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Streets Of Long Beach Is Like a Street Fight for IndyCar: Both Humiliation and Victory Looms Sunday

The longest-running major street race in North America is the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Al Unser Jr has 6 wins there. It Draws over 185,000 fans for a 3-day, 2-night festival where world-class racing takes to the streets of Downtown Long Beach, California.

All of Long Beach becomes a street festival atmosphere with Six different series, highlighted by an INDYCAR race on Sunday and the IMSA WeatherTech sports car series on Saturday.

But for the drivers- it is so much more than a party, it is a street right and drivers have had the highest highs and the lowest lows at this challenging circuit.

Last year's winner Josef Newgarden completed the 85-lap race in 1 hour, 46 minutes with an average speed of 93.977 mph, outdueling Romain Grosjean and Alex Palou. Other drivers to watch include six-time series champ Scott Dixon and past Long Beach winners Alexander Rossi, Colton Herta and Pato O'Ward.

A thrilling knockout-style qualifying session is set for Saturday to determine grid positions for Sunday's race and the pulse-pounding dive into Turn 1.

Josef Newgarden is having a great year, after winning back-to-back Texas races- he is looking forward to Long Beach this weekend.

But he will have a hungry driver to deal with who may get in his way.

Marcus Ericsson said he was some things on his mind that is driving him toward a victory- because last year’s race at Long Beach is the site where Ericsson lost a podium – and potential victory – after an incident with 19 laps to go knocked him out of third place and watching the remaining contest from inside of Turn 5.

“I feel a big hunger of revenge going back to Long Beach because I was on for a really good result there last year when late in the race, I tapped a wall there and crashed out of running P3 there toward the very end,” said Ericsson, the 2022 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner. “I was very disappointed about that finish last year because we had a really strong car there, and I had a really good race going. So, I'll use that hunger and go back and try and be on the top step of the podium in Long Beach.”

Here are some notes from NTT IndyCar:

Race weekend: Friday, April 14 - Sunday, April 16

Track: 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course (clockwise) in Long Beach, California

Race distance: 85 laps / 167.28 miles

Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

Firestone tire allotment: Six sets primary, five sets alternate. Rookie drivers are allowed one extra primary set for Practice 1.

Twitter: @GPLongBeach, @INDYCAR, #AGPLB, #INDYCAR

Instagram: @GPLongBeach, @INDYCAR, #AGPLB, #INDYCAR

Facebook: @GrandPrixLB, @INDYCAR, #INDYCAR

TikTok: @grandprixlongbeach, @INDYCAR, #INDYCAR


Event website:

INDYCAR website:

2022 race winner: Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet)

2022 NTT P1 Award: Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda), 1:05.3095, 108.480 mph

Qualifying lap record: Colton Herta, 1:05.3095, 108.480 mph, April 9, 2022

NBC Sports race telecast: 3 p.m. ET Sunday, April 16, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the play-by-play announcer for NBC's coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Marty Snider, Dave Burns and Kevin Lee are the pit reporters.

Peacock Live Streaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions, qualifying and races will stream live on Peacock, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton and turn announcers Nick Yeoman, Jake Query and Michael Young. Ryan Myrehn, Alex Wollf and Georgia Henneberry are the pit reporters. The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race and all NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying sessions air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM INDYCAR Nation 160 and SiriusXM NBC Sports Audio 85 (Race only), and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, April 14

3-4:15 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 1 (75-minute session), Peacock (live)

Saturday, April 15

8:45-9:45 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 2 (45-minute session), Peacock (live)

12:05 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock (live)

Sunday, April 16

9-9:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock (live)

Noon – Driver introductions

Noon – NBC on air

12:38 p.m. – Start engines command

12:45 p.m. – Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (85 laps/167.28 miles), NBC and Peacock (live)


1. Newgarden on repeat?: Since 2008 only Alexander Rossi has ever been able to back up one Long Beach win with another – he did it in 2018-19.

Josef Newgarden has the potential to double down after scoring his first victory at Long Beach last season. Newgarden won that race coming off a thrilling win at Texas Motor Speedway.

He enters 2023 looking in the same situation after his win at Texas on April 2. Can the Team Penske star score back-to-back races at Texas and Long Beach for the second year in a row?

2. It’s not where you start...: With the exception of Rossi’s wins in 2018-19, the pole has not been the place to start at Long Beach. Just five drivers have ever won Long Beach from the top spot, and while pole sitters have scored podium finishes in recent races – Newgarden was second in 2021 –they’ve also finished 15th or worse just as often (Colton Herta – 23rd in 2022, Ryan Hunter-Reay – 20th in 2014, Dario Franchitti – 15th in 2012, and Justin Wilson – 19th in 2008).

3. …It’s where you finish: Pato O’Ward and Scott Dixon are the only drivers so far this season to sweep the top five this season. O’Ward has back-to-back second-place finishes at St. Petersburg and Texas, while Dixon has finishes of third (St. Pete) and fifth (Texas).

Keeping that mark could be a challenge for both. O’Ward has only one top-five at Long Beach (third in 2022) in three previous starts while Dixon has six top-five finishes in 15 previous races at Long Beach.

Race Notes:

  • This weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the 39th INDYCAR SERIES event on the historic Long Beach street circuit. Mario Andretti won the first INDYCAR SERIES race there in 1984. Josef Newgarden won the race in 2022.

  • There have been two winners in as many races in 2023 – Marcus Ericsson (St. Petersburg) and Josef Newgarden (Texas). Since 2012, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES has averaged just under nine different race winners per season, including a record-tying 11 winners in 2014. There were nine different winners in the 17 races in 2022, with equally tight competition projected for this season.

  • Two California natives are entered: 2021 Long Beach race winner Colton Herta of Andretti Autosport hails from Valencia while 2018 and 2019 Long Beach race winner Alexander Rossi of Arrow McLaren is a native of Nevada City. Herta has won three of the last five INDYCAR SERIES races held in the Golden State (Laguna Seca 2019, Laguna Seca 2021 and Long Beach 2021).

  • Al Unser Jr. has won the most times at Long Beach (six). Will Power and Alexander Rossi are the only entered drivers with multiple wins. Power won in 2008 and 2012, and Rossi won in 2018 and 2019. Other former race winners scheduled to compete are Helio Castroneves (2001), Takuma Sato (2013), Scott Dixon (2015), Simon Pagenaud (2016), Colton Herta (2021) and Josef Newgarden (2022).

  • Five drivers have won the race from the pole – Mario Andretti (1984, 1985 and 1987), Al Unser Jr. (1989-90), Helio Castroneves (2001), Sebastien Bourdais (2006-07) and Alexander Rossi (2018-19).

  • Twenty-three of the 27 drivers entered have competed in INDYCAR SERIES races at Long Beach. Will Power has 16 starts, the most among all entered drivers. Eleven entered drivers have led laps: Helio Castroneves 194, Power 172, Alexander Rossi 151, Scott Dixon 104, Colton Herta 71, Josef Newgarden 54, Simon Pagenaud 54, Alex Palou 22, Graham Rahal 4, Devlin DeFrancesco 1 and Jack Harvey 1.

  • Four NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookies – Marcus Armstrong, Agustin Canapino, Benjamin Pedersen and Sting Ray Robb – are expected to compete. All will be making their first Long Beach INDYCAR SERIES start.

  • Milestones – Conor Daly will attempt to make his 100th INDYCAR SERIES start at Long Beach… Alex Palou will attempt to make his 50th INDYCAR SERIES start at Long Beach…Scott Dixon will look to extend his consecutive starts streak to 308 – the second-longest streak in INDYCAR SERIES history.

We sent our best wishes to drivers here are some of their comments, starting with awesome Marcus Ericsson who says he has some unfinished business- and he really does:

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