of positives for the weekend," said Jakes, who finished 11th after placing 26th and 16th in the first two races. "I made a mistake going into Turn 1 and that cost me probably a top 10 finish today. They did a great job giving me a very good car today to race. We will take the momentum of this weekend into Brazil in two weeks."
Gordon to compete in Pikes Peak climb: Beccy Gordon, wife of Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, will drive the electric-powered Mitsubishi race car in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on July 8.
"I am very excited to be part of this challenge and also to drive a 100 percent electric-powered car since this type of vehicle will likely play a major role in both our daily transportation and motorsports in the future," said Gordon, who has racing experience.
Of note: Seven different teams were represented in the top 10 ... Firestone Indy Lights teams will participate in an Open Test on April 17 at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., in preparation for the first oval race of the season May 25 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Both series will close the season at Auto Club Speedway in mid-September. … The rainstorm that impacted the afternoon practice April 13 was the first time since 2004 that it rained on a Long Beach race weekend. ... Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, who earned the pole but started 11th because of the engine change-out penalty, finished seventh.