Grand Prix of Long Beach Race Report

Circuit: Grand Prix of Long Beach (1.968-mile temporary street circuit), Long Beach, Calif.
2013 Winner: Takuma Sato (A.J. Foyt Racing Honda), 83.763 mph race average
Weather: Sunny, mild, 65 degrees F

Fn.

St.

Driver      

Team

Engine - Chassis

Laps

Average Speed/Notes

  1.

17.

Mike Conway

Ed Carpenter Racing

Chevrolet Dallara

80

82.362 mph avg.; led 3 laps

  2.

14.

Will Power

Team Penske

Chevrolet Dallara

80

+0.9005 seconds

  3.

11.

Carlos Munoz-R

Andretti Autosport

Honda Dallara

80

 

  4.

16.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Team Penske

Chevrolet Dallara

80

 

  5.

  6.

Simon Pagenaud

Schmidt Peterson Hamilton  

Honda Dallara

80

 

  6.

20.

Mikhail Aleshin-R

Schmidt Peterson

Honda Dallara

80

 

  7.

12.

Oriol Servia

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda Dallara

80

 

  8.

  8.

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

Honda Dallara

80

 

  9.

22.

Sebastian Saavedra

KVAFS Racing

Chevrolet Dallara

80

 

10.

21.

Carlos Huertas-R

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda Dallara

80

 

Other Honda-powered Results:

13.

23.

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda Dallara

79

Running

15.

  5.

Jack Hawksworth-R

Bryan Herta Autosport

Honda Dallara

77

Running

16.

10.

Justin Wilson

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda Dallara

64

Did not finish – crash

19.

  4.

Josef Newgarden

Sarah Fisher Hartman

Honda Dallara

55

Did not finish – crash

20.

  1.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Honda Dallara

55

Did not finish – crash

21.

  2.

James Hinchcliffe

Andretti Autosport

Honda Dallara

55

Did not finish – crash

22.

15.

Takuma Sato

A.J. Foyt Racing

Honda Dallara

55

Did not finish – carsh

Munoz Claims Podium Finish at Long Beach

  • Honda drivers dominate first half of race
  • Multi-car crash eliminates lead trio of Newgarden, Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe
  • Pagenaud recovers from contact to finish fifth

A dominating Verizon IndyCar Series performance by Honda during the first half of Sunday's Grand Prix of Long Beach came to naught, as no fewer than a half-dozen Honda-powered potential winners saw their races either ended early or significantly delayed by contact on the concrete-lined Southern California street circuit.

Despite the high attrition, star rookie Carlos Munoz claimed his first Indy car podium of 2014 for Honda and Andretti Autosport with a well-judged run to third, while Simon Pagenaud finished fifth, despite a Lap 30 incident that saw the Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports driver knocked off course, resuming at the rear of the field.  

Starting from the pole – after Honda drivers claimed five of the top six starting positions in qualifying – Ryan Hunter-Reay led the first 26 laps, until his first scheduled pit stop.  After out-of-sequence drivers cycled through their second round of stops, Hunter-Reay returned to the lead until the second round of stops took place just after the 50-lap mark.

The exchange of second-round stops saw Josef Newgarden – who had spent much of the first half of the race running a very competitive third for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing – emerge from pit lane with a narrow lead over Hunter-Reay at the start of Lap 56.

After closely following Newgarden for several corners, Hunter-Reay attempted a pass, only to see the two Honda-powered Dallaras make contact, sending both into the wall and out of the race.  In addition to the leaders, third-place James Hinchcliffe's Andretti Autosport Honda and the Hondas of Jack Hawksworth and Takuma Sato were also collected in the incident. 

Only Hawksworth was able to resume, after a long pit stop for repairs to his Bryan Herta Autosport Honda.  He finished three laps down, in 15th, after running solidly in the top six prior to the incident. 

Before the multi-car Lap 56 crash, a tap from Will Power sent Pagenaud's Honda into the Turn 9 tire wall, while another Honda front-runner, Justin Wilson, was tapped into a spin in the Turn 11 hairpin after contact from Graham Rahal.  Pagenaud recovered, posting some of the fastest laps of the race to finish fifth.  But Wilson's attempt at a similar move through the field ended after a second incident of contact – this time with Scott Dixon – sent Wilson's Dale Coyne Racing Honda into the wall and out of the race.

Pagenaud's IndyCar rookie teammate, Mikhail Aleshin, finished sixth, followed by veterans Oriol Servia and Marco Andretti as, despite the crashes, Honda-powered drivers claimed five of the top eight finishing positions.

In recognition of his efforts on behalf of Teen Cancer America, rock and roll legend Roger Daltrey paired up with a racing legend – Mario Andretti – to lead the field in the two-seat Honda Indy car just prior to the start of Sunday's race. Daltrey and “The Who" bandmate Pete Townshend are the founders of Teen Cancer America, intended to ensure that teenagers and young adults with cancer get access to special facilities and treatments designed for them, in every cancer hospital in the U.S.

Honda-powered drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay and Justin Wilson, along with fellow Verizon IndyCar Series driver Scott Dixon, have ambassadorial roles with TCA and met with Daltrey on Sunday.  Interested fans can find more information on Honda's “Fastest Seat in Sports" two-seat Indy car program by going to www.shophonda.com.

Video News Releases from this weekend's action at Long Beach, featuring both the Verizon IndyCar Series and Saturday's TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, are being posted on a newly created “Honda Racing/HPD Trackside" YouTube channel produced by the Carolina Productions Group.  CPG will be providing video highlights packages following Honda Racing/HPD events during 2014.  The video packages can be found at: youtube.com/hondaracingtrackside.

The Verizon IndyCar Series now heads east to the scenic Barber Motorsports Park for the April 27 Honda Grand Prix of Alabama, to be televised live on the NBC Sports Network.

Verizon IndyCar Series Drivers' Championship (after 2 of 18 rounds):
1. Will Power 93 points (1 win) 6. Scott Dixon 51
2. Mike Conway 66 (1 win) 7. Carlos Munoz (R) 48
3. Simon Pagenaud 60 8. Juan Pablo Montoya 47
4. Helio Castroneves 55 9. Mikhail Aleshin 46
5. Ryan Hunter-Reay 54 10. Sebastian Saavedra 42

 

Manufacturers' Championship:
1. Chevrolet 245 (2 wins)
2. Honda 142

Carlos Munoz (#34 Cinsay Andretti Autosport Honda) started 11th, finished 3rd:  "It's not the way I'd like to earn my third place, with so many accidents, but this is racing.  Anything can happen, especially at this track.  But I'm really happy, it was a nice race.  I pushed hard on the last two laps trying to overtake Will [Power], but it was really difficult, even though I had some ‘push-to-pass' remaining.  But I'm happy, so I'm going to keep pushing."

Simon Pagenaud (#77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing Honda Dallara) started 6th, finished 5th:  “Our day was ruined by Will Power, and it's unfortunate because it was dirty driving on his part.  We'll move on, and I'm satisfied with fifth considering the spin and everything else we had to deal with today. We're off to a great start in the championship but the next time we have a car this good we're going to win. I'm very proud of our team for giving me a car to race with the fastest cars out there. We're showing that we're becoming one of the strongest teams in the series and that we can run up front every race weekend."

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race:  "I do believe it was obvious to everyone that the Honda engine was extremely competitive here at Long Beach.  Dominating qualifying, with five of the top six positions on the starting grid, was a good early indication of our performance.  And halfway through today's race, we were running 1-2-3 and held down eight of the top 12 positions.  Unfortunately, that's when the wheels came off the wagon.  Certainly, the multi-car accident that eliminated several of our top-running cars – including the top three – was a big blow, as were several other incidents that eliminated or delayed some of our best-placed entries.  But we're confident in our performance, and that of our teams, and we remain optimistic for the next race at Barber Motorsports Park and the rest of the 2014 season."

For photos from today's race, go to:
http://broadcast.sportssystems.com/hosting/display.cfm?key=101709

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