Power surges to Long Beach win, report

Will Power, who started the 38th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in Row 6 because of a penalty assessed on all 11 Chevrolet-powered cars for unapproved engine changes, overcame the deficit by stretching 18.5 gallons of E85 the last 21 laps on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit, all the while being chased down by Simon Pagenaud.It was Team Penske's first Indy car victory at Long Beach since 2001 (Helio Castroneves), while Power won the Champ Car finale on the course in 2008 with KV Racing Technology.Pagenaud, who pitted the No. 77 Honda-powered car for the final time on Lap 70 of 85, finished 0.8675 of a second back. Over the final three laps, he ran lap times 1.5-2 seconds quicker than Power (1:10.4941 to 1:12.0333 for instance on Lap 84).Pagenaud, who led laps for the first time since 2007 in Belgium, also gave Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports its highest finish since Jaques Lazier at Nashville in 2001 (as Sam Schmidt Motorsports). Seven different teams were represented in the top 10.James Hinchcliffe, driving the No. 27 GoDaddy.com car for Andretti Autosport, finished third as teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay incurred a 30-second penalty on the final lap for avoidable contact with the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car. It was his first podium finish in his IZOD IndyCar Series career. Sato, seeking his first IZOD IndyCar Series podium, finished eighth. Hunter-Reay checked in sixth.Tony Kanaan, who started 19th, finished a season-best fourth and JR Hildebrand was fifth -- his best since placing fourth at Iowa last June.Also on April 15, Esteban Guerrieri overtook Sunoco Pole Award winner Sebastian Saavedra in Turn 1 of Lap 1 on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit and went on to his first Firestone Indy Lights victory of 2012 by 1.5989 seconds.It was the fourth career victory (11th top-five finish in 17 races) for the 27-year-old Argentinian.Picking up two bonus points for leading the most laps, Guerrieri heads to the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway three points behind Saavedra (130) in the championship standings. Tristan Vautier, the points leader entering the race, was credited with third place and has 128 points.Vautier joined the duo in Victory Circle because of a 30-second penalty assessed the No. 2 TMR-Tuvacol-Xtreme Coil Drilling car driven by Gustavo Yacaman for ignoring the instructions of Race Control. The car lost one of its mirrors with about 15 laps left in the 45-lap race, and the driver was called to pit lane to replace it (a rule). However, the team didn't have a replacement mirror and he continued.DAY 3 NOTEBOOK:Does James Hinchcliffe even own a razor? We'll find out in Brazil in two weeks."Well, I may or may not have foolishly made a bet with Wade Cunningham and the bet was my first podium I had to show up to the next race with a completely clean-shaven face, and that's not happened since about 2004," said Hinchcliffe, who recorded his first IZOD IndyCar Series podium finish in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach."So I guess in Brazil you're going to be seeing baby face Hinch show up, and I'm not thrilled about that."Hinchcliffe, driving the No. 27 GoDaddy.com car for Andretti Autosport, started 16th in the 85-lap race on the 1.968-mile street course because of the 10-grid spot penalty assessed to all Chevrolet-powered teams for unapproved engine changes. His third place was at the expense of teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, who incurred a 30-second penalty for avoidable contact with the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car of Takuma Sato on the final lap.Still, it was a spirited drive for the 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year."It was a bit of an eventful race; I know from my seat it was certainly exciting," said Hinchcliffe, whose finish followed fourth- and sixth-place finishes in the first two races of the season. "I bet it was from the outside, too. It's cool to see some exciting racing back in IndyCar.

"It came down to the Andretti guys making the best calls on the pit stand. They've been doing that week in and week out this season. It's cool to have such a great team behind you supporting you and making those right decisions because that's what makes IndyCar racing so cool is you can start 16th and still have a crack at this thing if you play the strategy right."The Go Daddy car was strong right up to the end. I think my fastest lap was the second-to-last lap of the race. Didn't quite have enough to catch Simon (Pagenaud) and Will (Power), so congrats to them. Hopefully it's not the last time I get a trophy in this series."Newgarden has short day: Josef Newgarden wasn't feeling any added pressure from starting on the front row in his third IZOD IndyCar Series race.But his race was short-lived as the Honda-powered No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car clipped the tire barrier as he attempted to slip past Dario Franchitti's car on the right side in Turn 1 of Lap 1."I felt like I got alongside him, I gave him the inside lane and I just got touched there on the exit and went right into the wall," said Newgarden, who qualified seventh and started second when all 11 Chevrolet-powered entries were penalized 10 grid spots for unapproved engine changes."Maybe it wasn't the right move. The plan was if he was braking alongside of me I would have just give him the lane and tuck right in, but I thought I had a good run on him and a good jump on him, so you know it's one of the those tough breaks."Barrichello records second consecutive top 10: Rubens Barrichello had his second top-10 finish in three IZOD IndyCar Series races."Once we knew we were going to be short (on fuel), I started to push hard," he said. "I would just like people to have more respect for each other on the track. I was hit on every side of my car. Apart from that, I enjoyed myself today. To start so far back (22nd) and finish in the top 10 again shows I am getting better and better, so hopefully I will have my best result two weeks from now in Brazil."Jakes just misses top 10: James Jakes was running fourth when the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America car for Dale Coyne Racing shot to the runoff of Turn 1 on Lap 67. He lost three spots but the time he got the Dallara car pointed in the right direction."Lots of positives for the weekend," said Jakes, who finished 11th after placing 26th and 16th in the first two races. "I made a mistake going into Turn 1 and that cost me probably a top 10 finish today. They did a great job giving me a very good car today to race. We will take the momentum of this weekend into Brazil in two weeks."Gordon to compete in Pikes Peak climb: Beccy Gordon, wife of Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, will drive the electric-powered Mitsubishi race car in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on July 8."I am very excited to be part of this challenge and also to drive a 100 percent electric-powered car since this type of vehicle will likely play a major role in both our daily transportation and motorsports in the future," said Gordon, who has racing experience.Of note: Seven different teams were represented in the top 10 ... Firestone Indy Lights teams will participate in an Open Test on April 17 at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., in preparation for the first oval race of the season May 25 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Both series will close the season at Auto Club Speedway in mid-September. … The rainstorm that impacted the afternoon practice April 13 was the first time since 2004 that it rained on a Long Beach race weekend. ... Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, who earned the pole but started 11th because of the engine change-out penalty, finished seventh.GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH (FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS) POST-RACE NOTES:·         This is Esteban Guerrieri's first win of 2012 and his fourth career win in Firestone Indy Lights. Previous wins came at Milwaukee, Edmonton and Trois Rivieres in 2011.·         Today's win is Guerrieri's third podium finish of the 2012 season and ninth career Indy Lights podium.·         Sebastian Saavedra finished second, his third straight podium in Firestone Indy Lights.·         Tristan Vautier finished third, his third straight podium in Firestone Indy Lights.·         Victor Carbone finished fourth, his fourth-straight top-five finish dating to 2011.GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH (FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS) POST-RACE QUOTES:ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, winner, Grand Prix of Long Beach): "Yeah, it definitely feels very good. After I think last year I started on pole and then couldn't manage a very good pace in the race. But we got experience from last year. We understood well probably how the tires would work, and we just went for low downforce setup to try to gain the position in the start from Sebastian, to be under pressure to race with those guys like him and like Tristan, because there is respect there. So it's good. That's what you  mostly need, and more not on the ovals when you learn so quick. So respect is the first thing, and I'm really happy for that. Then when I go to first position, just try to keep a good pace, like try to make a gap. I just managed to do that, and then just stay about 2.5 to 3 seconds    I was pretty sure it was going to be a yellow flag, which came eventually, then after the restart I got a while for my tires to come in again, so I just tried to be cautious, not create any mistakes. I knew Sebastian was pushing me, so I was putting times consistent, and I predicted that the tires would go away a bit in the end, which they did, they were a little bit fighting. But it was good. It's good for the Firestone Indy Lights series that the tires go off in the end so you have to manage them, you have to think in the car. It's not always 100 percent, and you have to drive it, which is the most difficult part. I'm very happy to be able to win. I'm thankful to my sponsors from Argentina which only a month ago I wasn't here. I wasn't going to do Indy Lights and then we put everything together. So really thanks to my sponsor, to my country, of course, Latin America. We've been here with Sebastian on the podium, so it's a surprise for Latin America, as well. Thanks to all the people that came here, and let's keep pushing for the next races."SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Team AFS, finished second): "I didn't have anything to make the pass. I was just pushing to the limits to induce a mistake. Congrats to my good friend Esteban. He drove a marvelous race. One mistake. He really deserves it. Right now we are tight for the lead in points. It's a great situation for us. We drove a very smart race. Very good weekend. We didn't get first place, but we keep it where we are right now. We are looking very good for the start of the ovals. (About the start): "I thought I had him. I waited for a couple of lines to get behind me. I went for it. When I saw on my side, he wasn't there anymore. He just drove by me. I had nothing to do there. He had a better straight line and we've known this since St. Pete. So we need to continue working on the AFS Andretti Autosport car and hopefully we'll get something."TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished third): Been a tough weekend. A lot of work for me today because I made a mistake yesterday, I crashed in qualifying, so my bad, and just got my fastest lap got canceled and put me seventh on the grid. So from that I am pretty happy to be on the podium. I think it's a very good recovery. We had a good run at the start of the race. We were down low and tried to pass, so of course I hurt my tires more than anyone else, so I was hanging on a bit. But very happy to be on the podium. A big thanks to the Schmidt guys. It's very good to have an 11 car with Esteban winning and Sebastian with us on the podium again, so déjà vu as we were saying. Big thanks to the guys for fixing my car yesterday, both during qualifying and pit lane in 15 minutes and yesterday night. So I owe them a drink, and yeah, I will remember my mistake from yesterday, try and not do that again, and move on from there. It's interesting that we're all tied up in points. I think Sebastian is one or two points ahead of me, and I'm very close with Esteban. So very good. I know we have to focus on the ovals. A lot to learn.CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Team Dialy-Ser, finished fifth): "I was really quick in the infield, but I had to push a lot in the last turn to make up ground and catch the guys on the straight. I risked a lot and touched the wall on the exit and bent the suspension. I had to finish the race because I haven't finished the last two races. So I tried to be conservative because I knew that with a bent suspension I can't be fast. So I preserved my position and I'm happy to finish the race with a top five. I think it's quite a good result."

TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH POST-RACE NOTES:·         Will Power won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for the second time in his career after starting 12th. He also won this race in 2008 when it was the Champ Car finale.·         It is Power's 17th career Indy car victory and his second victory of 2012. His last win was at Barber two weekend's ago. Power's last back-to-back victory was Infineon-Baltimore in 2010.·         This is Team Penske's first win at Long Beach since 2001. It's the fifth win for the team at the famed track.·         Today's win moves Will Power atop the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings.·         Simon Pagenaud finished a career-best second place. His previous best finish was fourth was fourth (Mont Tremblant, Toronto and Edmonton)·         Best IZOD IndyCar Series finish for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Previous best was Jaques Lazier in third at Nashville in 2001.·         James Hinchcliffe finished third, his first podium finish in the IZOD IndyCar Series. His previous best finish was fourth (St. Pete, New Hampshire and Kentucky). In three starts this season, Hinchcliffe has yet to finish outside the top-6. ·         Tony Kanaan finished fourth, his first top-five finish of 2012.·         JR Hildebrand finished a season-best fifth.TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH POST-RACE QUOTES:WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, winner Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach): "It's a great day for the Verizon Team Penske Chevy. We really didn't think it was possible to win from 12th place here because it was a two-stop race, but once again with (strategist) Tim (Cindric), Dave (Faustino), my engineer, and all the boys we overcame a 10-spot penalty." (About Pagenaud bump): "When Pagenaud hit my tire, I thought he should have had a penalty for that. So I was happy beating him because I was kind of angry at him for ruining another one of my races." (About Pagenaud closing in on the lead in the final laps): "They told me (Pagenaud) was coming and that I had a four-second gap and just needed to save as much (fuel) as I could and then I ran hard at the end, the last lap or two, and it was enough."SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports, finished second): "It was fantastic. The car was great from the beginning. The guys, they did a great job running. We're a one-car team operation, we don't have as much data as Penske or Ganassi, but I'm glad we're giving them a good run for their money. One more lap, man, I would have tried I tell you."JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, finished third): "The credit has got to go to Firestone. The tires that they bring here are letting us race, and it's mixing things up with different tire strategies. It was certainly exciting from where I was. I hope it was exciting for you guys in the stands, and thanks to all the fans that come out to the race because this is just one of the best events we go to all year bar none. The guys up in the stand were making all the right calls. I don't know, it's something about this race track that treats me well and I've been trying to get this first podium. We start in the front row and it doesn't happen.We start in the second row and it doesn't happen, and after Barber I said to myself, 'I bet $20 bucks my first podium comes in some bizarre circumstance where I start off in the teens,' and sure enough, here you go."TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Mouser Electronics/GEICO KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, finished fourth): "Today coming from the back was a tough race but a good break for us. I mean, we didn't finish two races in a row so it was nice to finish this one. I'm very happy. I'm happy for the guys. Now let's go to Brazil - one of my favorite races."JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet, finished fifth): "I'm bummed for the Panther Racing National Guard guys. We had our own trials and tribulations throughout this weekend with getting the grid penalty and me slapping the wall in qualifying, which kind of screwed us for our grid spot, but I thought we had a good car. The guys made some changes for this morning and it really livened it up. We had good traction which is a big, big thing here. They just did a good job during the race. The team picked good strategy. We went with a two-stop and we had really good pit stops. I ended up having to save a little bit more than the guys around us at the end of the race because we had more laps on our tires. Since we pitted right there at the end we lost a couple of spots, but we're just stoked to be able to come from that far back in the field through good strategy and a few on-track passes and a good race car. So, we'll take this one and go to Brazil from here."JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Sonny's BBQ Honda, finished 10th): "It wasn't the end to the day we would have liked it to have been. We had a great car that drove fantastic today.   We lead the race early and I think our race strategy ended up not turning out the way we wanted it to. I was very pleased with what the No. 18 Sonny's Bar-B-Q team did to give me a great car today. We should have had a podium finish today, maybe even a win, but everything just didn't go our way today. I now look forward to Brazil and a good finish there."JAMES JAKES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): "Lots of positives for the weekend. I made a mistake going into Turn 1 and that cost me probably a top-10 finish today. The No. #19 Boy Scouts of America team did a great job giving me a very good car today to race. We will take the momentum of this weekend into Brazil in two weeks."SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "Just unfortunate really to not be able to be brought back to pit lane and have the chance to get the car back in the race. The Target car was good and we had the first stop under our belts. It just died on track and we don't know why yet. The safety team did everything to get us back going but it wouldn't restart."DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): ""We were on a two-stop strategy obviously and thought that would be the way the race played out. We had a mechanical issue at the end and that was it. Not the result we were hoping for with the Target guys and the 10 team today. We didn't have the car handling quite right, but we were still staying close to the front. We had four over-boost penalties on one restart, and Briscoe came across and damaged the front wing. After that we lost time making a wing change and to top it all had a mechanical failure."ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Team Barracuda/BHA Lotus): "New rule, as soon as it goes green you can pass. Obviously being in the back like that, as soon as it goes green I just jumped on the inside and passed Viso inside the hairpin, and coming on to the front straight away he just pushed me in to the wall. I guess he was upset, but he's the type of guy that gets disconnected sometimes, so it's unfortunate for the Bowers and Wilkins Barracuda team."SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing Lotus): "Really disappointed. It wasn't a fun weekend at all. We had issues in practice and qualifying and only ran six laps total going into the race, so we were excited to be running such a great race. We had good pit stops and only 11 laps to go when we lost the engine, so it's really frustrating."ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "It feels good to finish a little better today. It was a tough day though for the Fuzzy's team. We didn't have the car we had at St. Pete. I felt like the race could have been different for us. I think we should have been waved around under yellow when the leader pitted. Unfortunately, we had to ask for a wave around and then the green flag was thrown less than a lap later. So I felt that cost a chance for a better finish. It's too bad we had to bring it to the officials' attention. We'll put this race behind us and pack up for Brazil now. We have an experienced crew for packing and traveling down there. It will be my first time in Brazil. So it will be completely new for me."KATHERINE LEGGE (No. 6 TrueCar Lotus Dragon Racing Lotus): "Today was really disappointing because we had a number of issues. So, I really don't know what to say. The issues started from the beginning - we had some sort of problem right out of the box with the engine management. Then we ran over some debris on track, which endedup costing us a front wing. So, it just wasn't the day we wanted."TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, finished eighth): ""I haven't seen the checkered flag yet this season. It was a very exciting race; right from the start -- a hell of a race. We started from the primary Firestone tires and I was surrounded by drivers on alternate tires and it was a very hard situation for us but I kept the position. On the restart, I was overtaking and gaining positions and when I was on the alternate tires I was really pushing hard; passing Will Power and others and then I led the race. On the last stint we had to work on the fuel mileage and on the very last lap Ryan Hunter-Reay basically took me out. There was not enough depth on his overtaking maneuver. He had a chance for the last few corners so it's very disappointing to finish the race this way. Again we showed good performance and we will carry this good momentum to Brazil."RUBENS BARRICHELLO (No. 8 BMC/ Embrase - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, finished ninth): "Honestly I had a good race today. There were so many yellows the team used a strategy that had me saving fuel. Once we knew we were going to be short, I started to push hard. I would just like people to have more respect for each other on the track.   I was hit on every side of my car. .Apart from that, I enjoyed myself today.   To start so far back and finish in the top-10 again shows I am getting better and better, so hopefully I will have my best result two weeks from now in Brazil."RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, finished seventh): "We just were stuck in traffic all day long. It's a real shame because I think we had the quickest car out there and we just couldn't do anything with it. We had a bad pit stop, the first one, and that put us way behind and from there we couldn't go anywhere. It was just a really frustrating day."HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Auto Club Team Penske Chevrolet): "We were just trying to finish and there were two cars in front of me and Rubens, and Rubens was being, I think, a bit cautious and stopped the car and he stopped too much—to the point that I obviously touched him. My intention was never to pass him, but we ended up blocking the track."E.J. VISO - No. 5 CITGO/PDVSA - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): ""I am really disappointed with how the race went. I think we had a good opportunity this weekend because of the strong pace we showed in every session including qualifying where we were actually fifth before the penalty moved several cars back on the grid. In the race, we used a strategy that didn't work out the way we hoped. Then I had some bad situations occur in the race. On my first pit stop the entry to my pit was blocked by Graham Rahal. However, the main problem occurred when Alex Tagliani made a very dangerous move passing two or three cars heading into the hairpin turn which is a very awkward place to overtake. I saw what he was doing and moved out of the way, but he was sideways coming out of the hairpin and when I attempted to pass he blocked me and I hit his tire and he spun. Because of the contact I was given a drive through penalty, which I feel was very unfair. I want to thank my crew for all their hard work. They gave me a fast car this weekend and hopefully we have an even better one for Brazil."RYAN HUNTER-REAY (Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet, finished sixth): ""I drove really, really hard all day, and it was a tough race. I had a lot of good racing today with a lot of different drivers. These kind of (fuel strategy) races are hard on a driver because I'm just out there pushing as hard as I can and I had no idea where we're at compared to the guys I'm racing. It's like a book with no ending, and I have to really trust my team. They had the right strategy and it's always an honor to drive such a fast car. (About contact with Sato): "I feel bad Sato ended up in the tires, but I knew he was saving fuel and I came up on him really fast. He let off early and when I went for the gap, he came across the nose. It's a shame because my team really deserved a podium finish. They did a superb job all weekend. It's frustrating to end on that kind of a note, but we're upbeat going to Brazil (the next race). Points are so critical each week, and we need to just keep pushing hard and scoring well each week."JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing): "I felt like I got alongside him, I gave him the inside lane and I just got touched there on the exit and went right into the wall. Maybe it wasn't the right move. The plan was if he was braking alongside of me I would have just given him the lane and tucked right in, but I thought I had a good run on him and a good jump on him, so you know it's one of the those tough break. I feel bad for the team if anything."GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central Honda): "He wasn't going to make the corner no matter what, I think it slipped underneath me, he was going to shoot long how deep we were because he was already braking. It's just frustrating for everybody because the Service Central car felt really good. I was pleasantly surprised, I told you this morning that we were going to have a long day. The car felt really strong, and I was just trying to do laps. It's going to be really interesting to see how this plays out for the rest of the day though.MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): "I feel for the guys. We put so much work in the RC Car and that was our stint to make hay, and we were trying to do so. There's one thing blocking, but there's another thing chopping. That was a chop."***IZOD INDYCAR SERIES POINT STANDINGSWill Power       127Helio Castroneves        103Simon Pagenaud          100Scott Dixon      96James Hinchcliffe        95Ryan Hunter-Reay       81Ryan Briscoe   72Graham Rahal  62Rubens Barrichello      59JR Hildebrand  57IZOD INDYCAR SERIES MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIPChevrolet        27Honda  18Lotus   12SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR STANDINGSSimon Pagenaud          100Josef Newgarden         42Katherine Legge           36 The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle on April 29 at the Streets of Sao Paulo. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 11:30 a.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 25 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live by NBC Sports Network at Noon a.m. (ET). NBC Sports Network coverage of the Grand Prix of Long Beach will be televised at 5 p.m. on April 19.

Related Motorsport Articles

84,638 articles