The Verizon IndyCar series hits the streets of Long Beach for round 2 of the 2014 season. Last year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be difficult to top, but this will be the 40th annual running of the historical race. The 1.968 mile temporary street circuit provides great passing opportunities, tight corners, and breathtaking scenery. Last year, we saw Takuma Sato become the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race, as he took the checkered flag down Shoreline Drive. It was the first victory for AJ Foyt’s team since Airton Dare won at Kansas in 2002.
This year’s race should provide plenty of excitement and wheel-to-wheel racing. There are several drivers in the field that have won here, including Sato, Will Power, Mike Conway, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, and Juan Montoya. That bodes well for Team Penske, who will already be riding high coming into the weekend, with Power winning the season-opening race at St Petersburg less than two weeks ago.
The field will have 23 cars at Long Beach, one more than St Petersburg. That additional entry will be the second car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, driven by Oriol Servia. With that being said, I believe there are 17 or 18 drivers that are capable of winning this race. Teammates James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti are two drivers that will be looking to rebound after disappointing results to open the season.
There will be two 45-minute practice sessions on Friday, beginning at 1 PM ET and 5 PM ET. Qualifying for the race will begin at 4:15 PM ET on Saturday, with the race beginning at 4:30 PM ET on Sunday, on NBC Sports Network. You can also listen to the race on IndyCar Radio, which can be found on SiriusXM channel 209.