Sun, Fun and Horsepower, Long Beach Grand Prix Goes Green Flag , Helio Crashes
The Accura Long Beach Grand Prix is the second most attended race of the NTT IndyCar season, with 100,000 spectators watching live on the streets of Long Beach to watch their favorite IndyCar drivers race to the finish.
As soon as the race went green, it went yellow... here is how it all started..
The 85 laps of trying to avoid the iconic Dolphin Fountain... started with a leading 4-time winner of the Indy 500, 22 years from the date he won the Grand Prix, crashing and then starting the race with very little downforce..
Andretti AutoSports was represented by Kyle Kirkwood, who ran his rookie year with AJ Foyt racing and secured his first pole position for his career. Coming off of a massive crash at St. Pete, Kirkwood, had placed at Long Beach Grand Prix in a thrilling NTT Pole position.
"Everyone is going to be fighting for this top position and we have 27 guys who are able to go out and win this race, but I will get some clean air and I can hang on to this lead for a while," Kirkwood told pre-race media.
26% of pole winners have won Long Beach; Romain Grosjean had a great chance of winning, as well as prerace correspondents pointed out. Pato O'Ward and Josef Newgarden were definaelty on the short list of racers who were favored to win.
"This is going to be a Gnarly race. This is a building like St. Pete with tires. We need to maximize and utilize that green Rubber today," Newgarden said.
What is the green on the tires? Firestone Racing's Cara Krstolic, Director of Race Tire Engineering and Manufacturing, talked about it:
Pato O'Ward was excited about the race and had a lot of support from Mexico, with lots of people who came to the race, and that was exciting for him, saying he saw them in their Pato T-Shirts.
Race announcers wondered if Pato would try to jump ahead as he had in the past, referring to the rilvary between O'Ward and Newgarden.
In the end, it was Newgarden and Erricson who were on the gas early.
NBC reported on the building tensions Saturday, " On the same night that the ballyhooed “100 Days to Indy” premiered, so did the impromptu debut of “The Pato and Josef Comedy Revue.”
The long-awaited docuseries about the NTT IndyCar Series was screened Wednesday in a glitzy, Hollywood-style red carpet event ahead of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, and the first of six episodes focused heavily on Josef Newgarden (and especially the two-time champion’s highly sculpted abs).
But in the extended and loose Q&A with five drivers on stage, the star clearly was Pato O’Ward, who playfully made Newgarden his favorite target. The IndyCar points leader is a foodie who keeps a list of his favorite restaurants in the notes app on his phone that he proudly shares."
David Malukas took some time to make a quick video saying that his crew had busted out a new setup for him after a disastrous practice day on Saturday.
Here he explains:
Adam Henrique gave the command to start engines at 3:39 PM Eastern and it was almost time to go racing.. with the sound of 27 IndyCars eagar to race, the streets of Long Beach was full of men searching for victory behind a black and white checkered flag.
First lap Helio Castroneves had a wild start:
Kirkwood took off again- after the second green, after the cleanup of Helios's absolutely disappointing start.. the streets are alive in Long Beach again...
Here is the strategy:
And because of the incredible racing and by lap 5 Helio was back out and ready to go racing.: