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Archive for April 8th, 2017

Power takes control in first day of qualifying at IndyCar’s Toyota Grand Prix at Long Beach

Will Power (2010 photo by Manningmbd via wikipedia commons

 

LONG BEACH, California (Friday, April 7, 2017) – Experience paid off on opening day at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, with all seven past race winners entered this year finishing in the top eight on the combined speed chart.

Will Power, a two-time Long Beach race winner, posted the best lap in the second of the two 45-minute practice sessions. Driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Power navigated the 11-turn, 1.968-temporary street course in 1 minute, 7.0800 seconds (105.617 mph). The quick lap is within a half-second of the track record set by Helio Castroneves in 2015 (1:06.6294).

“Sometimes you get it right, like the setup,” said Power, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar champion and Long Beach winner in 2008 and 2012. “You know, it’s only practice. (By being fastest,) you can show everybody where they’re lacking, they’ll go back and study it. I was hoping (other drivers) would go quicker, but they didn’t.

“But, yeah, it’s a cool track. Enjoy it, street course, just try to put the pieces together.”

TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH: Practice 1Practice 2Combined practice results

Marco Andretti, who ran second today with a lap of 1:07.3576 (105.182 mph) in the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda, was the only driver in the top eight who hasn’t won at Long Beach. The Andretti Autosport driver’s best finish in eight previous starts was sixth in 2009.

“The UFD car is on edge, but I think that’s where we need to be to be quick,” Andretti said. “I like the predictability of the car. I felt like I could drive it to the limit, which is important to be able to wring it out in qualifying. I’m pleased with the pace and the pace we had all through testing, so it’s good to keep the pace here and back it up. We really need to convert this pace into results, and I really think we can.”

Following Andretti on the speed chart combining both practices were the six other past Long Beach winners: Simon Pagenaud (2016), Takuma Sato (2013), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2010), Castroneves (2001), Sebastien Bourdais (2005-07) and Scott Dixon (2015). All but Dixon logged their fast lap in the second practice, when most drivers opted to use the additional set of Firestone red-sidewall alternate tires provided this season on road- and street-course weekends.

“The (additional set of) reds, that’s a new thing this year,” Andretti explained. “I’m a fan of it because it takes the guessing out of it for (qualifying) tomorrow. Being able to try the reds today, I’m a big fan of. I think that way everybody is absolutely rung out and you’re not sort of guessing at the balance.”

A third practice session is set for 1:45 p.m. ET Saturday, ahead of three rounds of knockout qualifying at 6:30 p.m. to decide the Verizon P1 Award pole winner. Both sessions will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com, with a qualifying telecast airing on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Sunday’s race, the second of 17 on the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, airs live at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Veach named to third AJ Foyt Racing entry for Indianapolis 500

He may be only 22, but Zach Veach said he’s had a dream for 18 years to race in the Indianapolis 500. The Ohioan will get his chance this May and as part of legend A.J. Foyt’s team to boot.

AJ Foyt Racing announced today that Veach will drive the No. 40 Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim Chevrolet in this year’s 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Indy Women in Tech is also title sponsor of the LPGA golf tournament scheduled for September at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, with four of its holes located inside the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

The race will mark the Verizon IndyCar Series debut for Veach, who has been working to move up from Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, the top level of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires development ladder, where he won six races over three seasons.

“I think any young American driver thinks about running at Indianapolis and, of course, you always relate the name of A.J. Foyt with Indy,” said Veach. “That’s something you strive to be like. To say I’m going to run my first Indianapolis 500 with a team like this is very exciting for me.”

Veach will be the third entry for AJ Foyt Racing at the Indianapolis 500, joining full-season Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz in their ABC Supply-sponsored entries. It gives the team three eager drivers – none older than 25.

“We really wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t think it was going to help both ABC cars as well,” team president Larry Foyt said about adding the third car. “At the end of the day, when my dad and I were talking about it and we decided to pull the trigger, because of the people that were coming on board, we thought it would really help out the group as a whole – especially as we try to learn the new body kit from Chevrolet.”

The Foyt team switched to Chevrolet from Honda this season and the Indy 500 will present its first superspeedway race with the manufacturer’s engine and aero kits. Veach’s car number at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will pay tribute to A.J. Foyt’s fourth Indianapolis 500 win 40 years ago. This will also be the 60th straight year that A.J. Foyt will be a participant in the Indy 500 as either a driver or car owner.

Foyt, Gurney, Fittipaldi honored at RRDC annual dinner

A.J. Foyt has been honored with numerous awards for the accomplishments from his legendary racing career. He received another Thursday night. The four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and current Verizon IndyCar Series team owner was presented with the Spirit of Ford Award in a ceremony at the Road Racing Drivers Club dinner held in conjunction with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The Spirit of Ford Award is Ford Motor Company’s highest honor in auto racing, recognizing lifetime achievement and contribution to the industry both on and off the racetrack. Foyt becomes the 26th recipient, joining an international list of honorees from all forms of racing and racing media.

“It’s a great honor and Ford has always been good to me,” said Foyt, who was on hand for the dinner along with Dan Gurney as part of an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the duo’s victory at the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans, the first and only Le Mans victory by an all-American team featuring all-American drivers.

“After 50 years, who would have thought that Gurney and I would be around to be honored?” said Foyt, 82. “It means an awful lot. It’s a big honor for Ford to do this for us.”

Foyt, the only driver in history to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans and 24 Hours of Daytona, was presented the award during the RRDC dinner by Edsel B. Ford II, great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford and a member of the company’s board of directors. He and Gurney were also given a lifetime membership into The ACO’s Club de Pilotes for legends of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“A.J. was one of my heroes in racing when I first followed the sport,” said Ford. “When looking back at his magnificent career, the question isn’t what did A.J. drive, but more what didn’t he drive and win in? His passion for driving and his commitment to the sport since his retirement have made him more than worthy for all the halls of fames he is part of.”

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi was the featured honoree at the RRDC event that drew luminaries from around the racing world. As Gurney said, all the notables “were here to see Emmo.” The Brazilian legend told stories about how his love of racing was evident throughout his career. He included stories of his 1989 Indy 500 win, his Indy car debut in a pink car and racing suit and stories from his championship-winning career as a Formula 1 driver.

Earlier Thursday, Fittipaldi was inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame. The Brazilian raced at Long Beach 13 times from 1984-96 with a best of finish of second twice (1985, 1990). He also raced on the streets of Long Beach five times in F1 from 1976-80. He and Mario Andretti are the only Indy car and F1 season champions to race at Long Beach in both series.

Fittipaldi won the 1972 F1 and 1989 Indy car season championships. His 22 career Indy car wins include the two at the Indianapolis 500 (1989, ’93) and tie him for 20th on the all-time list with Tony Bettenhausen.

Sato unveils wine to commemorate 2013 Long Beach win

Takuma Sato wanted to commemorate his memorable win on the streets of Long Beach in 2013. What better way to do it than with a cabernet sauvignon made from a bumper crop of grapes from the same year?

Sato unveiled TS Wine on Thursday at the Hyatt Regency hotel located inside the 1.968-mile temporary street circuit. Only 600 bottles of the wine were made and will be available at the Foyt Wine Vault in Speedway, Indiana, beginning in May, with plans for wider U.S. and Japanese distribution to come.

Sato drove to victory at Long Beach for AJ Foyt Racing four years ago. He left the team this season to join Andretti Autosport, but commended the Foyt organization for helping him put the plan in motion to develop the wine. TS Wine used the same vintner, Meadowcroft Wines, and the Mt. Veeder line of varietal wines from Sonoma, California, that the Foyt Wine Vault relies on for its wines.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to introduce this wine here,” Sato said. “I was very close with the Foyt wine and I had the opportunity to look at how they are making special wines. And A.J. had a lot of special stories about wine, so I thought why not?

“I’m very pleased and this is almost like a collector level, the high end of the wine,” Sato added. “I wanted to produce the best out of the best. It is really, truly unique.”

 

RACE RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

Day 1 practice quotes from IndyCar’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

‘What They’re Saying’ from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Chevrolet): “We had a really big improvement in the second session which was nice. Sadly we had an overboost (penalty) and traffic on our fastest lap, so we lost a great deal of time which puts us down the order more than we should have been, but at least we have that in our back pocket, but it was a good improvement. This car still doesn’t suit my driving style that well we just have to make a few adjustments or fine tune it for how I like to drive it and hopefully it’ll be okay.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda):
“Solid first day for the Arrow Electronics crew. This afternoon wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for; the track conditions changed, I think more than we were expecting, which caught us off-guard a little bit. With these really short sessions, it’s tough to learn much out there. So we’ll regroup and hopefully tap back into the speed that we saw this morning and be in a good position for tomorrow.” 

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “I think that today we had a really interesting day. I mean, the first time on the track was pretty legendary. It’s a street course, and what we’re testing is so specific. We were pretty competitive today. At the end of the day I was on the Firestone reds, and we had quite a few red flags, so we couldn’t reach our full potential; I think we’ll be able to show it tomorrow.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Honda):
“I think we are all kind of scratching our heads a bit about the practice times today. We’re working hard on the balance of the Gallagher car, just like our three teammates. We will go back to look at the data tonight and have a game plan to move forward up the grid tomorrow for qualifying.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 NTT Data Honda): “I was obviously happy with the car this morning, but like I always say, practice doesn’t pay anything for winning. In the second session we had a fast NTT Data car as well, but an untimely red flag caught us out on our fast lap which left us down the timing sheets.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Honda): “Today was definitely a busy day for the No. 10 NTT Data Honda. We made some pretty big changes that didn’t play out the way we wanted them to but the practice days are the days where you can take those bigger swings. We definitely have some work to do tonight to get the car ready for qualifying tomorrow but I’m confident the NTT Data guys will have us ready to go.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Yeah, you only get a set of reds for this one session. It’s really important for qualifying. It’s such a different tire, a lot softer. The car feels comfortable. We’ll work on it. It kind of sucks if you’re quickest because you don’t get details, you know. Wish I was fifth or something, it would have been much better. You don’t want to show people what you got too soon.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “We started pretty good in Practice 1, but we had a few little issues then we made some changes for Practice 2 and it didn’t really work. So we have to re-think for tomorrow. Like always the Verizon IndyCar Series is really tight, the times are really close so tomorrow you have to have the perfect lap time.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 PennGrade Motor Oil Honda): “Today was what we will refer to as a character builder. In the first session, I didn’t think that we were that bad. We just didn’t get a run on the second set of tires. We are definitely challenged for lateral grip, challenged to get the car to bite into the road surface. In the Verizon IndyCar Series right now, it’s so competitive. If you are three-tenths (of a second) off, that could be the difference between being first and 15th place. We have to be on top of our game each and every time we go out on track and on Friday I’m not sure that we accomplished that goal. We will work hard tonight and come back stronger tomorrow.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Trench Shoring Honda): “I was really surprised and very happy about the way we unloaded this morning. The No. 18 Trench Shoring Honda was hard to drive but it was quick, and then it just felt like the track was starting to get away from us a little bit. We started losing track of balance and the way things evolved. We’ve slipped back a little this afternoon and we don’t seem to be as strong out there on the reds (Firestone alternate tires) so we are going to have to work on that a bit. Long Beach is a tough place because it evolves very rapidly and you can only get a few changes in, so we’re going to have to think long and hard about it tonight and see what we’re going to do.”

ED JONES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “It’s good to be back in Long Beach. It’s a great track and event. We’ve made some progress from St. Pete and this morning went quite well. This afternoon with the temperatures changing so much, the track changed and I struggled a huge amount. (Sebastien Bourdais) was still all right, so we can look at that after the session and fix the issues.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “It was fun to be back out on track here at Long Beach. I really enjoy the circuit, but we had a difficult day. We have some areas we need to improve so we’ll be working hard tonight to make sure we get going in the right direction for tomorrow.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet): “I feel like we have made a lot of progress since the first race. We looked back at St. Pete and saw some things we needed to focus on to make our weekend a bit better. We have also had some tests since then, including a pretty good test at Sebring a couple of weeks ago. Coming here, I felt good about what we had planned and our ability to make the car better. At the end of the first practice today, we knew what we need to improve on. For me, this is still just about making progress over the course of the race weekends. We ended the second practice in the top 10 and our aim is certainly to qualify there tomorrow. We are slowly but surely making our way forward.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): “It was a good day. It’s always good to be back in Long Beach. This is a special event and it’s always fun. We had a busy Practice 1 but we got it sorted out, and in the second session, it felt much better. We tried various setups across the car and it was quite a productive day. Today was actually the first time that I tried the red (alternate) tires in practice because I missed the opportunity in St. Pete. It was a good feeling and I feel prepared for tomorrow.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): “The UFD car is on edge, but I think that’s where we need to be to be quick. I like the predictability of the car. I felt like I could drive it to the limit, which is important to be able to wring it out in qualifying. I’m pleased with the pace and the pace we had all through testing, so it’s good to keep the pace here and back it up. We really need to convert this pace into results, and I really think we can.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We seemed to overstep it a little that session, just got a little bit too aggressive with the car. I was starting to protect the entry too much where I’m trying to turn in and the rears always threatening and on a street circuit you just can’t drive that way. It’s something that we need to pay attention to, make the right decisions and try to guess right for tomorrow. Make it so that I can really hustle the car. I almost felt like in that session it was starting to drive me, I just couldn’t attack it. We just need to make some changes and I have faith that if we make the right ones, we can get the No. 28 DHL car in the front row.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Honda): “Well, it’s not the result we wanted for today. I know the No. 83 team is going to work hard tonight to figure out what’s going on and be ready for tomorrow.  We found a little bit of speed at the end there, but we weren’t on fresh tires so we’ll look at it. I’ve got a little bit to learn overnight and it’s nice to have fast teammates with Scott (Dixon) and Tony (Kanaan) being a little quicker. We’ll look at their data and learn from that. I’m a little frustrated because I want to come out and start Friday off right but as Dario (Franchitti) says, it’s all about recovery.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda): “It was a mostly positive day. On black (primary) tires, I think, we’re in the top-three cars. I missed the balance there a bit on the red (alternate) Firestones, but that’s the positive of using the red tires this year in practice – you can have an understanding of what they have to do before you go in to qualifying. If we just adjust that overnight, then the NAPA Auto Parts car will be looking good.”

 

RACE QUOTES PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

NBCSN to televise IndyCar’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Sunday afternoon

INDYCAR Nation
 

Tune-In to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - Sunday at 4:00 p.m ET on NBCSN

 

Event Details Weekend Schedule
Entry List Pit Assignments
Spotter Guide Track Map
Past Driver Performance
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GRAPHICS PROMOTION WRITTEN, PRODUCED & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

IndyCar’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Sunday at 4 pm ET

Long Beach race turn 10 By CCWSF1 at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

 

For Immediate Release

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Fast Facts

Race weekend: Friday, April 7 – Sunday, April 9

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

Race distance: 85 laps / 167.28 miles

Entry List: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (PDF)

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

Firestone tire allotment: Six sets primary, four sets alternate

Twitter: @ToyotaGPLB @IndyCar, #TGPLB, #IndyCar

Event website: www.gplb.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2016 race winner: Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet)

2016 Verizon P1 Award winner: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet), 1:07.1246, 105.547 mph

Qualifying lap record: Helio Castroneves, 1:06.6294, 106.331 mph, April 18, 2015

NBCSN race broadcast: Sunday, April 9 (4 p.m. ET)

NBCSN qualifying broadcast: Saturday, April 8 (7:30 p.m. ET, taped)

NBCSN practice broadcast: Friday, April 7 (5 p.m. ET, live)

Rick Allen will be the play-by-play announcer for NBCSN’s broadcast of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller are the pit reporters.

Radio broadcasts: The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network is led by chief announcer Mark Jaynes, with analyst Davey Hamilton. Turn reporters are Jake Query and Nick Yeoman, with Rob Howden and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.comindycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app.

Video Streaming: All practice sessions not televised by NBCSN will be availableRaceControl.IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar)

INDYCAR Mobile app: Verizon’s INDYCAR Mobile app is available across all carriers. Exclusive features of the app for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and include enhanced real-time leaderboard and car telemetry; live in-car camera video streaming for select drivers during Verizon IndyCar Series races; live driver and pit crew radio transmissions during races and live Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network audio streaming during all track activities.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, April 7
10-10:45 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
2-2:45 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #2, NBCSN (Live)

Saturday, April 8
10:45-11:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #3, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live)
3:30 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (three rounds of Verizon IndyCar Series qualifications); NBCSN (live)

Sunday, April 9
9-9:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series warm-up, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
1 p.m. – NBCSN on air
1:23 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines” command
1:30 p.m. – Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (85 laps/167.28 miles), streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live); NBCSN (Taped at 4:30 p.m.)

Race Notes:
• Sebastien Bourdais and Dale Coyne Racing came from last to first to claim the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series opener at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 12. Bourdais, a three-time winner at Long Beach, aims for back-to-back wins in pursuit of a fifth Indy car title.

• This weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the 34th Indy car event on the historic street circuit. Mario Andretti won the first Indy car race there in 1984. Simon Pagenaud was the 2016 race winner, claiming his first win as a member of Team Penske. Bourdais (2005-2007) was the last repeat winner at Long Beach.

• Al Unser Jr. has won the most times at Long Beach (six), while Bourdais and Will Power are the only entered drivers with multiple wins. Bourdais won three straight races from 2005-2007. Power won in 2008 and 2012. Other former race winners scheduled to compete are: Helio Castroneves (2001), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2010), Takuma Sato (2013), Scott Dixon (2015) and Pagenaud (2016).

• Team Penske drivers have won six of the last eight poles at Long Beach: Castroneves, who set the lap record in 2015, is a three-time pole winner (2001, 2015 and 2016), Power won three straight from 2009-2011 and Ryan Briscoe won in 2012. In addition to Castroneves and Power, other past pole winners entered in this year’s race are: Tony Kanaan (1999), Bourdais (2006-2007) and Hunter-Reay (2014).

• Four drivers have won the race from the pole – Andretti (1984, 1985 and 1987), Unser Jr. (1989-90), Castroneves (2001) and Bourdais (2006-07).

• Nineteen of the 21 drivers entered in the event have competed in Indy car races at Long Beach. Eleven of those drivers have led laps: Castroneves 179, Bourdais 169, Power 162, Hunter-Reay 122, Dixon 71, Sato 66, Marco Andretti 64, Pagenaud 54, Kanaan 51, Charlie Kimball 3 and Josef Newgarden 1.

• Kanaan seeks to start his 267th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Dixon has made 208 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the third-longest streak in Indy car racing.

• Dixon, the longest-tenured driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, is fourth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 40 wins. Bourdais is sixth on the all-time list with 36 wins.

• Castroneves will attempt to make his 329th career Indy car start, which ranks fourth on the all-time list. Kanaan will attempt to make his 328th Indy car start, which is fifth all-time. Both are competing in their 20th season of Indy car racing in 2017.

• 2016 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion Ed Jones in the only rookie driver slated to compete at Long Beach. Jones, one of six Indy Lights champions entered, won at Long Beach in 2015 as an Indy Lights rookie.

• Since 2012, the Verizon IndyCar Series has averaged 8.75 different race winners per season, including a record-tying 11 winners in 2014. There were eight different winners in the 16 races of 2016 with an equally tight competition projected for the 2017 season.

• Drivers may engage their “push-to-pass” for a total of 200 seconds during the race, with a maximum duration of 20 seconds for any one activation. The push-to-pass is not available on the initial race start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower for 2017.

• The No. 9 GE LED Lighting Honda crew of Scott Dixon won the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing crew will receive its $10,000 award during pre-race festivities at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH PRE-EVENT QUOTES:

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and Long Beach race winner): “Long Beach is a special event for me. I really like the whole California vibe. There’s just a different feeling in the air there. The St. Pete race allowed us to make a lot of points right away in our championship quest and it is what the Menards Chevrolet team does so well. We’ve done some testing during the break which has gone well. The whole team is very hungry. Long Beach has been kind to me and especially last year when we got my first Team Penske win. We’re ready for the street fight.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Long Beach is a really exciting track for me to head to now being part of Team Penske. It’s an event that everyone wants to win. The Indy 500 is the crown jewel of the schedule, but Long Beach is right up there, too. I love the crowd at Long Beach because it’s always exciting and a fun atmosphere. I know I speak for the whole team when I say I can’t wait to get the hum by Verizon Chevy on track at Long Beach. I feel the team is really coming together and we’re looking to build on the momentum we built at St. Pete.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet): “Long Beach is one of the most exciting tracks on the circuit to me. It’s a fun environment and we’ve done well there. We really battled in St. Petersburg and wound up with a sixth-place finish, which was great, but I’m ready to perform better than ever at Long Beach. We were fast there last year, but we need to close the deal this time. I know the Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet team will give me a great car and we’ll be ready to go.”

CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “I always look forward to traveling west for the Long Beach Grand Prix. There is such a great atmosphere all weekend and the track is fantastic. It was the site of my first Indy car street-course event and my first Indy Lights win so it’s always meant a lot to me.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “Everybody looks forward to going to Long Beach every year. Obviously, the setting – along the water in California – is nice to look at, but at the same time, it’s probably, after the (Indy) 500, the most historic venue that we go to. It’s been running 43 years now for a reason; F1 and, of course, Indy car have been running there a long time. The greatest of the greats have raced there and won there, and I think that’s why it makes it such an appealing place for us to go to, and one that everyone wants to win. It’s a great track for me. I got my first Indy Lights win there, my first Indy car top five (and) my first Indy car podium, so hopefully we can add to that list and try and get a victory there this weekend.”

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It feels great to be going back to the streets of Long Beach for the legendary Grand Prix of Long Beach. I think that the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports cars are pretty good on the street courses, so we are, of course, going to aim for the top result. The team is in great shape and I’m happy to get back to this great place.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Honda): “I think we should be optimistic for Long Beach this weekend with the Gallagher team. I raced (there) in Indy Lights before and got my first taste of it in the Indy car last year, so I’m building on my experience level. We have one street race under our belts in St. Petersburg this year so there were a lot of lessons learned that can be applied here.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 NTT Data Honda): “Long Beach has such an amazing history. It’s a truly iconic American event that started gaining a lot of popularity with Formula 1 back in the day. With the layout of the track, it’s truly one of the best street circuits anywhere around, and more importantly, you actually get to race there. It took me forever to get to victory lane there but we managed to accomplish that a few years ago, and I hope we can return to that form again this year.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Honda): “It feels good to be back in the car and on the streets of Long Beach. It was a tease to start the season then get a few weekends off, but we spent a lot of time testing and working in the simulator the past few weeks and we’re feeling good heading into this weekend. We had a rough race in St. Pete dealing with some things we couldn’t control, so we’ve made sure to regroup since then and we’re all ready to get out there in Long Beach. I love the Long Beach circuit – the track and the atmosphere are just amazing.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “I really enjoy racing at Long Beach. It’s a great crowd and we have performed really well there in the past. It’s been a bit since we’ve won there, but I feel good about our chances. We didn’t get the result we wanted at St. Pete, but the Verizon Chevy was strong. We just want to put together a complete weekend to make up some of the ground we lost. Qualifying will be important as it always is. The competition in the (Verizon IndyCar Series) is very, very close which makes it difficult. As I said, the Long Beach event always has a great crowd and that definitely raises everyone’s game. It should be a great event.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Long Beach is one of my favorite tracks, and everyone’s favorite tracks, I think. The city is really nice. I always enjoy going there. I’ve had really good results in Long Beach. I’m looking forward to being there with the new ABC Supply Chevy team, the new (Chevy) aero kit. AJ Foyt Racing has been really successful there, so hopefully we start and show what we proved in St. Pete from Practice 1 to the end. The goal is to be competitive and to do one’s best, and together, we can achieve a good result.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 PennGrade Motor Oil Honda): “Long Beach is such an iconic, historic race. It’s been going on for more than 40 years – forever. There is a lot of great history there and I have fond memories of finishing second there a few years ago (2013). It’s like my second hometown race now, so there is a lot of support from friends and family that come out. It’s a special event for us, and I hope we can get a win in the PennGrade Honda. A Rahal has never won at Long Beach but we have finished second five times combined. It’s a tough track, a track that I feel I have raced at so many times but every time I go there I feel like I am learning something completely new. I’m excited to get there just to get over what happened at St. Pete really.” (About the race being five laps longer in 2017 than 2016): “I think that is going to make it a lot better for the fans. You are going to see guys pushing a lot harder because if it’s green like last year, there is no way anybody will make it on fuel (on two stops). You might see some different strategies because it’s probably going to be firmly a three-stopper, so you will stick to that and have pretty big (pit) windows and see drivers try to pit at different times. It should make it a lot more exciting for everyone.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda):
“I’ve mostly always done well at Long Beach, although looking at my results there the last few years, they were not necessarily what they could have been for different reasons. It’s a circuit that I very much enjoy driving on, like any street circuit, to be honest. I think it suits my driving style quite well. If we find the right balance on the car, I think things can go well for us this weekend. We’re always aiming to be in the top five because from there anything can happen. I know people will ask if we can win again this weekend at Long Beach. Well, we didn’t expect to win in St. Petersburg. That said, for us it’s more a question of proving our potential versus getting that ultimate result. Yes, winning was a great bonus for everyone on the team, but we also want to validate everything we’re doing. At St. Petersburg, we didn’t have the fastest car but we had potential and that’s what I take away from that race and it’s what motivates me as we move forward with this program.”

ED JONES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “I’m really looking forward to the second round of the season. St. Pete was such a good experience for me. I think I was more comfortable in the end than I thought I was going to be. It was a great result as well. We built even more on that at the Barber Test, so all in all, I think we made a lot of steps forward. I know a lot more what to expect when I get to a race weekend after what I learned at St. Pete and I can’t wait to bring that experience to Long Beach, work on that and improve from there. I’ve been to Long Beach once before, in 2015, and I won there in Indy Lights. It was too bad that Indy Lights didn’t race there last year. Long Beach is in my top two favorite events that I’ve done, so I really can’t wait to get back there. It’s always a great atmosphere, a great circuit and racing in California is always nice.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “I haven’t raced at Long Beach since Indy Lights in 2015, so I am very excited to be driving there again. It’s one of my favorite street courses and the grand prix has so much history, it’s always been a race I wanted to drive in. We had a lot of positives to take away from the first race in St. Petersburg and I’m confident we can continue that form. The Fuzzy’s Vodka crew has been working hard to be as prepared as possible and I’m looking forward to a good weekend.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet): “I’ve always enjoyed the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It is an awesome event we always have a good time going to. It’s kind of like Indianapolis in some ways, you can feel the vibe of everyone being excited about (the race) there. It is a cool place. It’s a challenging racetrack, but it’s also a lot of fun. I’ve had some good success there, I won the Indy Lights race there in 2009 as well as a couple of top-five finishes in the Indy car. I’m looking forward to making more progress. We have had a couple of tests since St. Pete and are ready to put in some more work and move our way up the grid.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): “Long Beach is a special place. Not just because of the history the track has, but I simply love the venue with incredible memories. I enjoy so much driving the streets of Long Beach and the team has good records there, too. Fans are always great and there are several large Japanese communities around LA, so many Japanese fans turn up and some are actually flying directly from Japan, too! The track is generally low grip, but characteristics are not far different from St. Petersburg, and we had a productive test at Sebring recently, so I expect we will be as competitive as we were in the opening round. Hopefully we have another strong race and we can enjoy one of the most special weekends on the calendar.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): “The season had a decent start for us in St. Pete; as a team, we seem to be more competitive this year and we are hoping to back that up in Long Beach. Next to the Indy 500, the Long Beach race is my second favorite event. It has a ton of history, is a fun track and the fans are supportive. It’s a close second on my desired win list, with Indy being first, of course.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “The Long Beach Grand Prix is certainly one of the cornerstone events of the Verizon IndyCar Series. This race has so much history. It really is the Indy 500 of street courses. This event has also had a huge impact on my life, both personally and professionally over the years. We’ll be looking for Long Beach win No. 2 for the DHL team this weekend.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Honda): “I love coming home to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The whole Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team is ready for redemption. We were so good all weekend in St. Pete. I have a lot of confidence we’ll carry that form all year long and the next chance to prove that is Long Beach. We’ll be in Honda’s backyard this weekend, so we’ll be working hard to get a good result for them. And of course, it’s always nice to have the support of my friends and family here.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda): “I am so excited to be getting back to Long Beach with my NAPA Racing team. Not only is it one of my favorite races of the year, but we’ve also had quite a long break since St. Pete and we are ready to get some redemption. The progress from this winter has continued this past month and I look forward to translating that into some results at the first of my two ‘home tracks’ for the year.”

 

 

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

Musician David Gray to play 11th annual charity concert benefiting Nationwide Children’s Hospital alliance

 

David Gray playing yellow guitar 2010 By (Kirk Stauffer), Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide

 

Dublin, Ohio – Officials of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide announced today the details of its 2017 benefit concert. Entering its 11thyear, IGS Energy Evening with David Gray presented by City of Dublin will benefit the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and Nationwide Children’s Hospital alliance. Proceeds will support the Memorial Tournament Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

 

With the continued support of IGS Energy, now entering its eighth year as title sponsor, and City of Dublin who has backed the event from its inception in 2007, the benefit concert has raised more than $690,000 for Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

 

“We are thrilled to once again support this amazing concert event that benefits such a worthy cause. As a Central Ohio-based company, we are proud to give back to the communities we serve,” said Scott White, president and CEO of IGS Energy.

 

The 11th annual benefit concert will be held Saturday, May 20, at EXPRESS LIVE! in Columbus. Special guest Shawn Colvin will take the stage first, followed by David Gray. VIP doors open at 6 p.m. EDT. Tickets are now available at $175 per person or $350 per couple. For more information, please visit www.mtbenefitconcert.com or call (614) 355-5400.

 

In June 2010, a charitable alliance was announced among the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation for the benefit and advancement of pediatric care. With this aligned vision, all proceeds of the concert directly benefit the young patients served each day by the Memorial Tournament NICU at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Advancing newborn critical care in the Memorial Tournament NICU is already evident with its family-centered environment that provides the highest quality of medical care for premature and sick infants. As part of the largest neonatal network in the country, the Memorial Tournament NICU is comprised of rigorously trained neonatologists, advanced practice nurses and therapists who utilize an interdisciplinary care approach to diagnose and treat patients suffering from complications of prematurity, complex birth defects, respiratory distress and metabolic diseases. This combined expertise makes the Memorial Tournament NICU at Nationwide Children’s one of the finest in the nation.

 

General admission tickets for David Gray are on sale now at all Ticketmaster locations. General admission tickets do not benefit the Memorial Tournament NICU at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. For more information on general admission please visit www.PromoWestLive.com.

 

The 2017 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide is scheduled for May 29 – June 4 at Muirfield Village Golf Club. The public may call the Tournament Ticket Office 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays at 877-MT BADGE (877-682-2343) or visit www.memorialbadges.com to purchase badges. Youths 18 and under receive complimentary admission with a ticketed adult throughout Tournament week. Daily practice round tickets for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are also available. The cost is $35 and they are valid for all three practice-round days.

 

About David Gray: Twenty-one years since his first studio album, David Gray’s tenth and latest, “Mutineers,” finds the singer-songwriter steering into unfamiliar territory while cultivating a pugnacious but respectful relationship with his own history. “I think if you’re going forward with an open heart, good things will happen,” says David. “You have to sort of tear up the past and let it go.”

 

David’s past includes the phenomenal success of “White Ladder” (seven million copies sold), one of three UK number one albums, with records that became ubiquitous and others that needed to be sought out to be heard. It’s a richness of terrain and experience over a duration that belies the traditions and expectations of popular music as surely as the songs themselves.

 

Despite such variance in both the content and reception of his prior output, the only certainty David had at the commencement of his new recording was the need to surprise himself, not just in terms of how he worked, but the ideas that drove him and the people he worked with.

 

“I always write melody first and lyrics second, so I started to write lyrics down and think, right, I’m going to put this to music now. And that was a bizarrely uncomfortable process. And I was layering my voice; something I just found myself doing on a lot of the new tracks. Again, to get away from the density of my voice, just the intensity of it, it’s so loud, it’s so intense, it’s so direct — so singing more softly, singing in falsetto, singing under the voice in a lower voice, finding new sounds, so that it was still me, but it sounded different.”

 

It’s a shift instantly audible on “Mutineers,” an album whose ancestry David sees as more in the neighborhood of John Martyn’s “Small Hours” perhaps than its predecessors in his own catalogue. As well as the change in tone there’s a rising sense throughout the record, from the opening affirmation of “Back In The World” to its conclusion, of an artist liberated from even his own expectations.

 

“I got slightly away from the narrative of the kind of crucified middle aged man. I got into other more ethereal territory, and it was such a relief to me. And when these wide open vistas of the new sound began to emerge in front of my eyes, I rushed in.”

 

David’s collaborator, producer and occasional combatant during this raid on new horizons was Lamb’s Andy Barlow. “His brief was — don’t let me make the same record I’ve made before, take me out of my comfort zone. And he’s a very gentle kind of guy, but courageous. He really took me on creatively in a way that no one else has ever done. So I thought, yeah, this is going to work, but it was a tortured process because I found it so hard to take at times that he would tear up bits of my work in front of my eyes!”

 

Out of the apparent traumas of that procedure “tears, furniture getting thrown,” something more sublime began to emerge. “I was reaching, I was feeling for things rather than knowing and placing, and something far more interesting happened, and there’s such an authority about any recording that’s made in the heat of the moment when you’re actually discovering it as you’re recording it.”

 

It was spontaneity of process and feeling that, says David, recalled some aspects of making “White Ladder,” in a bedroom studio back in 1997.

 

“It was a very special thing that happened [with 'White Ladder'] and it was only a blessing, but of course there are complications to the blessing. So the wonderful, graceful arc that it traced from obscurity into ubiquity was a tremendous thing and the entire upward curve of it was exhilarating in the extreme. And not only that, it didn’t have anyone’s permission, off we went. No one could take it away from us and it was a wonderful thing, but of course you go beyond a certain point and you’re just kind of up on this very high plateau, success, and the game has changed. But I think now it’s the morning after the night before — I don’t want to just be going on about that. Now I’ve got 15 years between me and it, and also I know I’ve done something here that has an authority that is inspiring me and I don’t have to worry about my past or any of that. This record will speak, and then I think I’ll be understood and I think the question will change a little. The lovely thing about this is we’ve had the time to experiment, and the experiment has been a wonderful success so far.”

 

“Mutineers” then, is an experiment that seems to fizz with the joy of its own assembly. The sound of a musician making a clean break and some sharp turns but also reconnecting with the freedoms of an earlier dream, a rebuke and a salutation to all that’s gone before.

 

Official Website: www.davidgray.com

About the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide

The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide is held annually at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. The Tournament, founded and hosted by Jack Nicklaus, is conducted each year with three goals in mind: to honor the memory of individuals living and deceased who have distinguished themselves in the game of golf; to showcase the world’s best golfers competing on one of the most challenging venues in the world for the enjoyment of spectators; and to benefit many Greater Columbus Charities in alliance with the Nicklaus Children’s Healthcare Foundation, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and numerous other local organizations. For more information, visit www.thememorialtournament.com or call 614-889-6700.

 

 

About Nationwide
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, commercial, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; banking and mortgages; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.

 

Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Tom Sprouse; COURTESY MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT COMMUNICATIONS

 

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