Hinchcliffe wins Long Beach IndyCar Grand Prix

Beth Cruz
April 13, 2017

HOLLYWOOD ENDING - Canadian James Hinchcliffe, who in 2015 narrowly escaped bleeding to death in a practice crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, qualified fourth in the marquee IndyCar event and ran at the front all day and survived two late restarts en route to his fifth career win and first in 23 months. Mike Conway has won twice at Long Beach, and Takuma Sato scored his only Indy Car win back in 2013.

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach began with so much promise for Helio Castroneves but quickly embodied the rule of Murphy's Law in which everything that could go wrong, ultimately did. He also proclaimed he'd win it again. Castroneves' lap of 66.2254 seconds (106.980 mph) is a brand-new track record.

In 2015, Castroneves grabbed the pole position in qualifying, then ended up second. This time it was Hinchcliffe who stayed out one extra lap and it was enough to put him ahead of both the AA cars, which soon switched order, as Rossi had got the grippier reds, and Hunter-Reay was on blacks.

Scott Dixon was fourth in a Ganassi Honda, and defending race victor Simon Pagenaud, from Penske, drove from last to fifth. Further back, Simon Pagenaud who'd started from the very back, started making good progress, already up to 12 by Lap 7, 11 two laps later. Today, he was on the outside of turn 4 with Power trying to pass on the inside before they collided.

There were laughs all around, from reporters as well as the other drivers. Last year's race was decided by the pit lane blend line.

"Yeah, it is", he said. We gave the race away at that point.

"This race track has been so good to me over the years", he said.

"It did have a lot of promise but then things happened that were outside of our control", Castroneves said. The greatest of the greats have won here. "I remember winning here from the pole in 2001. We came as close as humanly possible in Texas previous year and didn't quite get the job done".

Dixon, 36, has 40 race wins to his credit. How about Hunter-Reay, for whom Long Beach holds a special place in his heart?

"I'm not really sure what changed up there, I haven't spoken to the team", Dixon said.


"I was kind of thinking championship out there".

He talked about the best way to win. The three-time Indianapolis 500 victor turns 42 next month, and Roger Penske has said he'd like the Brazilian to be part of his sports vehicle program along with Juan Pablo Montoya.

If, like me, you enjoy watching replays of past races, check out IndyCar's YouTube channel.

"In racing, you're going to lose more than win - that's a quote from Roger Penske". "I don't know if we've ever had a moment as cool as that", Craig said.

Said Rahal: "You know, literally as a driver, if you are not 100 percent on your game, you could not nail the lap, you will not qualify well".

I mean, c'mon Joey Logano, going from P to L?

Once I settled in, I tried to just keep pace but struggled pretty hard on the first stint with pace on tires.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 victor Helio Castroneves feels the momentum in the series was built around last year's 100th running at the Brickyard. "That will change the auto behavior on the track as well for qualifying".

Rounding out the top 10 qualifiers were Charlie Kimball (seventh), Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Marco Andretti.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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