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Long Beach Announced as Race #2 of 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Schedule!
The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach was announced as Race #2 of the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule, set for Sunday, April 21 as INDYCAR announced its 17-race 2024 schedule this morning.
The schedule is also highlighted by two Saturday night races, a new and unique made-for-TV exhibition in Southern California, a global entertainment destination as the new host city for the season finale, and 12 NBC broadcast network showcases bolstered by the rising popularity of live streaming on Peacock.
Milwaukee Mile lands on the INDYCAR SERIES schedule for the first time since 2015. With the return set for Labor Day weekend, the iconic facility began hosting INDYCAR SERIES racing in 1939 and has featured wins by legendary drivers such as Rodger Ward (seven), Michael Andretti (five), Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Gordon Johncock, Johnny Rutherford, Tom Sneva, Paul Tracy, Al Unser and Bobby Unser (four each).
The fabled 1-mile oval in West Allis, Wisconsin, also will showcase the NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing with a doubleheader weekend for the first time in the track’s history, providing two crucial races during the homestretch of the 2024 championship.
The 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opens Sunday, March 10 on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, for the 20th Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding. North America’s premier open-wheel series will crisscross the United States, including a stop for the 108th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 26, before all roads lead to Nashville for an unforgettable championship finale Sunday, Sept. 15 down the heart of the city’s entertainment district and honky tonk row, where the 2024 champion will be crowned for the first time.
“The upward trajectory of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES is reflected through the 2024 schedule,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “With stops at premier and global entertainment districts, classic American road courses and thrilling, high-speed ovals, the 2024 season will be exhilarating and highly competitive from beginning to end.
“The growth of INDYCAR is palpable. Combined with the efforts of our teams and partners, the 2024 championship will be the perfect showcase for our drivers as we continue to build on our reach and popularity.”
For the sixth consecutive season, NBC Sports will be the exclusive home for INDYCAR coverage in the United States. NBC will provide network coverage 12 times during the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. It is the first time in 20 years the INDYCAR SERIES schedule has featured three consecutive years of double-digit events on network television.
Peacock remains the streaming home of INDYCAR. In a first for the streaming destination, Peacock will be the exclusive home of two races in a season – Toronto for the third year in a row and Milwaukee (Race 1) for the first time. In addition to the exclusive races, Peacock will once again simulstream all races airing on TV and will be the home to all practices, qualifying and INDY NXT by Firestone races.
The 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season proved to be NBC Sports’ most-watched INDYCAR SERIES season on record, averaging a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 1.32 million viewers. It also marked the third consecutive year of viewership growth across NBC Sports platforms, including a record audience streaming the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on Peacock.
Long Beach and The Road to Indianapolis
Two street circuits and two road courses will entertain NTT INDYCAR SERIES fans and set the stage for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. After the 2024 season opens Sunday, March 10 for the 14th time on the sun-splashed Streets of St. Petersburg, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to The Thermal Club for the first $1 Million Challenge Sunday, March 24.
Serving as an Open Test and a non-points NBC showcase, the event will take place at the world-class facility located just outside of Palm Springs, California – a short drive from Los Angeles and the world’s top entertainment market. The $1 Million Challenge weekend format will include a qualifying session and two heat races. With members of The Thermal Club embedded with race teams and drivers, the top six finishers from the two heat races will advance to a showcase of stars, where they’ll compete for a $1 million prize.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule resumes Sunday, April 21 on the palm tree-lined Streets of Long Beach, with a telecast on USA Network. It will be the 40th time the INDYCAR SERIES has raced on the iconic Southern California streets, in the shadows of Hollywood.
The series’ next five events will be featured on NBC broadcast television and Peacock.
Barber Motorsports Park will host the INDYCAR SERIES for the 14th time, with the Sunday, April 28 race marking the final NTT INDYCAR SERIES event before moving into the traditional Month of May calendar at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. May at IMS begins with a race on the road course Saturday, May 11 before attention shifts to the famed 2.5-mile oval for two days of qualifying Saturday-Sunday, May 18-19 building toward the 108th edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – the world’s largest single-day sporting event – on Sunday, May 26.
Ticket sales for the “500” are at a pace exceeding 2023, when well over 300,000 attended the largest single-day sporting event in the world. It was the second-largest Indy 500 crowd in more than two decades.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will feature an adrenaline-filled stretch of action on five consecutive weekends leading into the months of June and July. It begins with the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on Sunday, June 2 on USA Network, with racing on the 1.7-mile downtown street circuit for the second straight year. The new layout on the city’s vibrant and challenging streets featured as much passing as any street circuit in 2023.
The intense competition continues a week later on NBC and Peacock at historic Road America on Sunday, June 9. The newly repaved, picturesque circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, witnessed the most on-track passing for an INDYCAR SERIES race at the facility in 2023.
The 2024 season continues Sunday, June 23 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on USA Network. Known for its iconic and breathtaking Corkscrew turn complex, the Northern California facility will host an INDYCAR SERIES race in June for the first time in 21 years.
The summer heat is turned up in July with four races in three weeks – beginning with three consecutive broadcast showcases on NBC and Peacock.
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will continue the country’s Fourth of July celebration by hosting the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on Sunday, July 7 on NBC. Mid-Ohio matches Long Beach as it hosts INDYCAR SERIES racing for the 40th year in 2024.
The annual Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend doubleheader at Iowa Speedway is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14, again on NBC. The 2024 edition will include the return of a Saturday night race to the jam-packed weekend. With support from Hy-Vee, the weekend combines exhilarating, wheel-to-wheel action with world-class music at the “Fastest Short Track on the Planet.”
The final race before the Summer Olympics break takes the NTT INDYCAR SERIES back to the Streets of Toronto on Sunday, July 21. Peacock again will provide exclusive coverage of the fan-favorite event as the INDYCAR SERIES races around Exhibition Place and Princes’ Gates for the 38th time in Canada’s largest city.
Fast, Fantastic Finish
The 2024 season finishes with a flurry as it features five races – including three on ovals – in five weeks. Beginning on the World Wide Technology Raceway oval, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES homestretch races out of the gates Saturday night, Aug. 17 on USA Network. The expected start time will take the brash and bold INDYCAR SERIES stars under the lights on the 1.25-mile track.
A week later on USA Network, INDYCAR returns to the West Coast and races Sunday, Aug. 25 at Portland International Raceway for the 30th time. In 2023, races at both WWT Raceway and PIR featured the most on-track passes on record at those facilities.
The new Labor Day weekend doubleheader at the Milwaukee Mile will air on Peacock on Saturday Aug. 31 and USA Network on Sunday, Sept. 1 before the spotlight shifts to the Streets of Nashville for the season finale Sunday, Sept. 15 on NBC and Peacock.
The new 2.17-mile, seven-turn circuit in Nashville still incorporates the iconic Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge but adds views of the Country Music Hall of Fame and world-famous honky tonk row. For the first time, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion will be crowned and celebrated as part of the marquee Big Machine Music City Grand Prix weekend, which will include a massive Broadway street party that only Nashville can throw.
Previously announced, the 2024 season awards ceremony will also take place in the Music City, on Monday, Sept. 16 at the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
“2023 was a record-breaking season for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “For the first time, 27 starters competed at each event, and on-track passing records were broken at six racetracks. INDYCAR remains the most diverse and competitive championship in motorsports. We cannot wait to see how the 2024 season plays out beginning on the Streets of St. Pete.”
The INDYCAR Radio Network again will provide audio coverage of all NTT INDYCAR SERIES sessions via SiriusXM Channel 160 and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.
Start times for the 2024 events will be announced at a later date.
2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES SCHEDULE
Sunday, March 10 - Streets of St. Petersburg
Sunday, March 24 - The Thermal Club $1 Million Challenge*
Sunday, April 21 - Streets of Long Beach
Sunday, April 28 - Barber Motorsports Park
Saturday, May 11 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway (road course)
Saturday, May 18 - Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Day 1
Sunday, May 19 - Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Day 2
Sunday, May 26 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway (oval)
Sunday, June 2 - Streets of Detroit
Sunday, June 9 - Road America
Sunday, June 23 - WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Sunday, July 7 - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Saturday, July 13 - Iowa Speedway Race 1
Sunday, July 14 - Iowa Speedway Race 2
Sunday, July 21 - Streets of Toronto
Saturday, Aug. 17 - World Wide Technology Raceway
Sunday, Aug. 25 - Portland International Raceway
Saturday, Aug. 31 - Milwaukee Mile Race 1
Sunday, Sept. 1 - Milwaukee Mile Race 2
Sunday, Sept. 15 - Streets of Nashville
Porsche Wins IMSA at Indy; Sets Up 4-Way Battle for Championship at Petit Le Mans!
It was somewhat expected that Porsche Penske Motorsport would dominate Sunday’s TireRack.com Battle on the Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after topping the charts in Friday practice and Saturday’s qualifying session.
What emerged, though, was somewhat unexpected – an unusually close battle among at least three teams for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) title next month.
Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet propelled the team’s No. 6 Porsche 963 to victory in the 2-hour, 40-minute race, with Tandy finishing ahead of Felipe Nasr in the team’s No. 7 sister car with co-driver Matt Campbell.
The result created a championship battle in which just five points separate the top three cars in the GTP class heading into the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans on Oct. 14 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
One of those three cars was Sunday’s winner.
“I said before the weekend that we really needed to win here to have a decent shot going into Atlanta,” Tandy said. “It’s given us a chance at the end of the day. The teamwork that’s gone into giving the people that work in this team a chance to win in Atlanta is amazing.”
The GTP points shake out like this: Pipo Derani and Alexander Sims will go into Petit with the lead in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R after finishing fourth Sunday.
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06 and its co-drivers, Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, are three points behind after finishing fifth, while Sunday’s victory pulled Jaminet and Tandy to within five points of Derani and Sims.
“It’s been great with Roger (Penske) here," Jaminet said. "It feels like a home race. I’m really happy to bring this one home. This puts us right back in the championship, so It’s going to be a fight back in Atlanta.”
As for the Penske sweep, it didn’t happen as easily as sweeps usually do.
Tandy and Nasr overcame a ruling by race control for not following instructions in a timely manner while the prototype classes were splitting from the GT cars under caution an hour into the race.
The ruling allowed Derani to retain first place after he passed Tandy and Nasr when race control called to commence the class split. Nasr eventually regained the lead from Derani, only to be passed later by Tandy.
“The 31 already started accelerating and did pass us before we made the class split,” Tandy explained. “I maintain my position that we’d done the procedure correctly. They obviously thought they had done the procedure correctly. It was ruled by race control that they were to be up front.”
After the restart, Derani held the lead for 33 minutes before his brakes locked heading into Turn 1 and Nasr – and then Tandy – got past.
The finish wasn’t as important as the points, said Derani.
“We fought hard to bring home a solid finish for the championship,” he said. “We moved up the grid from P8 to P4 and back in the championship lead. Obviously, (it’s) not the race result we were looking for when we arrived here. We always want to win, but if you can’t win, you always try to get your best finish.”
Nasr and Tandy then battled intensely until Tandy wrested control of the lead on an exchange of pit stops. The victory was the second of the season for Tandy and Jaminet, while Nasr and Campbell, who won the Motul Pole Award on Saturday, recorded their third podium finish of the season and remain in the championship battle in fifth place, 73 points behind.
Connor De Phillippi finished third in the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 he shares with Nick Yelloly. They are currently fourth in the GTP championship standings, just 38 points behind the leaders and also very much in the mix heading to the season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Nearly overlooked in the renewed championship possibilities was the historic nature of a Penske team winning at a track owned by team owner Roger Penske.
“This is Indianapolis,” Tandy said. “It’s a world-renowned, historic venue. The IMSA series is a world-renowned, historic race series. To come here to a venue like this, especially for Porsche Penske Motorsport and all the ties the Penske Corporation has with this place, is massive. It means a huge amount. The fact that it’s a team 1-2 makes it even sweeter.”
The GTD class featured a more closely contested race that resulted in Ward guiding the No. 57 Winward Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a 1.268-second win over Loris Spinelli and Misha Goikhberg in the No. 78 Forte Racing Powered by US RaceTronics Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 after a battle that sometimes turned contentious.
Snow and Sellers led the majority of the race before determining with the championship in mind that discretion was the better part of valor. They dropped back to third place, letting Ward and Spinelli fight amongst themselves for the race win.
Spinelli’s driving was especially aggressive, to the displeasure of Ellis.
“Initially, I had a battle with Bryan, which was all clean and fair,” Ellis remarked. “That was good, and nice to watch, I guess. Then Loris came along and tried to pass me on the grass, which is quite risky. Luckily our car wasn’t too badly damaged, and in the end, I just gave back what he dished out.”
Ward was delighted to deliver Winward Racing its first WeatherTech Championship race win in 13 months. His father Bryce, the team owner, shared the winning GS-class Mercedes-AMG with Daniel Morad in Saturday’s four-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race.
“That was our first double win,” Ward observed. “For the last couple years, this team has been kind of feast or famine. This year we’ve been struggling due to different things – sometimes performance, sometimes, mistakes, and sometimes just bad luck.
“So it’s really nice to see it all come together for both cars, and it shows the potential of the team and what the group of guys we have is capable of.”
Sellers and Snow wrapped up the GTD class crown one race early, in addition to clinching their second consecutive WeatherTech Sprint Cup sub-championship. The duo won five races so far this year.
“We led quite a bit of the race, but didn’t have quite enough for the No. 57 or the No. 78,” Sellers said. “As soon as those guys (Spinelli and Ellis) started mixing it up, our goal was just to beat the No. 27 (the Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and drivers Roman De Angelis and Marco Sorensen), watch the points situation, and let the race win go – which is difficult to do. But in the end, we were able to achieve our goal.”
Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta will begin Oct. 14 at 8:40 a.m. PT. Peacock will provide flag-to-flag streaming coverage in the U.S., and USA Network will join the live coverage at 3:30 p.m.
Historic Indy Car Challenge Added to 2024 Race Weekend!
The 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will reflect on its racing history when the Indy cars of the past take the green flag in the Historic Indy Car Challenge during the April 19-21 race weekend.
Twin 20-minute races will run Saturday, April 20 along with the IMSA WeatherTech Championship race and Sunday, April 21, the same day as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race.
Long Beach famously switched from Formula 1 to Indy cars in 1984 and the inaugural winner was Mario Andretti, who would go on to win “America’s #1 Street Race” twice more in Indy cars (1985 and ’87). Also in the 1980s, Al Unser Jr. began his reign as “King of the Beach,” with wins in 1988 and ’89, on his way to an incredible six victories in eight years and remains the all-time leader in Long Beach wins. Michael Andretti (1986) also earned his first career win during that period.
The historic event at Long Beach will be sanctioned by the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA).
“When I first wanted to invite the historic Indy cars, I was thinking about the first - and only - time I saw the turbine car at Riverside. It just blew my mind,” recalled HMSA President Cris Vandagriff. “This is our opportunity to bring Indy cars that haven’t been seen on the West Coast since then, and I’m looking forward to it.”
“What a thrill it will be to see and hear these fabulous historic Indy cars competing again on our downtown circuit next April,” said Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian. “For many this will be a first-time experience and for others it will certainly bring back delightful memories.”
The 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend will be led by the third rounds of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on Sunday, April 21 and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Saturday, April 20. Support races will include two rounds of SRO America’s GT America, Robby Gordon’s Stadium SUPER Trucks, the Super Drift Challenge on Friday and Saturday nights, and Historic Indy Car Challenge.
Off the track and free to all race attendees will be the popular Lifestyle Expo with more than 100 exhibitors offering the latest products and services in automotive, travel, home improvement, green power, fitness and recreation as well as the large Family Fun Zone in the Long Beach Arena. There will also be concerts, food trucks, exotic car displays and a wide variety of activities for the whole family.
Fans that attended the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2023 will have the opportunity to renew their ticket orders for 2024 starting Monday, Oct. 9. On Nov. 13, Acura Grand Prix tickets will go on sale to the public.
Ticket prices range from $40 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $185 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, NTT INDYCAR SERIES Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of hospitality packages.
Fans can also follow the 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach by downloading the Official app on the Apple App Store or Google Play for Android, or tune in via social channels on Facebook (GrandPrixLB), X (formerly Twitter) @GPLongBeach (#AGPLB) and Instagram @GPLongBeach.
The Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA) is one of the most respected historic racing organizations in North America, producing world-class spectator events across the continent. HMSA emphasizes the preservation and proper use of world-class historic racecars at all of its events. For more information, please visit www.hmsausa.com.
Dixon Wins INDYCAR Finale at Laguna Seca!
When the going gets most chaotic, nobody in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES finds a smooth path to Victory Lane better than Scott Dixon.
Dixon did it again Sunday, overcoming a starting grid penalty and an early on-track penalty and adapting strategy to multiple caution periods to win the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. It was the third win of the season and 56th career INDYCAR SERIES victory for six-time series champion Dixon, who won on this 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit for the first time.
“A credit to this team,” Dixon said. “They’ve been executing like that all year. We got caught up in some mayhem at the start. I definitely didn’t agree with the (penalty) call, but I haven’t seen all of it yet. But I had nowhere to go. But we won; that’s all that matters. We won.”
Dixon’s No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda crossed the finish line 7.3180 seconds ahead of the No. 3 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet of runner-up Scott McLaughlin for his third victory in the last four races of the season. Alex Palou finished third in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda to close out his championship season with Chip Ganassi Racing.
Two-time series champion Will Power finished fourth in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, with Callum Ilott rounding out the top five in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet.
Marcus Armstrong was the top rookie finisher, eighth in the No. 11 Ridgeline Lubricants of Chip Ganassi Racing. That was enough to clinch Rookie of the Year honors for New Zealand native Armstrong and helped CGR achieve the unprecedented feat of taking the top two spots in the standings, with Palou and Dixon, and winning the Rookie of the Year title.
Chevrolet edged Honda by just 12 points to win the Manufacturers Championship for the second consecutive season.
The first hurdle for Dixon to scale came before the green flag flew to start the race. His CGR team was penalized six spots on the starting grid for an unapproved engine change after the morning warmup, so Dixon dropped from his qualifying spot of fifth to 11th at the start.
That lower starting spot put Dixon in the middle of mayhem that erupted near the front and throughout the midfield on Lap 1. Five cars were officially counted as part of the multiple collisions and jostling in Turn 2.
Dixon’s car veered hard right in traffic exiting the calamity corner better known as the Andretti Hairpin on Lap 1 and tapped the No. 21 Bitnile.com Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter Racing driver Rinus VeeKay into the gravel just past Turn 2. After extensive review of the entire maelstrom, INDYCAR officials assessed Dixon with a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact, along with a drive-through penalty for the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda of Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Christian Lundgaard.
That penalty infuriated Dixon, known as “The Iceman” for his cool under pressure. But he chilled quickly in the cockpit, and Dixon and veteran CGR strategist Mike Hull started to devise alternate tactics to quicken a long climb from the rear of the cars still running on the lead lap.
Hull and Dixon decided to save fuel and try to finish the 95-lap race on one stop fewer than most of the rest of the field. They employed a similar strategy to win after being spun into the grass on Lap 1 of the Gallagher Grand Prix on Aug. 12 on the IMS road course and sipped fuel to win the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline on Aug. 27 at World Wide Technology Raceway.
When it was drawn up, the fuel-saving strategy was risky because it probably required some slower running under yellow to make it to the finish on one less stop. Dixon also couldn’t let teammate Palou, who was cruising out front while leading 51 of the first 58 laps, build a big enough lead to stay out front after the final pit cycles ended.
The yellows came that Dixon needed – and then some. And one of the caution flags flew with terrible timing for Palou.
On Lap 58, the No. 18 HMD Trucking Honda of David Malukas and the No. 29 Sapphire Gas Solutions Honda of Devlin DeFrancesco made side-by-side contact, with Malukas spinning into the gravel adjacent to Turn 3 to trigger the fifth of a race record-tying eight caution periods.
Palou was nearing the end of one of his fuel stints when the incident unfolded, but he couldn’t dive into the pits before the caution lights illuminated. He made his second and final stop on the next lap, Lap 59, and re-entered the race in 15th place with 37 laps to go.
Meanwhile, Dixon made his third and final stop on Lap 65. That ended up being one stop fewer than McLaughlin. Meanwhile, Palou couldn’t make up enough ground in the closing stages of the race to convert his two-stop strategy into catching Dixon or McLaughlin, as the last 17 laps of the race ran green despite the last four caution periods coming between Laps 58 and 75.
Dixon took the lead for good on Lap 76 when leader Romain Grosjean pitted for the last time in the No. 28 DHL Honda of Andretti Autosport. It was one of six lead changes among six drivers in a wild race that featured 432 on-track passes, an INDYCAR SERIES record for this picturesque track that features the famous “Corkscrew” turn complex.
From there, Dixon managed the gap after the final restart on Lap 78 and pulled away down the stretch of the 95-lap race with no need to save fuel.
Dixon will split $10,000 with Chip Ganassi Racing and his chosen charity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, for his win as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.
Palou Wins at Portland, Clinches 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Championship!
Alex Palou put a decisive stamp of authority on a dream season, winning the BITNILE.COM Grand Prix of Portland on Sunday at Portland International Raceway to clinch the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship.
Palou, from Barcelona, Spain, earned his second series title in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing after claiming his first championship in 2021 with the team. He became the first driver to seal the INDYCAR SERIES title with one race to spare since Sebastien Bourdais claimed Champ Car honors in 2007 in the penultimate race.
“That’s what we wanted,” Palou said. “It was an amazing weekend overall. We had really fast cars. We knew we had to go for it, and we just raced how we’ve been doing all season. Super proud to be here in victory lane and super proud of the second championship.
“I never thought that I would be an INDYCAR champion, and to be a two-time INDYCAR champion feels amazing, like a dream.”
Chip Ganassi Racing won its 15th INDYCAR SERIES championship, second only to Team Penske’s 17 titles in the history of the sport. Ganassi also clinched its first 1-2 finish in the driver point standings since 2009, as six-time series champion Scott Dixon secured second with his third-place finish in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
This was Palou’s series-leading fifth victory of the season, and he has finished eighth or better in all 16 races this season. Palou, 26, leads Dixon in the standings, 618-527, with one race remaining, the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sunday, Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Palou won the race by 5.4353 seconds over runner-up Felix Rosenqvist in the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. Dixon was 8.0669 seconds behind the winner.
Pato O’Ward placed fourth in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, and two-time series champion Josef Newgarden rounded out the top five in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.
Palou, who started fifth, led 69 of 110 laps. He paved the way for eventual victory at the start when he darted around Dixon and Colton Herta in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda in the precarious first turn to take third place.
Running on Firestone primary tires at the start, Palou first took the lead on Lap 22 when NTT P1 Award winner Graham Rahal and fellow front-row starter Scott McLaughlin stopped for fuel and swapped their Firestone alternate tires for primary rubber. The CGR team decided on an “overcut” strategy for Palou and Dixon on primary tires, running long on the more durable rubber to build a gap on the 12-turn, 1.964-mile road course.
That strategy worked perfectly. Palou made his first stop on Lap 31, switching to Firestone alternate tires. Dixon stopped a lap later as the last driver to enter the pits for his first service, staying on primary tires.
Palou cycled to the front on Lap 34 when David Malukas pitted from the lead in the No. 18 HMD Trucking Honda fielded by Dale Coyne Racing with HMD.
From there, Palou and Dixon alternated the lead during pit cycles until Rosenqvist grabbed the top spot on Lap 81 when Palou made his final stop. But Palou took the lead for good on Lap 84 when Rosenqvist pitted a lap before the caution flew for the No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet of rookie Agustin Canapino, who spun off track in Turn 12.
That caution period allowed Rosenqvist to get heat into his new, cold Firestone alternate tires at slow speed behind the Honda pace car, avoiding a probable attack by Dixon on warmer, grippier tires if the race was under green-flag conditions.
Palou eased away from Rosenqvist and Dixon on the restart on Lap 88. But Rosenqvist stayed within one second for the next five laps before Palou began his inexorable drive away from any threats and into victory lane as Rosenqvist’s alternate tires lost grip toward the end of the race.
“I was kind of lucky in the end, first off with the yellow that we just managed to do our stop before,” Rosenqvist said. “And then also at the end, we kind of had a buffer with lapped cars that gave us a little bit of a cushion to Scott at the end. It kind of worked out our way for the first time in a while, so I was enjoying the race a lot.”
Palou will split $10,000 with Chip Ganassi Racing and his chosen charity, The American Legion, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.
GT America Powered by AWS Added to 2024 Acura Grand Prix!
SRO America’s GT America Powered by AWS is set to supercharge the racing menu when the 200-MPH Beach Party® Returns at the 49th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach next April 19-21.
Now in its third season, GT America hearkens to the history of single-driver GT sprint racing while providing a home to some of the most modern race cars in SRO's portfolio. The series features a single-driver, 40-minute sprint format, that includes GT3, GT2 and GT4 machinery. Makes such as Acura, Audi, Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Maserati, McLaren, Porsche and Toyota are represented on the GT America grid.
“This will be an exciting addition to our weekend race lineup in 2024,” said Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President & CEO Jim Michaelian. “GT America brings a very competitive series with well-known marques that our fans are sure to recognize. It rounds out a diverse slate of racing that is sure to keep everybody at the edge of their seats all weekend.”
“World Challenge has enjoyed a storied history on the Streets of Long Beach and we are excited to bring back GT sprint racing with GT America powered by AWS to Southern California,” said SRO Motorsports America President & CEO Greg Gill. “The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is a bucket-list event and our teams and drivers enjoy the challenge of its street course.”
The 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend will be led by the third rounds of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on Sunday, April 21 and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Saturday, April 20. Support races will include two rounds of GT America, Robby Gordon’s Stadium SUPER Trucks, the Super Drift Challenge on Friday and Saturday nights, and a vintage race sanctioned by the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA).
Off the track and free to all race attendees will be the popular Lifestyle Expo with more than 100 exhibitors offering the latest products and services in automotive, travel, home improvement, green power, fitness and recreation as well as the large Family Fun Zone in the Long Beach Arena. There will also be concerts, food trucks, exotic car displays and a wide variety of activities for the whole family.
Fans that attended the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2023 will have the opportunity to renew their ticket orders for 2024 starting Monday, Oct. 9. On Nov. 13, Acura Grand Prix tickets will go on sale to the general public.
Ticket prices range from $40 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $185 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, NTT INDYCAR SERIES Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of hospitality packages.
Fans can also follow the 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook (GrandPrixLB), Twitter @GPLongBeach (#AGPLB) and Instagram @GPLongBeach.
Taylor, Garcia Win for Corvette at VIR!
Expect the unexpected.
The old expression worked Sunday for Jordan Taylor, who found himself in the lead when his closest competitor encountered trouble in the pits, then deftly saved fuel for nearly an hour to take the GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class and overall win in the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR.
Taylor was trailing Ben Barnicoat with 56 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race when Barnicoat’s No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 stalled in the pits. Taylor took the lead and never relinquished it, eventually getting the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD to the finish line 2.068 seconds ahead of Barnicoat.
“This has to be one of the most special races I’ll ever have,” said Taylor, who recently announced plans to leave Corvette Racing at the end of this season and rejoin his father’s Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) team in 2024. “Amazing race, amazing victory.”
When he left the pits, Barnicoat felt the Lexus lurch and stall. He quickly got going again, but by then Taylor had taken the lead.
“The team did a great job to get us a race-winning car,” Barnicoat said. “Sadly, I made a mistake and stalled it on the pit stop. I apologize to the team for that. … It happens sometimes.”
When told it happens to the best of them, Barnicoat replied, “Well, not really.”
Once Taylor passed Barnicoat, his assignment turned to saving fuel.
“It was just down to saving fuel and managing tires and managing the gap,” Taylor said. “I was counting down the laps with about 25 to go. I was very happy to see that checkered flag.”
The victory helped Taylor and Garcia close on Barnicoat and co-driver Jack Hawksworth, who now lead the GTD PRO standings by 144 points with two races remaining in the WeatherTech Championship season.
Klaus Bachler brought the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) he co-drove with Patrick Pilet home third in GTD PRO and 12th overall. Alex Riberas, who went off course late in the race, held on for fourth place in class and 15th overall in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 he co-drove with Ross Gunn.
Daniel Juncadella and Jules Gounon rounded out the class in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
With its second victory, Corvette Racing became the fourth team to win multiple races this season in GTD PRO. Taylor scored the 33rd victory of his career, Garcia the 29th.
GT Daytona (GTD)
The 2023 season just keeps getting better for Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers and the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 as they pursue the GT Daytona (GTD) class championship.
The pair of American sports car aces teamed up to earn their fifth GTD victory of the year, essentially leading the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR from start to finish. They won by 12.187 seconds over the No. 96 BMW fielded by Turner Motorsport and driven by Robby Foley and Patrick Gallagher. The five wins in a single season set a WeatherTech Championship record for the GTD class.
Russell Ward and Philip Ellis (No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3) denied BMW a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium by passing the No. 97 Turner BMW shared by Bill Auberlen and Chandler Hull for third place with less than two minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute contest.
There was little drama at the front as Snow assumed the lead after winning the Motul Pole Award on Saturday and held it until handing off to Sellers for the middle stint. Despite what Sellers called a difficult second driver exchange back to Snow for the final stint, Snow maintained the top spot and pulled away to the checkered flag.
Sellers and Snow now lead the GTD standings by 375 points over the No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and drivers Marco Sorensen and Roman De Angelis, who finished 12th in class Sunday, with two races remaining. The No. 1 also leads the No. 27 by 229 points in the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup standings, with only the TireRack.com Battle on the Bricks on Sept. 17 left to decide that title.
“Amazing doesn’t even come close to describing it,” said Sellers, who credited Snow for carrying him on a day when he did not feel 100 percent physically. “Wins are so hard to come by in this series, and it’s why everyone does this. Before this, we’ve never had more than two wins in a season, so to get five is just crazy.”
The victory was the 19th for Sellers in 195 IMSA starts; Snow now claims 14 wins in just 93 races.
The Turner team used an aggressive fuel strategy to help the No. 96 gain three places from its starting position and finish second.
“It’s a step in the right direction, a rebound after a couple rough rounds,” Gallagher said. “We kind of got shoved around in the beginning, and the team called a great strategy. Not enough to beat the No. 1, but we’ll look for a win at Indy.”
Ellis was also happy to notch a podium finish after the Winward team struggled for results in recent races.
“We just took a chance,” he said. “We saw (the No. 97 BMW) slowing down quite a lot and weren’t sure if they were just managing the pace or the tires or having to save some fuel. I don’t think he could put up much of a fight at the end.”
The WeatherTech Championship resumes with all five classes racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the TireRack.com Battle on the Bricks from Sept. 15-17.
Dixon Wins in St. Louis!
No driver in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES makes the improbable possible more than Scott Dixon, and he did it yet again Sunday at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Dixon showed every bit of his masterful ability to save fuel and navigate traffic to win the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline on Sunday in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, earning his 55th career victory and second win this season.
He only needed three pit stops due to saving fuel, at least one fewer than the other 27 drivers in the field. That strategy was borne from necessity since Dixon started 16th in the 28-car field after incurring a nine-spot grid penalty for an unapproved engine change after the last race, the Gallagher Grand Prix on Aug. 12 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He also won that race by saving fuel and mastering strategy after being spun into the infield grass during a Lap 1 incident.
“It’s all these guys, man,” Dixon said about his Chip Ganassi Racing crew. “Chip steers the ship. We took a pretty good grid penalty today. We had to go the alternate route, and it worked out perfectly. This team was perfect. They gave me the (fuel) number I needed to be getting, so massive thank you to everybody on the PNC Bank No. 9 crew.”
Pato O’Ward finished second in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. David Malukas placed third in the No. 18 HMD Trucking Honda fielded by Dale Coyne Racing with HMD. O’Ward and Malukas were the only drivers on the lead lap with Dixon, whose margin of victory of 22.2256 seconds was the biggest for an INDYCAR SERIES race on the 1.25-mile WWTR oval.
Alexander Rossi finished fourth in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, with NTT P1 Award winner Scott McLaughlin rounding out the top five in the No. 3 Odyssey Batteries Team Penske Chevrolet.
“Scott Dixon did Scott Dixon today,” O’Ward said. “When they were telling me on the radio the 9 car is trying to make it to the end, he’s going to make it until the end. I was happy with the strategy today; I was happy with my car. But, yeah … Scott Dixon.”
Six-time INDYCAR SERIES champion Dixon also kept his hopes alive for a record-tying seventh title with the victory, as he trails series leader Alex Palou by 74 points with two races remaining. Teammate Palou finished seventh in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda and needs to lead by 55 points or more after the BITNILE.COM Grand Prix of Portland next Sunday, Sept. 3 at Portland International Raceway to clinch his second NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship in the last three seasons. Palou and Dixon are the only remaining drivers eligible to win the Astor Challenge Cup as season champion.
Dixon’s victory also ended Josef Newgarden’s run toward INDYCAR SERIES history. Newgarden entered this 260-lap race having won all four previous oval races this year and was trying to become the first INDYCAR SERIES driver to sweep all the oval races in a season with multiple circle-track races.
But two-time series champion Newgarden – who had won three straight races at WWTR dating to 2020 – drifted high in Turn 2 on Lap 211 after his final pit stop and hit the SAFER Barrier. He finished 25th in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet and was eliminated from title contention.
“I was just trying to catch up,” Newgarden said. “I knew we were going to lose to someone in fuel save, most likely Dixon or somebody. I was just trying to get through cars as quickly as I could when I pitted, and it didn’t work out. I got in the marbles, just a touch too high.”
Newgarden started from the top spot after NTT P1 Award winner and teammate McLaughlin was forced to start 10th after a nine-spot grid penalty for an unauthorized engine change after the last race. Newgarden led 98 of the first 102 laps as most teams evolved their pit strategies to four stops.
Dixon was on a different plan.
He took the lead for the first time on Lap 113 when Colton Herta pitted from the lead in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda. By Lap 120, every driver had made at least two pit stops – except for Dixon.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2 in the No. 11 Deloitte Honda, triggering the second and last caution period of the race on Lap 122. Dixon dove into the pits on Lap 125 under caution for his second stop, with Newgarden and O’Ward following suit.
Then Dixon’s mastery of saving fuel took control of the race. O’Ward and Newgarden pitted for the third time on Laps 165 and 167, respectively, while Dixon didn’t make his third – and final – stop until Lap 197, handing the lead to O’Ward.
But O’Ward pitted for the fourth and final time on Lap 214, giving the lead to teammate Rossi. But Rossi and then Herta had to pit for a fourth time within the next seven laps, and Dixon jumped to the front on Lap 221 and stayed there until the checkered flag despite keeping an eye on his fuel number and growing pressure from behind from Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Dixon led a race-high 123 of 270 laps.
Power had to make his final stop on Lap 249, and Dixon was home free from that point.
Dixon will split $10,000 with Chip Ganassi Racing and his chosen charity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, for his win as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.
His victory also means the $1 million PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge bonus will go unclaimed this season. The bonus is presented to the first driver who wins on a road course, street circuit and oval in a season. The last two races this season are road course events at Portland International Raceway (Sept. 3) and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (Sept. 10), and Dixon has no street course wins this season. Newgarden’s four wins have all come on ovals, and Palou has wins on a street circuit and road course but none on ovals.
Dixon Wins on Indy Road Course!
Scott Dixon continued two remarkable streaks Saturday on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, one at the green flag and another at the checkered.
Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Dixon rallied from a spin into the grass after being collected in an accident on Lap 1 to win the Gallagher Grand Prix in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Dixon, from New Zealand, extended his INDYCAR SERIES record streak to 19 consecutive seasons with at least one victory on a day when he also set a series record with his 319th consecutive start.
“What a day to win on,” said Dixon as he held his 3-year-old son, Kit. “It makes it so fun, especially for this little guy. He gets to see it. It’s been a little while since I’ve had a win, probably over a year. It makes it worthwhile, and we’re going to keep trying to win on (start) No. 320.”
NTT P1 Award winner Graham Rahal finished a season-best second in the 85-lap race, as his late charge to catch Dixon fell just .4779 of a second short in the No. 15 Code 3 Associates Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. It was the closest INDYCAR SERIES finish ever on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile IMS road course.
Pato O’Ward finished third in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. Christian Lundgaard, who joined RLL teammate Rahal on the front row at the start, placed fourth in the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda. Alexander Rossi, who won this event last year, rounded out the top five in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.
Championship leader Alex Palou finished seventh in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing to expand his points gap to 101 over Dixon, who leapfrogged Josef Newgarden for second. Newgarden also was caught in the melee that collected Dixon but immediately lost a lap due and finished a season-low 25th in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, two laps down. Newgarden is third in the standings, 105 points behind Palou with three races remaining.
“Finishing the race today was important,” Palou said. “A good result for the team with Scott winning the race today and a good result for us in the championship.”
Dixon’s “spin to win” maybe wasn’t as dramatic as Danny Sullivan’s similar maneuver in the short chute between Turns 1 and 2 of the IMS oval to win the 1985 Indianapolis 500, but it was arguably just as improbable.
On the first lap, Palou nudged the rear of the No. 11 IU Simon Cancer Center Honda of rookie teammate Marcus Armstrong in heavy traffic in Turn 7 at the end of the back straightaway, and Armstrong spun. The concertina effect of drivers trying to avoid the incident caused Romain Grosjean’s No. 28 DHL Honda to touch Dixon, spinning Dixon’s car into the grass. Then Newgarden, who started 25th, arrived at the scene with nowhere to go, and his car climbed over the nose of Armstrong’s stopped car, damaging Newgarden’s front wing.
Dixon kept his engine running in the infield grass, straightened his car and returned to the track. He pitted on Lap 5 on an alternate strategy and started his march toward the front.
Meanwhile, Devlin DeFrancesco continued to hold the lead after a daring dive from his fifth starting position to the front in Turn 1 on the opening lap in the No. 29 TRUBAR/Jones Soda Honda. But Rahal dove under DeFrancesco in Turn 1 on Lap 9 to take the top spot.
Rahal, Lundgaard and Dixon then traded the lead through pit cycles over the next 50 laps before Dixon made his final stop on Lap 59 after turning blazing laps before entering pit road.
Dixon also turned scintillating out laps after his final stop. Rahal pitted from first on Lap 64 for his final stop but exited in second behind Dixon.
On Lap 66, Dixon led Rahal by 6.1866 seconds, with both drivers on Firestone alternate tires. But Rahal’s fresher tires paid dividends, and he began to claw ground on Dixon.
Dixon’s lead dropped to 3.8448 seconds by Lap 72, with Rahal pulling to within 1.6028 seconds on Lap 80.
Both drivers then reached lapped traffic, and Rahal closed the gap to .5076 of a second on Lap 82 after he and Dixon cleared the slower cars. The margin shrank to .2689 of a second with two laps to go, and it appeared Rahal was setting up for a final-lap showdown for the win with Dixon.
But Dixon padded his lead to .8639 of a second at the white flag and hung on during the final trip around the circuit that includes portions of the famous 2.5-mile oval and the Yard of Bricks at IMS.
“I was on overtake on the second-to-last lap; he was, too,” Rahal said. “And I just wasn’t gaining ground. I was holding dead even with him for some reason. I don’t know why. I just couldn’t make a lunge at him. I thought that was going to be a really good run at it, a really good shot.
“We have nothing to be ashamed of. We’re going against the best, the best of all time, by far. Nineteen straight seasons with a win? It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely insane.”
Dixon will split $10,000 with Chip Ganassi Racing and his chosen charity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.
Palou will earn the $1 million PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge bonus if he wins the next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline on Sunday, Aug. 27 on the World Wide Technology Raceway oval. The bonus is presented to the first driver who wins on a road course, street circuit and oval in a season. Palou already has victories this season on road course and street circuit.
The WWTR event is the final oval race of the season and starts a stretch of three consecutive race weekends to crown a series champion. Palou can clinch his second title in the last three seasons if he leads by 108 points or more after the Aug. 27 race.
Kirkwood Back in Victory Lane at Nashville!
Kyle Kirkwood used a combination of smart strategy and raw speed to win the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on Sunday on the streets of Nashville.
Kirkwood, from Jupiter, Florida, earned the second NTT INDYCAR SERIES win of his career and this season – both on street circuits – in the No. 27 AutoNation Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport. Kirkwood, who started eighth, beat the charging No. 3 DEX Imaging Team Penske Chevrolet of NTT P1 Award winner Scott McLaughlin to the finish by .7633 of a second after a late restart.
“I’ve got to give it up to the 27 crew, AutoNation, Andretti, Honda,” Kirkwood said. “They played everything in my favor, to be honest. They gave me all the tools I needed. They cycled me to the front on strategy, and we just made really smart decisions and hit all of our marks. Just a solid day.”
Championship leader Alex Palou finished third in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing. He expanded his lead to 84 points over closest pursuer and Nashville native Josef Newgarden, who placed fourth in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet.
Six-time series champion and 2022 Nashville winner Scott Dixon rounded out the top five in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
Kirkwood fended off McLaughlin on a restart with just over three laps remaining after a red flag period of 11 minutes. That pause was triggered by a three-car stack-up on Lap 75 of the 80-lap race involving the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet of Felix Rosenqvist, the No. 55 AJ Foyt Racing/Sexton Properties Chevrolet of Benjamin Pedersen and the No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet of Agustin Canapino in Turn 11.
On the restart at the end of Lap 77, Kirkwood rocketed away on the 11-turn, 2.1-mile temporary street circuit that includes two trips over the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge per lap, pulling a lead of 1.6 seconds after one green-flag lap.
But McLaughlin and Palou started a hot pursuit in steamy weather conditions of air temperatures in the high 80s and high humidity. McLaughlin sliced more than half of Kirkwood’s lead at the white flag, but he had to settle for his second consecutive runner-up finish from pole in this race.
“Right there at the end, man, they were so fast,” Kirkwood said. “They ran me down just in that last lap.”
Kirkwood led a race-high 34 of the 80 laps, including the last 27. But team strategist Bryan Herta may have paved the winning path with a crucial strategy call early in the race that cycled Kirkwood toward the front of the pack for most of the race.
On Lap 14, Palou dove into the pits from the top five during the second of what was expected to be many cautions at this event, where calamity seemingly lurks around every corner. Palou shed his Firestone alternate guayule tires for the more durable but less grippy Firestone primary tire. It was expected the other cars in the lead pack would do the same, but they all stayed out of the pits and tried to extend the life of their alternate tires.
Kirkwood finally made his first stop on Lap 29 after leading Lap 28 during pit cycles, pulling into second behind Palou – on a different strategy – on Lap 33. Kirkwood took the lead on Lap 45 when Palou pitted and surrendered the lead to teammate Romain Grosjean after his final pit stop on Lap 52.
When all the leaders’ stops cycled, Kirkwood was out front on Lap 54 and never trailed thereafter.
The early pit strategy for Palou and Chip Ganassi Racing was based on an abundance of yellow flags in the first two years of this street race, as there were an average of 8.5 cautions in 2021 and 2022. But that nearly backfired as there were just two cautions in the first 71 laps.
Palou was running third and within a few laps of maybe needing a quick, costly final stop for fuel when a welcome third caution flag flew for CGR on Lap 71. Rookie Linus Lundqvist hit the wall in Turn 11 in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda fielded by Meyer Shank Racing.
That caution, and the next caution and red flag after the ensuing restart, saved Palou’s spot in the top three and almost certainly his lead of more than 1.5 races over Newgarden in the points with just four races left this season.
Kirkwood will split $10,000 with Andretti Autosport and his chosen charity, AutoNation DRVPNK, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.
With four races and 216 available points remaining this season, the top eight drivers in the standings remain eligible to win the Astor Challenge Cup. Toronto race winner Christian Lundgaard is eighth in the standings, exactly 216 points behind 2021 season champion Palou.
The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the Gallagher Grand Prix on Saturday, Aug. 12 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Live coverage starts at 2 p.m. ET on USA Network, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
Porsche Takes Overall Win at Road America!
The battle for the season-long Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class title in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship played a supporting role at Road America’s IMSA SportsCar Weekend.
The two incoming points leaders in the GTP standings, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R and No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8, encountered trouble before the green flag even flew for Sunday’s 2-hour, 40-minute race. That was of little concern to Felipe Nasr and Matt Campbell, who drove Porsche Penske Motorsport’s No. 7 Porsche 963 to a commanding victory in front of the largest IMSA crowd at Road America since the sanctioning body’s debut race at the venue in 1979.
Campbell built a 10-second lead during his opening stint in the winning car, and Nasr managed the gap during his double-stint to cross the line 4.635 seconds ahead of the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06 shared by Colin Braun and Tom Blomqvist.
The path to the first win of the season for the No. 7 Porsche, the 11th in IMSA competition for Campbell and the ninth for Nasr, was made easier when the Motul Pole Award-winning No. 31 Cadillac was forced to start from the back of the GTP field due to Alexander Sims’ crash in the morning warm-up, less than two hours before the race. Sims and Pipo Derani finished sixth Sunday, dropping to second in the standings.
“Obviously, we got a little bit lucky with the No. 31 having an incident in the warm-up,” said Campbell, who claimed his third career victory at Road America – the first in a prototype. “I had such an incredible lack of traffic at the beginning and that’s why the gap got as big as it was at times.
“We’ve been fast on quite a few occasions, but luck has never been on our side. Today we just executed perfectly and it’s nice to get a win on the board after a tough year.”
Blomqvist threw all he had into catching the No. 7 Porsche in the closing stages, getting within 1.7 seconds of the leader with eight minutes remaining. But Nasr had a smoother run through traffic in the final laps.
“It was difficult to pass, but the car was working really well, and I was happy that the gap came down,” Blomqvist said. “I chipped away, but obviously they had that gap and were kind of controlling things. Traffic always ebbs and flows, and I guess he got through a little better at the end. But it’s one thing getting close and passing is a completely different matter.”
Acura claimed two positions on the podium, as Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor drove the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06 to third place and took over the GTP championship lead by 14 points over Derani and Sims.
There have been six different winners in the seven GTP races so far in 2023. The No. 60 Acura is the only two-time winner.
“We did the fastest lap of the race, which shows we had speed in the car,” Albuquerque said. “We were managing the situation with the championship, but we are happy with P3, though obviously we wanted more.
“Leading the championship is nice; but it means nothing,” he added. “There are still a lot of points to come, and we have seen how quickly things can change in one weekend.”
After a season marked by struggles, the Heart of Racing Team has found its stride in the GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class.
Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas combined for their second consecutive class victory with an impressive victory from the pole position Sunday in the IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America.
It came two weeks after the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 won at Lime Rock Park, ending a run of six races without finishing better than fourth.
“We seem to have found something that’s working very well for us,” Gunn said. “But to be honest, throughout the whole season we’ve had a package that has been quick enough and competitive enough to be at the front, but it just hasn’t clicked. Now things are starting to work.”
Victory happened in part because of another team’s mistake. Gunn took the lead with 24 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute race when Antonio Garcia’s No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD had to serve a drive-through penalty for exceeding the minimum refueling time on its final pit stop.
“We obviously benefited from the Corvette getting that penalty,” Riberas said. “Today it was definitely very hard to beat them on track. You’ve got to be there to capitalize on these opportunities.”
Prior to Lime Rock, the No. 23 Aston Martin had struggled with its best finish of fourth coming at Long Beach in April. But in recent weeks the program has come to life, with Motul Pole Awards and race wins in two events.
Riberas started from the No. 1 spot but surrendered the lead to Jordan Taylor in the No. 3 Corvette with the Aston’s first pit stop 38 minutes into the race. Gunn regained the lead from Daniel Juncadella and the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with 1 hour 10 minutes left.
Gunn and Garcia battled closely from there, with Garcia regaining the lead shortly before the penalty was issued. When Garcia pitted, Gunn had the No. 23 back in the lead.
The back and forth between Gunn and Garcia proved intense.
“We had a big fight for a few laps, which was very enjoyable,” Gunn said. “Lots of respect. Hopefully that’s not the last battle we have with those guys this year.”
A runner-up finish by Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat helped the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 maintain its lead in the class championship standings. Garcia and Taylor are second in points, while Juncadella and Jules Gounon are third in the No. 79 WeatherTech Mercedes.
The new pavement at Road America created challenges for some teams Sunday. Paul Miller Racing wasn’t among them.
Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers improved their lead in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) standings with their fourth victory of the season in the No. 1 BMW M4 GT3.
“We came out of the gate strong,” said Snow, who won the Motul Pole Award on Saturday and started Sunday’s race just as strong. “This repave was difficult for a lot of people. Fortunately, it seemed like it really suited the BMW well. It was strong out of the gate.”
Snow and Sellers weathered a stout challenge from the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 EVO co-driven by Frederik Schandorff and Brendan Iribe, but Sellers was able to cross the line 2.261 seconds ahead of Schandorff for the 18th victory of Sellers’ career and 13th of Snow’s.
“The biggest challenge was certainly the racetrack,” Sellers said. “The evolution from practice to qualifying and the race was that everybody gained quite a bit of respect for the track and what needed to be done.”
Mikael Grenier co-drove the No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a third-place finish with Mike Skeen.
Snow and Sellers, who won earlier this year at Sebring, Long Beach and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, lead the No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 co-driven by Marco Sorensen and Roman De Angelis in the GTD championship standings.
The key to the dominating performance by Snow and Sellers may have been taking it easy. By not trying to do too much on the track’s new surface, they were able to let the race come to them.
“After qualifying, we felt like we would probably be our own worst enemy should we ask too much or try too hard,” Sellers said. “I have to say in my career, it was one of the races I had to manage the most in terms of pace and comfort and being on-line.”
The WeatherTech Championship resumes August 25-27 at VIRginia International Raceway with the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR featuring the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) and GTD classes. Prototypes rejoin the fray for the TireRack.com Battle On The Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sept 15-17.
Long Beach Third Race on 2024 IMSA Calendar; GTP and GTD Classes Confirmed!
The 2024 WeatherTech Championship schedule was announced August 4, and the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is slated to once again be the third race on the series' calendar, after Daytona and Sebring.
The IMSA race at Long Beach on Saturday, April 20, will feature two classes of sports cars in 2024: GT Prototype (GTP) and GT Daytona (GTD) in a 100-minute "sprint" to the finish.
The calendar is also highlighted by the addition of a fifth IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup event, a return to the Motor City after a one-year absence and a total of six events that will feature all four classes, one event in which the LMP2 class will compete for overall victory and one GT-only round.
The 2024 campaign will open as usual on the final weekend of January as the eyes of the motorsport world once again will be focused on Daytona International Speedway for the 62nd Rolex 24 At Daytona on the weekend of Jan. 25-28. The twice-around-the-clock battle will award WeatherTech Championship points for all four participating classes – GTP, LMP2, GTD PRO and GTD – marking the first time since the 2019 season that the event will count for WeatherTech Championship points in the LMP2 class.
The Rolex 24 At Daytona also serves as the kick-off to what will be a five-race Michelin Endurance Cup season. The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring occupies its traditional slot in the third weekend of March with the 72nd rendition slated for the weekend of March 13-16. The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen brings endurance racing back to New York’s Finger Lakes region on the weekend of June 27-30 for the third Michelin Endurance Cup race of the season.
The new addition to the Michelin Endurance Cup in 2024 is an expansion of the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to six hours on the weekend of Sept. 20-22. The endurance race at IMS was widely expected since last summer’s announcement of the WeatherTech Championship’s return to the Speedway for a two-hour and 40-minute race at IMS next month. It will be the series’ first visit to Indianapolis since 2014.
The 2024 WeatherTech Championship and Michelin Endurance Cup season will wrap up at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on the weekend of Oct. 9-12 with the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans.
The WeatherTech Championship’s return to Detroit comes via a 100-minute race featuring the GTP and GTD PRO classes, which will compete in a 100-minute battle on Saturday, June 1. The series previously raced on Detroit’s Belle Isle circuit through the 2022 season but next year will be its first time on the city’s downtown street circuit, which hosted the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge GS class in 2023.
Detroit will the other 100-minute sprint race on city streets in 2024. WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca will feature a two-hour and 40-minute battle involving the GTP, GTD PRO and GTD classes on Sunday, May 12.
Road America will host the only two-hour and 40-minute sprint event to include all four WeatherTech Championship classes as GTP, LMP2, GTD PRO and GTD are set to return to the Kettle Moraine on Sunday, Aug. 4. VIRginia International Raceway will host the lone GT-only WeatherTech Championship race in 2024 with a two-hour and 40-minute contest set for Sunday, Aug. 25.
The GTD PRO and GTD classes each will compete in 10 races in 2024, with nine scheduled for the GTP class and seven for LMP2.
The Roar Before the Rolex 24 also returns as the official warm-up for the 2024 season at Daytona International Speedway on the weekend of Jan. 19-21.
Newgarden Takes Both Ends of Iowa Doubleheader!
The brooms came out Sunday as Josef Newgarden completed a sweep of the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend doubleheader at Iowa Speedway by winning the Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade on Sunday, bookending his victory Saturday in the Hy-Vee Homefront 250 presented by Instacart.
Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Newgarden drove his No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet to his sixth career victory at Iowa by .7050 of a second over teammate and reigning series champion Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. The close finish came after a three-lap dash to the checkered flag due to a late caution period.
Newgarden has won all four oval races this season – including the Indianapolis 500 on May 28 – and can complete a season sweep of circle-track events at the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 on Sunday, Aug. 27 at World Wide Technology Raceway. He has won six of the last seven oval races in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES over the last 12 months.
“We knew we had a great car, and the pressure was there because I think we wanted to execute on it and make sure it was a great weekend,” Newgarden said. “I’m happy now. When you finish the first race, it’s great to have a doubleheader, but you just feel incomplete until you get through today. To be able to come back and do it again, I’m so proud of the team.
“It’s very gratifying because I know how good our car is here. When you show up with a car like this, you’ve got the pressure to just execute and get the job done. When you don’t get the job done, you feel like you did something wrong.”
There’s even more history. Newgarden joined legendary four-time Indy 500 winners A.J. Foyt and Al Unser as the only drivers to win five consecutive oval races in the INDYCAR SERIES, as Newgarden’s streak started last August at WWTR. Foyt won seven in a row in 1964, and Unser won five straight in 1968 and 1970.
This was Newgarden’s 29th career victory, tying him with four-time Indy 500 winner and fellow Team Penske legend Rick Mears for 13th on the all-time INDYCAR SERIES win list. Newgarden also became the first driver to sweep an INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader since Graham Rahal in 2017 in Detroit.
Newgarden’s victory also polished off a sweep of the weekend for Team Penske, as the team led every on-track session. Newgarden won both races and led practice Friday, while Power won the NTT P1 Award for both races and led the warmup this morning.
Championship leader Alex Palou finished third in his No. 10 The American Legion Honda. Palou’s lead over second place Newgarden slimmed to 80 points with five races remaining in the season. The Spaniard, who finished eighth Saturday, led by 117 points entering this doubleheader weekend. Still, he extended his streak of finishing in the top eight to all 12 races this season.
“I didn’t expect to be on the podium, honestly,” Palou said. “This is a place where we struggle, we don’t really have the package that we would like and that I struggle also personally. We got a lot of confidence today, but there’s still a lot to improve.”
Felix Rosenqvist finished fourth in the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, with Scott McLaughlin rounding out three Team Penske cars in the top five in the No. 3 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet.
Newgarden cantered to a 3.375-second victory over McLaughlin on Saturday. But a second trip to the winner’s circle this weekend wasn’t as easy Sunday even though Newgarden led far more laps – 212 of 250 – after starting seventh than the 129 trips he paced Saturday from the third spot on the starting grid.
It appeared Newgarden would cruise to another dominant victory late in the race, as he was well ahead of Rosenqvist and had lapped the field all the way to sixth place. But Ryan Hunter-Reay side-swiped the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4 in the No. 20 Bitnile.com Chevrolet on Lap 240, triggering the third and final caution of the race.
The five cars on the lead lap were moved to the front of field under caution, creating a three-lap dash to the checkered on the restart at the end of Lap 247. Newgarden got a smooth jump into Turn 1 and never trailed. Pole sitter Power passed Rosenqvist for second, and 2021 season champion Palou completed his Sunday salvage job by passing Rosenqvist and McLaughlin to earn his seventh podium finish of the season.
Newgarden took less time to pass teammate and NTT P1 Award winner Power for the early lead today than Saturday. He first got to the front and took control of the race on Lap 31, never trailing thereafter except for during pit cycles.
Newgarden will split $10,000 with Team Penske and his chosen charities, SeriousFun Children’s Network and Wags and Walks Nashville, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.
The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on Sunday, Aug. 6 on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee – Newgarden’s hometown. Live coverage starts at noon ET on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
Heart of Racing Takes Both Classes at Lime Rock!
It was a magical Saturday at Lime Rock Park for Aston Martin, the Heart of Racing Team, and its team principal, Ian James.
As James celebrated his 50th birthday, the Heart of Racing-prepared Aston Martin Vantage GT3s swept both IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship classes at the FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix presented by Liqui Moly.
Motul Pole Award winner Ross Gunn and co-driver Alex Riberas claimed their first race win of the 2023 slate in Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) competition in the Heart of Racing’s No. 23 Aston, while the No. 27 Vantage GT3 shared by Roman De Angelis and Marco Sorensen triumphed in GTD for the first time since the season opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“I guess you want to forget birthdays as you get older, but what an awesome gift for me,” said James, who also serves as a co-driver in the No. 27 in rounds of the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.
The Heart of Racing saw its overall tally of IMSA race wins jump from nine to 11 in the course of Saturday afternoon’s 2-hour, 40-minute contest. The final 48 minutes ran caution free, setting up tense battles down the stretch in both classes.
Ben Barnicoat (No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3) kept Riberas under heavy pressure in GTD PRO before making a slight mistake in Turn 1, also known as ‘Big Bend,’ with a little more than five minutes remaining. That gave Riberas a bit of breathing room, and he eased up before crossing the line 0.336 seconds ahead of Barnicoat as the top four cars were separated by just 1.138 seconds.
“This was mega important,” said Gunn after his sixth career IMSA victory. “We’ve been searching to get a clean race in for quite a while. It’s been such a tough year, and things just haven’t been able to click. But this weekend, everything came together. We had an awesome car in the race, which wouldn’t have been possible without the team.”
“Finally today, everything came our way,” added Riberas, a five-time winner in IMSA. “Ross drove phenomenal, and at the end, it was all about managing the tires. I think we were all struggling to keep the car underneath, and we did enough to bring home the first win of the year.”
Gunn and Riberas raced a brand-new chassis that had to be built up in the two weeks since the No. 23 team’s primary car was heavily damaged in last WeatherTech Championship race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
“That car had never run before and it was faultless,” said James. “The crews and the driving teams on both cars have just executed and I couldn’t be prouder.”
GT Daytona (GTD)
It was a similar story in GTD, where Sorensen was pursued but never passed by a pair of Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)s – the No. 92 fielded by Kellymoss with Riley and driven by Alec Udell and Julien Andlauer, and No. 77 Wright Motorsports with drivers Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman – with Andlauer closing to within 0.555 seconds at the checkered flag.
“Keeping the two Porsches behind was definitely a challenge today,” Sorensen admitted. “This win is really big.”
The triumph for the No. 27 was a big boost for their championship hopes. Incoming GTD class leaders Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 found themselves in comeback mode for the second half of the race at Lime Rock after a pit penalty, recovering to eighth place. That unofficially cut their points cushion over De Angelis and Sorensen from 208 points to 86.
“We really needed to start making progress on the No. 1 car,” said De Angelis, the defending WeatherTech Championship GTD champion. “They’ve had a really strong year and pulled out a decent gap. To win on a day when they were struggling quite a bit means a lot. It’s good to close the points gap at the halfway point of the season. Still a lot of racing left, but we’ll see if we can keep the ball rolling.”
In GTD PRO, the No. 14 Lexus team’s return to the podium extended its lead in the standings to 151 points, with a fourth-place finish at Lime Rock for Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor (No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD) moving them from third to second. The top four are clustered within 181 points.
The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America, August 3-6.
Lundgaard Dominates in First INDYCAR Win at Toronto!
Christian Lundgaard won the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday, mixing sizzling speed and successful strategy for his first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory.
Lundgaard, 21, from Denmark, drove his No. 45 Vivid Clear Rx Honda to an 11.7893-second victory over championship leader Alex Palou in the No. 10 Journie Rewards Honda. Colton Herta finished a season-best third in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda.
This was the first victory for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing since Takuma Sato won the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in August 2020. The team’s last win on a temporary street circuit like the 11-turn, 1.786-mile course around Toronto’s Exhibition Place came in June 2017 when Graham Rahal swept the doubleheader on Belle Isle in Detroit.
Lundgaard became the first Danish driver to win an INDYCAR SERIES race. He also was handed an electric razor in Victory Lane to shave the moustache he grew during the offseason and vowed to keep until he earned his first victory.
“I’m pretty drained from energy right now,” Lundgaard said. “The Hy-Vee Vivid Clear Rx car has been fast all weekend, and I said it before the race that we had a car that was fast enough to win. We pulled it off.
“This team, they do deserve this. If you look at where we were earlier this season and even last year at this point, we were nowhere near this. I’m just extremely happy for everybody right now.”
Six-time series champion Scott Dixon placed fourth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, the top finisher among a group of drivers who attempted an alternate strategy in the second half of the race to try to counter Lundgaard’s speed.
Two-time series champion Josef Newgarden rounded out the top five in the No. 2 Snap-on Team Penske Chevrolet.
The decisive move came on Lap 61 of the 85-lap race in Canada’s largest city. Lundgaard and Palou dueled side by side for second place behind leader Dixon – on a different fuel strategy – when Lundgaard completed the pass of Palou in Turn 3.
Dixon made his final pit stop on the next lap, handing the lead to Lundgaard. The Dane wasted no time stretching his legs under sunny skies in Toronto, building a 3.1503-second lead by Lap 65.
Lundgaard continued to build his lead over the closing laps and cruised to the finish, ending up out front for 54 of the 85 laps. That left the drama to the fight for the final podium positions among Palou, Herta and reigning series champion Will Power.
Those three drivers raced in lockstep around the tricky, bumpy street circuit for 19 of the last 20 laps. Palou’s drive to keep second was particularly impressive considering he navigated the last 39 laps with a cracked nose cone and a front wing knocked askew by contact in an incident also involving Kyle Kirkwood and Helio Castroneves on Lap 46.
Herta couldn’t find a way past Palou over the closing stint, and Power’s chance for a podium finish ended when he was forced to pit just before the start of the final lap to avoid running out of fuel.
2021 series champion Palou, who started a season-low 15th, extended his streak of top-five finishes this season to nine consecutive races dating back to the PPG 375 in early April at Texas Motor Speedway. The Spaniard increased his championship lead to 117 points – a gap of more than two races – over Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dixon.
The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES events are the Hy-Vee Homefront 250 presented by Instacart on Saturday, July 22 and the Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade on Sunday, July 23, comprising the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend doubleheader at Iowa Speedway.
Acura Goes 1-2 at Mosport; Corvette and BMW Take Class Wins!
Colin Braun didn’t need to answer questions about whether his No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06 had enough fuel to finish the Chevrolet Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
An accident involving Renger van der Zande’s No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R with five minutes remaining caused the two-hour, 40-minute round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to end under caution Sunday. For Braun, attempting to stretch his final tank of fuel for 75 of those minutes, the finish behind the safety car eased any worries he and co-driver Tom Blomqvist had about running dry.
Blomqvist demonstrated the one-lap speed of the Meyer Shank Acura a day earlier by claiming the Motul Pole Award for the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class at the 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course – the second straight overall pole for the Brit at CTMP. This time, he was able to take the overall race victory after finishing a close second a year ago.
“That’s fantastic,” Blomqvist said following his fourth career triumph in WeatherTech Championship competition. “The racing gods were looking down on us a little bit today. We rolled the dice (with pit stop strategy) to try and go long, and the only way we were going to win that race was if the yellows kind of played into our corner. Thankfully, they did.
“I’m just so happy for the guys,” he added following the No. 60’s first win since the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. “They’ve worked their backsides off all year long, really. This car has been a lot of work. We haven’t had the greatest run of recent races, so to get the pole yesterday and finish the job off today is just amazing.”
The No. 60 Acura dropped from the lead to third place during a round of pit stops under caution just past the halfway mark. The decision was immediately taken to try and reach the finish without stopping again, hoping for at least one more full-course caution.
Circumstances couldn’t have played into their hands any better. After the first half of the race ran caution-free, the second half saw three more full-course yellows after the initial one, giving Braun the ability to strategically manage his hybrid-powered prototype’s energy reserves.
Braun had a five-second lead over Filipe Albuquerque in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Racing Acura ARX-06 when the final caution flew. Albuquerque and co-driver Ricky Taylor finished second, while the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 shared by Connor De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly earned a fourth podium finish in the last five races to close within 10 points of the GTP championship lead.
The win was the 24th in IMSA competition for Braun, an amazing six of which have come at CTMP – including last year in the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) class.
For Albuquerque and Taylor, second place was a welcome result in a season in which the No. 10 Acura has experienced difficulty reaching the finish line. Coupled with a tough day for incoming GTP points leaders Alexander Sims and Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac (who finished eighth at CTMP), the No. 10 Acura duo is third in the standings, just 29 points out of the championship lead.
“Before the race, the theme of the weekend was we need to put together a weekend like we are used to and just get back to normal,” Taylor said. “It just so happened the No. 31 had a bad day and the points came together. We’re happy about that, and happy to get back on a roll of positive momentum. We’ll take a second place to the sister (Acura) car very happily and try to build on that for Road America.”
Corvette Racing is officially back. Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor chased down the leaders Sunday and won the GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class of the Chevrolet Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
The victory was the first for the team in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship since March 2022. Before the slump, Corvette had won five of the previous seven season championships in IMSA GT classes.
“It’s perfect,” Taylor said. “The Chevrolet Grand Prix, to be in a Corvette here, kind of our stomping grounds … it’s a classic Corvette victory.”
Taylor pitted from fourth place just 33 minutes into the race. Garcia replaced him and drove the No. 3 car up to second place in just 10 minutes and into the lead shortly after that. The two combined to hold the lead to the finish of the two-hour, 40-minute race.
“We deserved this win for a long time,” Garcia said. “We came so close many times. We were really struggling to pace at most of the races. … Finally, we got what we deserved.”
The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), co-driven by Patrick Pilet and Klaus Bachler, finished second on the team’s home soil as the race ended under caution.
Daniel Juncadella and Jules Gounon brought the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 home in third place to keep the GTD PRO points pressure on the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 co-driven by Ben Barnicoat and Jack Hawksworth, who put the car on pole Saturday but finished fourth Sunday.
Barnicoat and Hawksworth continue to lead the WeatherTech Championship GTD PRO standings with 2,110 points. Juncadella and Gounon are currently second, 96 points behind, while Garcia and Taylor closed to within 109 points of the lead with five races still remaining on the calendar.
There were no miracles this time, just victory for Paul Miller Racing in what is becoming another magical season for the team.
Two weeks ago, the buzz focused on a miraculous second-place finish by Paul Miller Racing. This time, a miracle wasn’t required.
Madison Snow got the team’s No. 1 BMW M4 GT3 into the lead early and Bryan Sellers got it to the finish line first as PMR claimed victory in the GT Daytona (GTD) class.
“It’s awesome,” Snow said. “I think Bryan and I finished third here once before, but the podium has been a little bit elusive for us. Being able to finish on the top step is awesome.”
The team’s third victory of the season padded its lead in the driver and team standings. Sellers and Snow now have 1,974 points, holding a 212-point lead over No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 co-drivers Roman De Angelis and Marco Sorensen, and a 219-point advantage over Aaron Telitz and Frankie Montecalvo in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.
The No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW previously won this season at Sebring and Long Beach.
In the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen last month at Watkins Glen International, Snow, Sellers and Corey Lewis brought the No. 1 back from a three-lap deficit to finish second.
This time, the road to success was far less bumpy. Snow drove to the lead just 10 minutes into the race, and the two maintained control from there.
The race ended under caution, with the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 EVO co-driven by Brendan Iribe and Frederik Schandorff finishing second. The No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 co-driven by Mike Skeen and Mikael Grenier finished third.
The WeatherTech Championship resumes for the GTD and GTD PRO classes on July 22 with the FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix presented by LIQUI MOLY at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut.
Live coverage can be found on USA and Peacock at 9 a.m. PT.
Palou Wins Third in a Row at Mid-Ohio, Pads Championship Lead
Things could not be going better for Alex Palou, who at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course won his third consecutive NTT INDYCAR SERIES race to extend his championship lead to a staggering 110 points.
Palou’s victory in The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the 2023 Accord Hybrid helped him become only the second driver since the 2016 season to score a three-peat. That other driver was Scott Dixon, the six-time series champion who opened 2020 with such a streak.
And if Palou needed more confidence as the season moves to its second half, he should know that the last three times an INDYCAR SERIES driver won three races in succession – Dixon in 2013 and ’20, Simon Pagenaud in 2016 – the Astor Challenge Cup followed at year’s end.
Yes, Palou is on a major roll, having won four of the past five races. He even could be riding a five-race winning streak if not for contact on pit road midway through the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The incident with Rinus VeeKay dropped the pole sitter to 27th place, and he stormed back to finish fourth.
Palou is humble, but he conceded this stretch of success is “the best moment of my career so far.”
Palou won this race by 5.0242 seconds over Dixon, but it was another Chip Ganassi Racing teammate that helped the series lead swell so large. Marcus Ericsson, who had been second in the standings, ran over the Arrow McLaren car of fellow Swedish driver Felix Rosenqvist on the opening lap, effectively ending his race.
Ericsson’s crew was able to make repairs to the front suspension of the No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz, but it was too much too late. Ericsson finished last in the 27-car field, losing 48 points to the series lead, and he fell to fourth in the standings.
The incident also ended Ericsson’s streak of eight consecutive top-10 finishes to start the season. Guess who is the only driver with a streak that long: Yes, it’s Palou. Considering he won last year’s season-ending race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the 26-year-old Spaniard has compiled 10 straight top-eight finishes with nine of them record in the top five.
And it could continue. Palou finished third in last year’s Honda Indy Toronto, the next race on the schedule (July 16).
“I know we can have some good couple of races coming up now, and we’ll still try and maximize(points), do the best we can and win when we can,” the driver of the No. 10 The American Legion Honda said. “So, yeah, try and get (the car) on top.”
Palou trailed NTT P1 Award winner and Andretti Autosport driver Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda) and fellow front-row starter Graham Rahal (No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) through the first segment of the race, but he swiped the top position during the first pit exchange. Herta went to pit road first, on Lap 28, and while Rahal waited a lap to make his stop, Palou conserved fuel behind him.
Herta and Rahal came out of the pits with new primary tires, but Palou switched to the faster alternative compound, allowing him to rocket past them to the lead.
Palou had the field covered the rest of the way. His only difficulty came during a sequence when he took several laps to overhaul the No. 55 AJ Foyt Racing/Sexton Properties Chevrolet of series rookie Benjamin Pedersen. In that stretch, Palou’s 8-second lead was cut in half, but he quickly regained all of that advantage once clearing Pedersen on Lap 55.
After Palou made his second and final pit stop on Lap 54, Herta and Rahal came to pit road on consecutive laps, and both had trouble. Herta’s car nearly got away from him at pit entrance, and the errant momentum caused him to exceed the speed limit, drawing a drive-through penalty. Rahal arrived at his pit box without concern, but trouble mounting the left rear tire led to a slow stop. As a result of those bobbles, the fastest two cars in qualifying dropped to the eighth (Rahal) and 12th (Herta) positions.
Rahal finished seventh, Herta 11th as Palou continued on without incident.
“I had a good car and good strategy, honestly,” Palou said. “We’ve got a really fast car, (but) we knew we needed to try something different to the guys starting up front – that’s why we started on primary (tires). Everything went well. The strategy, the pit stops and our pace was pretty good.”
Honda won its sixth race of the year in nine tries.
Dixon did everything he could to remain in contention for a championship that would tie A.J. Foyt’s al-time record. With Pato O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet) finishing eighth after a difficult three-stop charge from the 25th starting position, Dixon jumped to second in the standings. Josef Newgarden (No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet) and Ericsson are 116 and 122 points out of the lead with eight races remain. O’Ward is fifth, 127 points in arrears.
Palou’s competitors will need a lot to happen to catch him.
Dixon has won six of these Mid-Ohio races, but this was his first second-place finish. The result also was his best of the season as he seeks to extend his series records for seasons with at least one win (currently 20) and consecutive seasons with a win (18).
Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) has similar streaks in play – 18 and 16 years, respectively -- and he earned his third podium finish of the season in third place.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard (No. 45 Vivid Clear Rx Honda) and last year’s Mid-Ohio winner, Scott McLaughlin (No. 3 Good Ranchers Team Penske Chevrolet), finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with David Malukas (No. 18 HMD Truck Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD) sixth.
The 27 cars ran a mostly clean race with the exception of Ericsson’s contact with Rosenqvist, which drew a penalty for avoidable contact. Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood (No. 27 DHL Honda) tried to challenge Palou in Turn 4 on Lap 19 and lost six positions. He finished 17th.
Conor Daly finished 20th while driving the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda as Meyer Shank Racing asked him to stand in for Simon Pagenaud, who endured a wild ride without injury in an accident in Saturday morning’s practice. Pagenaud will be re-evaluated in advance of the Honda Indy Toronto.
Palou Wins at Detroit; Pads INDYCAR Points Lead
Precision paid off for Alex Palou on Sunday in Detroit.
Pole sitter Palou used his smooth driving style to prevail on one of the toughest circuits in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, capturing the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on the streets of Detroit. Spaniard Palou kept the lead during two late restarts in the No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing and beat the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet of Will Power to the finish by 1.1843 seconds.
It was the sixth career victory for 2021 season champion Palou and his second in the last three races this season, as he also won the GMR Grand Prix on May 13 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
“The No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants car was on point today,” Palou said. “Super proud of the job we did. It was tricky there at the end, man, with those (worn) tires couldn’t really get to temperature (on restarts).”
Felix Rosenqvist finished a season-best third in the No. 6 onsemi Arrow McLaren Chevrolet after muscling past teammate Alexander Rossi during a spirited duel in the closing laps on the nine-turn, 1.7-mile temporary street circuit.
Six-time series champion Scott Dixon finished fourth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, putting two CGR cars in the top four. Rossi rounded out the top five in the No. 7 NTT DATA Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.
Palou led from the drop of the green flag in the 100-lap race under sunny skies. He stretched his advantage to 9.1 seconds by Lap 21 after starting on the Firestone alternate tires, whose softer compound has more grip but less durability. Power started seventh on Firestone primary tires and used the longer wear on those tires to cut Palou’s lead to 1.5 seconds by Lap 29.
At that point, Chip Ganassi Racing elected to call Palou to the pits for Firestone primary tires, the same rubber as Power. Six laps later, Power pitted for the first time, opting for his mandatory run on Firestone alternates that use sustainable rubber from the guayule shrub, and handed the lead back to Palou.
After Power blended back into the race from his stop, Palou gradually built his lead to four seconds. But that gap evaporated on Lap 43 when Pato O’Ward crashed in Turn 9 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.
Palou held off Power on the restart on Lap 49, but the caution flag flew during the first lap of green after the restart when rookie Sting Ray Robb went deep into the runoff area in Turn 3 in the No. 51 biohaven Honda.
The ensuing restart on Lap 56 was about the only spot of bother all day for Palou. Power, on grippier alternate tires, dove under Palou for first in the Turn 3 hairpin at the end of the long back straightaway. Palou’s car seemed to pause at the exit of that corner, apparently due to a problem that forced him to cycle through the emergency electronics mode on the wheel before normal service was restored.
Reigning and two-time series champion Power had pulled away to a 2.8-second lead over Palou two laps after that restart. But Palou collected himself, focused forward and dove under Power in Turn 3 on Lap 65 to regain the lead.
“We had an issue that was probably my fault, but then we got stuck there,” Palou said. “I couldn’t really upshift. Proud that we got it back and that we got another win this year.”
After the field cycled through its final pit stops, Palou led by nearly five seconds when Romain Grosjean crashed in Turn 4 in the No. 28 DHL Honda on Lap 82, triggering another full-course caution. Palou held off Power on that restart on Lap 87, another on Lap 91 after David Malukas crashed in the No. 18 HMD Trucking Honda during the previous restart and yet again on a final restart on Lap 96 after Santino Ferrucci’s No. 14 Sexton Properties/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet and Robb’s car went deep into the Turn 3 runoff while dueling for position.
There was plenty of muscular driving and contact over the last five laps, including Dixon running into the rear of Power’s car on the final restart and spirited, aggressive swaps of position by Arrow McLaren teammates Rosenqvist and Rossi. Palou levitated in front of the mayhem and cruised to victory, leading 74 of the 100 laps.
“I did everything I could to get Palou,” Power said. “He was just too quick, man. Too good today.”
Palou will split $10,000 with Chip Ganassi Racing and his chosen charity, The American Legion, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge. He has won two of the three legs needed to earn a $1 million bonus, with a win on the road course at IMS and the street circuit at Detroit. Palou can secure the bonus with a win in any of the three remaining three oval races, a doubleheader July 22-23 at Iowa Speedway and Aug. 27 at World Wide Technology Raceway.
The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR on Sunday, June 18 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Newgarden Wins First Indianapolis 500!
The wait is finally over for 2022 Long Beach winner Josef Newgarden.
Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Newgarden passed reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson on the last lap to snare his first career victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on Sunday at a packed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Newgarden, from Nashville, Tennessee, earned his spot on the Borg-Warner Trophy and in racing immortality in his 12th career “500” start, extending Team Penske’s event record to 19 victories in the race.
Newgarden, who started 17th, passed Ericsson on the back straightaway with an outside move just before Turn 3 and snaked down the front straightaway to victory in the No. 2 Shell Powering Progress Team Penske Chevrolet. Ericsson, driving the No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing, fell just .0974 of a second short of becoming the first repeat winner since Helio Castroneves in 2002. It was the fourth-closest finish in Indianapolis 500 history.
“Everyone just kept asking me why I haven’t won this race,” Newgarden said. “They looked at you like you’re a failure if you don’t win it. I wanted to win it so bad. I knew we could. I knew we were capable. It’s a huge team effort, as everybody knows. I’m so glad to be here.”
After his cooldown lap, Newgarden went into the packed front grandstands to celebrate with fans. He disappeared into a joyous throng of humanity before re-emerging to reap congratulations from his family and Team Penske crew at the Yard of Bricks start-finish line.
Santino Ferrucci finished third in the No. 14 Homes For Our Troops Chevrolet. It was the best “500” finish for AJ Foyt Racing since Eliseo Salazar also finished third in 2000.
Pole sitter Alex Palou rallied from being pinned against the pit wall by Rinus VeeKay early in the race and falling deep into the 33-car field to finish fourth in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing. Palou kept the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship lead, holding a 219-199 lead over Ericsson.
2016 “500” winner Alexander Rossi rounded out the top five in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. His teammate and 2013 “500” winner Tony Kanaan finished 16th in his 22nd and final Indy 500 start in the No. 66 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, also the final INDYCAR SERIES start for the popular Brazilian.
Benjamin Pedersen was the best finisher among the four “500” rookies in the field, 21st in the No. 55 AJ Foyt Racing/Sexton Properties Chevrolet after being eliminated from the race in a late, multicar accident. That incident triggered the last of the event-record three competition-related red flags, all in the last 15 laps of the race.
The scintillating finish came in a one-lap showdown for victory after the third red flag. Pedersen, the No. 33 Bitnile.com Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter and the No. 24 DRR Cusick CareKeepers Chevrolet of Graham Rahal were collected in a chain-reaction collision on a Lap 196 restart after the second red flag.
After the cleanup for that incident, the remaining running cars returned to the track from pit lane on Lap 199 behind the hardtop convertible Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Pace Car, which peeled off the track at the end of that lap to create the last-lap dash for glory.
Ericsson got a big jump on the restart with the green and white flags in the air atop the flag stand and led in Turns 1 and 2 on the 2.5-mile oval. But Newgarden gained ground in Turn 2 and darted to the outside on the back straightaway with the crowd of more than 300,000 on its feet in rapture.
Newgarden powered past Ericsson and was able to clear his rival just before entering Turn 3. It appeared Ericsson looked to return the favor on the front straight, but Newgarden used the same snaking driving maneuver to hold off Ericsson that the Swede used last year to parry Pato O’Ward and earn his first “500” victory. Today was only the third time in Indy 500 history a driver used a last-lap pass to win.
“I was just trying to stay locked in,” Newgarden said. “I was emotional the last 10 laps because I knew we were in a position to fight for this win at the end. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew it was going to come to some last-lap shootout like it always is these days, which is exciting but stressful for us.”
Newgarden only led five laps, taking the top spot for the first time for one lap during pit stop cycles on Lap 157. He climbed into the lead for the second time, with all pit stops done, on Lap 193 when a crash between the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet of O’Ward, the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda of 2019 “500” winner Simon Pagenaud and the No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet of rookie Augustin Canapino triggered the second red flag.
Ericsson grabbed the lead from Newgarden on a breathtaking three-wide restart also involving Ferrucci on Lap 196 that was truncated quickly by the incident involving Carpenter, Pedersen and Rahal, setting up the final showdown.
Swedish driver Ericsson expressed dismay with the late red flag and one-lap showdown, hoping instead the race would end under caution with him out front.
“I think we did everything right today,” Ericsson said. “I’m proud of the No. 8 crew and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. I think I did everything right behind the wheel. I did an awesome last restart. I think I caught Josef completely off guard and got the gap and kept the lead into Turn 1.
“I just couldn’t hold it on the back. I was flat. I just couldn’t hold it.”
O’Ward led a race-high 39 laps, one of 14 different drivers to lead today. There were 52 lead changes, the third-highest total in Indianapolis 500 history.
Newgarden will split $20,000 with Team Penske and his chosen charities, SeriousFun Children’s Network and Wags and Walks Nashville, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.
The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit presented by Lear on Sunday, June 4 on a new circuit on the streets of Detroit. Live coverage starts at noon PT on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
Kirkwood Drives to First Career Victory!
Kyle Kirkwood sealed the deal.
Kirkwood earned his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory Sunday by winning the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach from the pole in the No. 27 AutoNation Honda. The win came in Kirkwood’s 20th career start and third with Andretti Autosport, which he joined after driving for AJ Foyt Racing as a rookie in 2022.
“This is amazing, man,” Kirkwood said. “What a day. The calmest day I’ve had in two years, and it was a win.
“I was so happy with just the pole yesterday, but I’m over the moon right now. This is incredible for the whole team. We had a stellar day for the whole team with Andretti Autosport.”
Andretti Autosport teammate Romain Grosjean finished second in the No. 28 DHL Honda, .9907 of a second behind Kirkwood. It was the first 1-2 finish for Andretti Autosport since Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay swept all three podium spots at the second race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in September 2020.
2022 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Marcus Ericsson rounded out the podium finishers in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda and took the championship lead by 15 points over Pato O’Ward, who finished 17th in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.
Southern California native Herta finished fourth at his home race in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda to help Andretti Autosport take first, second and fourth as its resurgence continues early this season. 2021 series champion Alex Palou placed fifth in the No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda, as he and Ericsson drove Chip Ganassi Racing to two of the top five spots. There were 253 on-track passes, the most at Long Beach since INDYCAR started tracking passes at the famed street circuit in 2009.
Florida native Kirkwood entered the series last season in the tire tracks of becoming the first driver to sweep titles in USF2000, USF Pro 2000 and INDY NXT by Firestone in successive seasons. But he had an incident-filled rookie season with the Foyt team and ended up 24th in the championship, the second-lowest full-time driver in the standings.
The first two races of this season also were rocky for Kirkwood, 24. He finished 15th in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding and was eliminated by a mechanical problem from the PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway in 27th place.
But Kirkwood put everything together this weekend on the sun-splashed streets of the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary circuit, finally fulfilling the huge promise he showed throughout the junior categories. The win helped him jump from 20th to fifth in the championship standings.
“I just had a moment of relaxation (after crossing the finish line), to be honest,” Kirkwood said. “I felt like I needed this win, and we got it today. A moment of relief, no doubt.”
Said team owner Michael Andretti: “He’s the real deal. We knew it a long time ago when he won the championship for us in the INDY NXT series. We knew he was something special.”
Kirkwood led 53 of 85 laps and took the lead for good on Lap 56.
Reigning event winner Josef Newgarden had pitted from the lead under green in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet on Lap 52, with Grosjean entering the pits for the final time from second on Lap 53. Kirkwood followed suit on Lap 54 and was able to exit the pits comfortably on front of Newgarden and Grosjean.
When Palou made his final stop on Lap 55, Kirkwood cycled back to the lead. Grosjean kept his teammate honest over the closing 30 laps, lingering within about a second for most of the time. But Grosjean had to conserve fuel due to stopping a lap earlier than Kirkwood and couldn’t use his available, but fuel-gulping, push-to-pass until the final lap. By then, it was too late.
“It’s awesome for Kyle; I’m happy for him,” Grosjean said. “I wish I was in his position right now, but he drove a hell of a race, like a champ, the whole weekend. He deserved that. We tried everything we could on our end, but it was a fuel situation, so we couldn’t really attack.”
Still, like Kirkwood, the podium finish was a needed shot of redemption for Grosjean. He finished 18th and 14th in the first two races, eliminated in accidents in both.
Newgarden led 27 laps after starting eighth but also had to conserve fuel down the stretch and faded to ninth place at the finish.
Kirkwood will split $10,000 with Andretti Autosport and his chosen charity, AutoNation DRVPNK, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.
The next event of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season is the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix on Sunday, April 30 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.
Acura Grand Prix Concludes With A Honda Sweep, Continuation Of The Andretti Family Tradition And A Feast For The Fans!
A bright blue sky emerged just as the US Navy’s F/A-18 fighter jets roared above Shoreline Drive to signal the start of the 48th Annual Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach’s main event. That set the stage for a sunny day for NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver Kyle Kirkwood, Honda Racing, the Andretti family tradition and the fans.
Kirkwood of Andretti Autosport won his first INDYCAR race, a feat that brought back some very happy memories for team owner Michael Andretti, who in 1986 earned his first (and, in 2002, his final) INDYCAR victory on this very track.
The Andretti legend at Long Beach began when Michael’s father Mario won in 1977 in the race’s infancy, putting the event on the worldwide map as a premier motorsports event. Mario went on to win three more times here.
“There’s so many things we’ve done at Long Beach,” Michael said almost searching for words to express his overflowing emotions. “It’s all just very special for us.”
“I watched this race as a kid,” Kirkwood said. “I’m going to let it soak in for a while.”
Honda Racing will also let it soak in, as it took not just the win but the top five places. It was a dominating performance for the Torrance-based manufacturer on its home track.
The day began with a flashback to the past with the Historic F1 Challenge featuring some Formula 1 cars that race here in the pre-INDYCAR days, including Mario’s black Lotus that propelled him to that landmark ‘77 victory. It ended with the ramp-jumping SPEED/ UTV Stadium SUPER Trucks and the Porsche Carrera North America Cup race.
The fans let the day soak in, too, seasoned ones as well as Grand Prix rookies. “Cheering for our ‘pretty in pink’ car!!” one stated while experiencing the GP for the first time from her perch in grandstand 27.
Throughout the day the fans feasted on the racing action, the food, the drinks and the overall scene of the Grand Prix that has made this an annual mark-your-calendars event in Southern California.
All of which has everyone looking forward to the 49th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, which will take place April 19-21.
Porsche Scores First GTP Class Victory; Lexus and BMW Get Class Wins
The first sprint race of the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) era for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship produced intense competition between multiple manufacturers, daring strategy, a thrilling finish and a historical first victory in the category for Porsche Penske Motorsport.
Nick Tandy kept the No. 6 Porsche 963 within striking distance of pole winner Filipe Albuquerque (No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06) in the opening stint of Saturday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Acura made its only scheduled pit stop just over 40 minutes into the 1-hour, 40-minute timed race, changing to a fresh set of Michelin tires for co-driver Ricky Taylor.
The Porsche stopped a lap later, and crucially, did not take on new tires. That left Mathieu Jaminet, who took over for Tandy, and Porsche Penske Motorsport’s No. 7 car shared by Felipe Nasr and Matt Campbell running 1-2. They enjoyed a comfortable cushion but were entering uncharted territory in terms of tire degradation and wear.
Still, it was worth the gamble because the Porsche drivers didn’t believe they had the ability to win the race on pure speed.
“We kind of knew from practice and qualifying that our pace was probably not going to win us a race,” Tandy related. “We wanted to try something different, and one of our options was to try and negate the tire warm-up issue that many teams have had in GTP this year, so we went with no tires.
“What we didn’t know was how the tire was going to end up over the last 40 minutes because nobody had run the tire that long.”
Sure enough, the Porsches began experiencing significant rear tire wear in the closing laps. Campbell cleanly defended second place, at one point losing the left rear wing endplate after contact from Taylor’s Acura. He got a slight reprieve when Taylor brushed the Turn 8 wall with 13 minutes remaining, but Taylor recovered and passed Campbell for second place with nine minutes to go and a seven-second deficit to the leader.
Jaminet got caught in traffic with under three minutes remaining, allowing Taylor to close right up. Time for two dramatic laps.
The Acura drafted the Porsche down Shoreline Drive, drawing level under braking into Turn 1. But Taylor misjudged the maneuver and skidded wide into a tire barrier while third-place runner Connor de Phillippi in the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 just squeaked past.
With the No. 10 Acura embedded in the tires, the race ended under caution, Jaminet and Tandy celebrating a monumental first win for the Porsche 963. De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly claimed second place in the No. 25 BMW, with Campbell and Nasr completing the podium third in the No. 7.
The win was the eighth in WeatherTech Championship competition for Jaminet and the 19th for Tandy. It was also the 33rd IMSA triumph for the Penske team, the first since WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in late 2020.
“(Taylor) had fresher tires and after I got caught in traffic with two laps to go, it made sense that he went for it,” Jaminet said. “I braked really late, and I saw him going past. I thought, ‘If he can make it stop, I’ll be impressed.’ I saw him lock up and he went straight in the fence.
“I knew it was going to be very close,” he added. “I just tried to make no mistakes with the traffic. As a team, you need to figure out the opportunities and take what’s there when it’s in front of you. Today was a real team effort, in the pits and with car No. 7. Everybody can be proud today.”
The Porsche strategy worked well because prior to the finish under yellow, the race featured only one other full-course caution, right at the start when Sebastien Bourdais experienced a braking issue just before Turn 1, spun and contacted the outside wall. Yelloly’s BMW tapped Tom Blomqvist in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06 into a spin, putting the outside front row qualifier a lap down.
Albuquerque led the first 30 laps before Jaminet took over at the front for the final 43 tours.
Like the No. 10 Acura, the No. 25 BMW executed a four-tire pit stop and De Phillippi looked racy at the end as he closed on Jaminet and Taylor prior to Taylor’s crash. The No. 24 BMW driven by Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus finished fourth.
“Nick drove a brilliant first stint and it was clear we had the pace,” De Phillippi said after the No. 25 car’s second consecutive runner-up finish. “We ran a little longer than everyone else to see what they were doing with the tires. We were hoping to have a little better tires at the end – which we did. I’m really proud of the team.”
Qualifying and strategy are often keys to success in winning the 100-minute Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Vasser Sullivan used both to its advantage Saturday to claim the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD PRO class win with Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat aboard the team’s No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3.
Hawksworth qualified on the GTD PRO class pole position, but second among all GT cars behind GT Daytona (GTD) class polesitter, Marco Sorensen in the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
The Englishman got around the Dane off the start as the GT field avoided a pair of spinning Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) cars on the first-lap run down to Turn 1. That positioned Hawksworth clear of the GTD class leader as a buffer to the rest of the GTD PRO field, and set up the Vasser Sullivan crew to deliver a pit stop to ensure the car stayed up front once the pit window opened.
Pitting shortly after the 40-minute mark, the last of the three leading GTD PRO contenders to do so, Hawksworth turned over the No. 14 Lexus to co-driver Barnicoat. His countryman brought it home by 2.785 seconds to take this car’s third win in the last six GTD PRO races, dating to 2022 (Road America, Motul Petit Le Mans). The win is Hawksworth’s 10th in the WeatherTech Championship and Barnicoat’s fourth. The car led all 73 laps of the race, as well.
“Perfect weekend for us, really,” Hawksworth said. “One of the best executed races we’ve been a part of. It was good to clear Sorensen off the start, and that put our Lexus RC F GT3 up at the front. Had an amazing pit stop and then Ben drove his tail off from there.”
The win is a banner one for the Vasser Sullivan team, co-owned by James “Sulli” Sullivan and Jimmy Vasser. It’s the team’s first street course victory since Hawksworth and Richard Heistand won at Detroit in 2019. Vasser’s got a third Long Beach win now, having won as an owner with Will Power in the Champ Car finale in 2008 and as an IndyCar driver in 1996.
With finishes of third, second and first to start the 2023 season, the No. 14 pairing is in good position to contend for the GTD PRO class championship. Unofficially, the No. 14 pair lead the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 pairing of Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella by 73 points.
Behind the Lexus, Corvette Racing finished second with Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia sharing the No. 3 Corvette Racing C8.R GTD. Pfaff Motorsports completed the podium with Patrick Pilet and Klaus Bachler in the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R (992).
Taylor made his way past Bachler in the second stage of the race, and the forceful pass was reviewed with no disciplinary action from race officials. Taylor and Bachler both put on late charges, Taylor on Barnicoat and Bachler on Taylor, but neither made a move past their rival in front.
After both cars’ 2022 Long Beach race was sabotaged by a freak incident when a wayward Corvette wheel nut leapt into and punctured the Pfaff Porsche’s radiator on a pit stop, both cars were back on the podium Saturday.
“Starting P3 on a street course isn’t a terrible place to start. We’re here to win.”
Words from Madison Snow after Friday qualifying proved prescient as he and Bryan Sellers prepared to win their third straight Long Beach GTD race in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 from third place on the starting grid.
With a team known for executing excellent strategic moves and pit stops from the box, the No. 1 car vaulted from that third place to first after the only pit stop of the race. For that, the team’s third straight win in Long Beach’s 100-minute race was achieved.
The pivotal moment in class came after the 35-minute minimum drive time window opened for GTD teams to switch drivers. With 65 minutes remaining in the race, Sorensen (No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin), Frankie Montecalvo (No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3) and Mike Skeen (No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3) all dipped into Long Beach’s long, winding and curved pit lane for the driver change.
Snow stayed out a lap later on an overcut, with the pressure now on the PMR crew to ensure a clean handoff from Snow to Sellers and exit ahead of the No. 27. The BMW came back onto the track just ahead of the Aston Martin.
From there, all Sellers had to do was keep the hard-charging Roman De Angelis – and the rest of the GTD contenders – behind him to ensure the victory.
“Certainly, everyone that’s been up here has talked about track position and how hard it is to pass,” Sellers said. “Our race was decided in the pits. I think were three or so seconds faster than the Aston in the pits. Madison had two really good in laps, which were key. We reviewed the race from last year.”
The win is Sellers’ 16th and Snow’s 11th in IMSA and their second straight in 2023 after also claiming the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring victory. It also marks one year since Sellers and Snow delivered the first BMW M4 GT3 win in the WeatherTech Championship.
Sorensen and De Angelis finished second in their No. 27 Aston Martin, 4.468 seconds in arrears, with Montecalvo and Aaron Telitz third in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus.
The No. 1 pair of Sellers and Snow unofficially leads the No. 27 pair of De Angelis and Sorensen by 99 points after three races, with Montecalvo, Telitz and the No. 12 Lexus just one point farther back.
The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Motul Course de Monterey Powered by Hyundai N, May 12-14 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Day 2 Report: NTT INDYCAR SERIES Grid Set, IMSA Puts On A Show and Fans Are The Real Winners!
The grid is set, winners have been to Victory Circle and fans continued to pour into the facility.
Kyle Kirkwood is on the pole for Sunday’s featured NTT INDYCAR SERIES race. The debut of the GTP class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race ended with a thrilling finish. The SPEED/UTV Stadium Super Trucks banged and jumped; the Porsche Carrera Cup cars raced; Super Drift thrilled and Historic F1 cars brought some of the event’s past back to the present, loud and clear.
Saturday was another full day at the 2023 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, a 200 mph beach party on a glorious and sunny Southern California day.
There was certainly plenty to see. And hear.
The Grand Prix is known as the “Roar By The Shore” and for good reason. Each of the six racing series provides different ranges of engine noises – the high pitch of the vintage F1 cars, the deep-throated sounds of IMSA, the whirring power of the Indy cars, for instance – and DJs blast music from all over the facility, including from some sponsor tents selling refreshments that are synonymous with this grand event.
From the Lifestyle Expo to “Main Street” outside the Long Beach Arena, to the grandstands, to the huge area by the marina and all along the promenade, fans basked in the atmosphere that has earned this event the title of “Monaco of the West.”
Those with a paddock pass got an unexpected bonus when Mario Andretti popped out of the Andretti Autosport trailer. Not only did they get up close to the racing legend and four-time Long Beach winner, but some got his autograph.
All-star rock band Kings Of Chaos provided the final soundtrack of the day during the free Saturday night concert, along with the Super Drift Challenge which held its final competition at night.
On Sunday, the gates open at 7:30 a.m., the INDYCAR morning warmup taking place at 9 a.m.; the pageantry of pre-race ceremonies – which includes Anaheim Ducks star forward Adam Henrique as Grand Marshal, CW star Grant Gustin of “The Flash,” the National Anthem performed by Tim Kepler of the Ducks and LA Angels, an F/A-18 fighter jet flyover, and Golden Knights parachute team starts at 11:48 a.m., with the green flag at 12:45 p.m. The day wraps up with the Stadium Super Trucks racing at 3:30 p.m. with the Porsche Carrera Cup at 4:20 p.m.
Acura Goes 1-2 in IMSA WeatherTech Qualifying!
The IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship is famous for multiclass racing.
Friday on the 1.968-mile Long Beach street course, Filipe Albuquerque and Acura were in a class by themselves.
Albuquerque clocked a lap of 1 minute, 9.909 seconds (101.343 mph) in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06 to claim the Motul Pole Award for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. It was the Portuguese driver’s fourth career IMSA pole and the first of both the 2023 season and the WeatherTech Championship’s new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) era for Albuquerque and Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport.
Tom Blomqvist locked up the front row for Acura with the second-fastest qualifying lap, a 1:10.583 (100.375 mph) in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian ARX-06 he shares with Colin Braun.
Acura’s previous prototype, built to Daytona Prototype international (DPi) specifications, tended to struggle on the bumpy Long Beach street course. But Albuquerque was confident that the new ARX-06 he shares with Ricky Taylor would be more competitive than its predecessor.
His confidence was justified as the pair of Acuras displayed a significant speed advantage in the two practice sessions earlier in the day, and that strong performance carried over into qualifying.
After starting the season with 24- and 12-hour endurance contests, the 100-minute Long Beach race opens the sprint portion of the WeatherTech Championship schedule.
“The last two years we were always suffering here, but statistics in the first two races this year showed we are really competitive,” Albuquerque said. “But I must say I was not expecting to be so competitive compared to the competitors – especially the Cadillac. (The Cadillac) has no turbo engine, so putting the power down is a strong point for that car. But obviously they are struggling with something.
“At the end of the day, it’s about ticking all the boxes on a complex car that everybody is still learning about,” he added. “I think the communication between Honda Performance Development and the teams is going fantastic and smooth. We did the homework, and it’s paying off. I’m super happy about it.”
Defending Long Beach winner Sebastien Bourdais set the early pace in the 20-minute qualifying session in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R before Albuquerque became the first driver to break into the 1-minute, 11-second bracket.
Blomqvist briefly took the top spot with a 1:10.720 with five minutes remaining, only for Albuquerque to quickly reestablish his dominance with three consecutive quickest laps, topped by the only sub-1:10 lap of the day.
He revealed that he ran eight consecutive hours in HPD’s simulator in Brownsburg, Indiana, last week in preparation for Long Beach.
“No food, nothing to eat, just covering all that we needed to do,” he said.
“When we were building this car, we definitely tried to put on paper why we were struggling in the past at Long Beach and Sebring,” Albuquerque added. “And we made it right. When you’re looking at your performance, you focus on your weaknesses. I’m just happy the work we all did is paying off. It was a lot of hours.”
Bourdais posted a 1:10.981 lap (99.812 mph) to claim the third qualifying position but was still more than a second behind Albuquerque. He was followed by the two BMW M Hybrid V8s prepared by BMW M Team RLL.
The last time Jack Hawksworth collected a Motul Pole Award in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, it led to a race win. Hawksworth is looking to repeat that scenario in Long Beach this weekend.
The 32-year-old Brit pushed the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 to a Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) track record in qualifying Friday on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street. With a best lap of 1 minute, 17.817 seconds (91.044 mph), Hawksworth eclipsed the previous GTD PRO standard set last year by Jordan Taylor by nearly a quarter-second and will head the five-car class field to the green flag in the 100-minute sprint race.
“Really happy with that,” said Hawksworth, who was the second-fastest overall GT qualifier to Sorensen in the No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3. “The boys have done a mega job the last couple of days. We kind of struggled at this track in the past but the car’s been on rails ever since we got here.”
Hawksworth earned his ninth career WeatherTech Championship pole position and first at Long Beach. His last pole came in the 2022 season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, where he and co-drivers Ben Barnicoat and Kyle Kirkwood went on to win the race, completing a four-race stretch to close the season where they won twice and finished third twice.
They’ve carried that momentum into 2023, placing third in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and second at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Hawksworth believes he and Barnicoat are positioned to take that next step to the top of the podium Saturday after realizing the improvements in the Lexus from past Long Beach visits.
“It was really good to come back here and see the work that the guys have done,” he said. “We really concentrated on trying to extract performance from the car, and the minute we rolled off the truck, the car fit in the window.
“We did a lot of race running today (in practice) and we felt really good in terms of consistency and (tire) degradation,” Hawksworth added. “We feel good about tomorrow, but you just never know until you go racing, right? But we’re in good shape.”
Defending race winner Ross Gunn qualified second in GTD PRO at 1:17.958 (90.879 mph) in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 ahead of third-place qualifier Patrick Pilet in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), who posted a best lap of 1:18.083 (90.734 mph). Pilet and co-driver Klaus Bachler are going for their second consecutive victory after winning last month’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Marco Sorensen set the bar pretty high for his first qualifying attempt on the streets of Long Beach, and his first street circuit qualifying in a Grand Touring car.
The Dane took the No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to a new outright GTD category record lap of 1 minute 17.811 seconds (91.051 mph), to put a GT Daytona (GTD) class car at the front of all 20 GT cars. This is Sorensen’s first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship pole position.
Sorensen was one of three who beat the previous GTD PRO mark of 1 minute 18.048 seconds (90.774 mph) set by Jordan Taylor, and one of four who eclipsed the previous GTD mark of 1 minute 18.487 seconds (90.267 mph) set by Madison Snow. Both of those were set last year.
“To be honest, with it being the first time for me here in Long Beach, I’m a bit surprised we pulled this off,” said Sorensen, who shares the No. 27 Aston Martin with Roman De Angelis. “I really enjoy street circuits. They get adrenaline going again in the system and it’s so good to get the pole.”
Frankie Montecalvo (No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3), Snow (No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3) and Mike Skeen (No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3) also beat Snow’s 2022 pole mark in Friday’s qualifying session and will start second through fourth in the 15-car GTD class field.
The 15-minute qualifying session came to an early end with a red flag within the final minute for separate incidents at Turn 8. Ashton Harrison (No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR Acura NSX GT3) and PJ Hyett (No. 80 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)) both hit the concrete retaining wall exiting the corner, although both drivers got out of their cars.
The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach airs live from 5-7 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network, Peacock and IMSA Radio.
Day 1 Report – Big Crowd, Exciting Events Mark the Day Under Sunny Skies at the Grand Prix!
It was a fast Friday at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach as cars roared down Shoreline Drive and the whole spectacle of the event kicked into full gear.
It began when the first cars turned their first wheels on the famous street track and fans cruised through the entrances, some ready to enter before the gates even opened in the morning.
Throughout the day, people lined up for autograph sessions – including those from the NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers – walked through the Lifestyle Expo looking at the cars and vendor booths, browsed and bought merchandise, took full advantage of all the food and drink options and took out their cellphones to get photos and videos of themselves and the fast-moving cars. Kids really enjoyed the Fun Zone, especially bouncing on the inflatables.
Not only that but the clouds and mist from earlier in the week succumbed to sunshine and shirt-sleeve weather typical of Grand Prix weekend.
All six racing organizations taking part in the Acura Grand Prix saw action on Friday. In the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, which had a late afternoon practice session, the personable Pato O’Ward led the pack, followed by Scott Dixon, Colton Herta, Marcus Ericsson and Alexander Rossi in the top 5. You can find all the results and times at the IndyCar website.
When daytime transformed into the evening, Mexican-American DJ and producer Boombox Cartel was booming tunes during the free concert at the same time the Super Drift Challenge drivers were challenging for the win in the first of its two weekend showcase events. Saturday, the music is from all-star rock band Kings Of Chaos.
Rome Charpentier, coming off a second-place run at the Formula Drift season-opener, took Super Drift Challenge #1 over two-time defending champ Forrest Wang.
On Saturday, the gates open at 7:30 a.m., with a full day that includes the first of two Historic F1 Challenge races on the weekend (11:20 a.m.), INDYCAR qualifying at 12:05 p.m., the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar race at 2 p.m., the first of two weekend races for the SPEED/UTV Stadium Super Trucks (4:30 p.m.) and Porsche Carrera Cup (5:15 p.m.) as well as the final Super Drift Challenge at 7 p.m.
Yaamava' Resort & Casino Joins Sponsor Family
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel has joined as an official sponsor of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, to be held April 14-16, officials from both organizations announced today.
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino, located in Highland, is the region’s only Forbes Travel Guide Five-star and Four-star-rated property for resort and dining options and an American Automobile Association (AAA) four-diamond rated hotel that has 432 rooms and suites, along with a casino boasting more than 7,000 slots, five high-limit gaming rooms and an all-new pool area. In addition, Yaamava’ has a full array of dining options, multiple bars and lounges, a sports venue, a theater, luxe retail shops and a generous player’s reward program.
Yaamava’ General Manager, Peter Arceo, says the partnership reflects the goals of bringing the best entertainment to the region.
“We are excited to announce this sponsorship and to support an event that touts a jam-packed weekend of fun for all who attend,” Arceo said. “We pride ourselves in being the number one destination for entertainment and seek every opportunity to partner with businesses that deliver on the ultimate fandom experience. We look forward to connecting with fans and guests at this year’s event.”
As a part of this agreement, Yaamava’ will have a strong presence at the event, with branding and signage displayed throughout the circuit. The company will also have hospitality and other activations throughout the weekend.
"We are delighted to have Yaamava’ aboard as a sponsor of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach," said Jim Michaelian, President and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. "Its commitment to providing an exceptional entertainment experience for their guests aligns perfectly with our mission to create unforgettable experiences for our fans."
The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend will feature the third round of the NTT INDYCAR® SERIES, along with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with its all-new GTP (GT Prototype) class, GTD PRO and GTD (GT Daytona) classes.
Fans will also see two nights of the Super Drift Challenge, plus Saturday and Sunday races from Robby Gordon’s SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks and Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America, along with a doubleheader of the new-for-2023 Historic F1 Challenge, featuring vintage Formula 1 cars from the 1970s and ‘80s.
Ticket prices range from $38 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $175 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, NTT INDYCAR SERIES Paddock access passes ($70 for three days or $30 per individual day), Super Photo tickets and an array of VIP Club packages.
Fans can select and pay for their 2023 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach seats, parking and paddock passes online at gplb.com. Ticket orders can also be placed by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, (888) 827-7333.
For more information, the all-new official Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach app is available for iPhone in the App Store and Android on Google Play. Fans can also follow the Acura Grand Prix on Facebook at GrandPrixLB, Twitter @GPLongBeach and Instagram at GPLongBeach.
About Yaamava’ Resort & Casino:
Yaamava' Resort & Casino at San Manuel is the only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star and Four-Star-rated and AAA Diamond-rated entertainment destination in the Inland Empire (IE), featuring a 17-floor hotel with spacious suites, an elevated pool deck, a Forbes Five-Star-rated spa and salon, and a state-of-the-art theater. Located just 70 miles from downtown Los Angeles in Highland, CA, the Casino has more than 7,000 slots, five high-limit gaming rooms, luxury retail shops, a wide variety of award-winning dining options, and more than a dozen bars and lounges, including the IE’s premiere sports bar, The 909 Food Hall. The San Manuel Entertainment Authority owns and operates Yaamava’ Resort & Casino.
For more information, visit www.yaamava.com or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel is located at 777 San Manuel Blvd, Highland, Calif. 92346. Telephone 800-359-2464.