By Cathy Shumaker
Photo by Deborah Drab
Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud was riding a week long wave of momentum all the way from California as the Verizon IndyCar Series headed to Barber Motorsports Park for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. The Frenchman won the 42nd running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, beating Scott Dixon to the line in a caution free race. The two drivers were part of a controversy with Race Control, with Pagenaud receiving a warning for shortcutting the blend line at pit out after his final pit stop. Dixon was never able to get around the Penske driver and finished a close second. As a result of the issue, the blend line at pit out at Barber was reinforced with a solid white line including a sensor which would allow Race Control to make a definitive call about any potential violations.
Pagenaud was the points leader coming into Alabama and picked up where he left off at Long Beach, scoring the pole position at Barber. Starting on the front row next to him was Penske teammate Will Power. In an uncharacteristically poor qualifying effort, fellow Penske driver Juan Pablo Montoya started last in the field, having difficulty getting the softer red tires to perform during his qualifying attempt.
The excitement in Alabama began even before the green flag waved to start the race. As the field lined up two by two and approached the start of the race, Andretti Motorsport driver Carlos Munoz hit the rear of Mikhail Aleshin, who spun and collected Jack Hawksworth. The field continued under yellow for two laps, with all three drivers penalized and sent to the rear of the field. Pagenaud took the lead once the green finally waved on Lap 3. KVSH Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais went wide and spun Chip Ganassi driver Scott Dixon who was passed by multiple drivers but was able to continue. Bourdais went to pit lane for a replacement wing and rejoined the field at the rear. Meanwhile, Montoya was already up to 13th place, having passed nine drivers from his last place starting spot. By Lap 30, the Columbian was running in seventh place, just ahead of the fourth Penske driver Helio Castroneves.
Pagenaud continued to lead Power followed by Josef Newgarden, the defending champion at Barber. By the second round of pit stops which began at Lap 40, drivers were complaining of tire degradation and the course was accumulating a noticeable dusting of tire marbles. Montoya complained to his team that his shifter felt “mushy”, possibly due to a stray piece of tire debris which lodged behind the paddle shifter.
Pagenaud pitted from the lead, with Graham Rahal reentering the track in second in the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda. At the halfway point in the race, all cars except Max Chilton were on the lead lap, and the race had been run under green since Lap 3. Power and Rahal were closing the gap on Pagenaud, who was being held up by Dale Coyne Racing’s Conor Daly. Daly was desperately trying to stay on the lead lap, however this was allowing Power and Rahal to inch closer to the leader. The course marshals were showing the blue flag to Daly, informing him that a faster driver was approaching, but he was unwilling to relinquish his position.
The field began their final pit stops on Lap 65 while under green. Pagenaud and Rahal pitted at the same time; the Frenchman took new stickered red tires while Rahal’s crew gave him a scuffed set of the softer tires. Will Power’s long pit stop caused him to fall to third as he rejoined the field on the harder compound black tires. Conor Daly finally lost his battle to stay on the lead lap, and was slotted on the track between the leader Pagenaud and second place Rahal. With 15 laps remaining, Rahal was able to pass Daly and set his sights on Pagenaud. The race leader was closing in on fellow Frenchman Bourdais, who was the last car on the lead lap. The pursuing Rahal had eight Push to Pass bursts remaining to Pagenaud’s two; Rahal was closing and hoping to get close enough to make an attempt for the lead of the race as the laps wound down. With 11 laps remaining, Bourdais allowed the two leaders around him, with Rahal running with a damaged right front wing about one second behind Pagenaud. Graham Rahal attempted to pass Pagenaud and made contact with the Chevrolet’s right rear; Pagenaud went off track but was able to continue. Rahal assumed the lead with the pass under review by Race Control.
With seven laps remaining, Pagenaud was in hot pursuit of Rahal, who was encountering the rear of the field. Race Control ruled that no action would be taken as a result of the Pagenaud/Rahal incident. In the meantime, Rahal made contact with the rear of Jack Hawksworth, breaking both sides of his front wing. Pagenaud was able to get around Rahal and retake the lead.
When the white flag was waved for the final lap, Pagenaud led Rahal by more than 12 seconds; Rahal was trying to hold on to his injured car and keep Josef Newgarden behind. At the finish, Simon Pagenaud won his second race of the season, with Graham Rahal limping home in second, followed by Joseof Newgarden. Will Power was scored in fourth, with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya finishing a remarkable fifth after starting last.
For the second week in a row, the race was run without a caution period, a rarity on a road course. The race contained lots of on-track passing without any wrecked race cars. Graham Rahal and Josef Newgarden scored their best finishes of the season as both stood on the podium for the first time in 2016. Simon Pagenaud heads into the month of May having won two races in a row and scoring podium finishes in all five races this year. The points leader looks to continue his winning ways as the series heads to Indianapolis for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 14 and then the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29.
By Mitch Perry
Photos by Deborah Drab and Timo Hulett
Simon Pagenaud scored his first win for Penske this past weekend at Long Beach and although he drove an excellent race his victory was somewhat marred by a late race incident where he crossed the blend line leaving pit lane and he was let off with a warning rather than a penalty by the race stewards.
In recent times it seems most race fans have been increasingly frustrated by an overabundance of interference by race officials who make calls and give penalties that almost seem designed to inhibit close racing and in some extreme cases (Helio Castroneves' lost win at Edmonton to a non-existent block comes immediately to mind) alter a result, even though it's questionable as to whether any infraction of the rules occurred.
Although Brian Barnhart is still in control upstairs as race director, for 2016 the responsibilities of monitoring the on track moves of competitors and issuing penalties and rulings on incidents that occur during a race now fall to two time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, former Indycar racer Max Papis and longtime Ford motor sports executive Dan Davis. This would seem to be a huge improvement on what has come before as both Luyendyk and Papis are racers who have been there and done it all and understand what is going on inside the car as well as outside of it and can use that knowledge to make the appropriate calls as needed.
However, this weekend at Long Beach, they may have made the job a little harder on themselves for the remainder of the season by issuing a warning instead of a penalty to Pagenaud and here is why...
While the stewards are to be applauded for letting Pagenaud and Dixon race to the checkered flag instead of having the race decided by a stop and go penalty they may have missed the mark a little bit by their inactions here. In most racing situations between two cars there are usually 3 sides to each story (each drivers side and the truth!). This leads to grey areas where judgement calls by the stewards are necessary, however in this instance there was no grey area. The blend line is the blend line and it was crossed by the leader as he exited the pits hoping to do so in front of Dixon. Was this move an intentional one to block Dixon and keep the lead? Probably not. The first thing you learn in a racing school is that the car will follow where your eyes go and in this case Pagenaud's eyes were probably in his left mirror looking for Dixon and that might explain why the car crossed the line a few inches early. I'm guessing this fact, aligned with the desire to see a race decided by the checkered flag led to the warning given Pagenaud rather than a penalty.
But racers are racers and surely there will come another time when the blend line is inconvenient to a driver and he may want to cross it early....and why shouldn't he do so as it should only result in a warning, right?........and when this move leads to a penalty next time than you know the stewards are going to come under fire for being inconstant and correctly so.
So, what should've happened here? We all know hindsight is 20/20 but maybe Pagenaud should've been told to give the position up to Dixon, and this would have still allowed him to challenge for the win he so richly deserved while acknowledging the small mistake made leaving the pits.
Being a steward is obviously not an easy job and I still think we have the right men with Luyendyk and Papis in position to handle the responsibilities of allowing a race to happen while keeping it under control without over officiating it. Again, I just hope they didn't make a tough job even tougher than it already is......oh, and congrats to Simon Pagenaud on a great drive, and don't forget to watch out for those blend lines!
By Lonnie Vaughn
Photos by Deborah Drab
What do you get if you take INDYCAR, Motocross, Formula Drift and Monsterjam, put them in a box and shake it up? Stadium Super Trucks. This is how Robby Gordon explains his truck series, and honestly it is the perfect description. The series started in 2013 when Robby Gordon brought the world of Stadium truck racing back into the public eye, which hadn’t been present in the automotive world since Mickey Thompson’s MTEG Stadium Series went bankrupt in 1996. This was a shot in the dark but his timing was perfect and the series seems to be alive and growing larger every year.
This weekend in Long Beach, the Stadium Super Trucks came out to race in the warm Southern California sun during the 41st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. There were 12 trucks, each with around 650hp and 600ftpd of torque, two rounds of racing around the famous Long Beach street course and jumps placed at strategic locations around the track that launched the trucks up to 20 feet in the air. The monster Chevrolet LS3 engines can be heard from anywhere on the track, and the fans definitely know when the race is about to start. This year the show was the battle between 18 year old Sheldon Creed in the TRAXXAS sponsored truck and Robby Gordon in the Arctic Cat/Toyo Tires truck. It was a close battle the whole race between those two drivers, wowing the crowds as they came around each turn sideways on three wheels trying to pass each other at every chance they got. The majority of the crowd leaves the stands and become glued to the fences for this shorter race, and with all the excitement this series brings it’s easy to see why. Creed ended up taking both rounds of racing this weekend, even taking out his mentor Robby Gordon.
It would be no surprise to see this series continue to gain popularity, and soon start to branch off of the race track. Within the next few years I predict SST will gain more air time and make its way into video games and other types of entertainment as well. Who wouldn’t want to race a 650 horsepower truck sideways, over ramps, through their favorite racing venue from their living room? I’ll tell you one thing, you can count me in.
In Long Beach
By Lonnie Vaughn
Photo by Deborah Drab
Long Beach, CA. For the second year in a row, Jordan and Ricky Taylor took the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype. The brothers took the win with almost a 3 second lead over the #5 Action Express Mustang Sampling Corvette Daytona Prototype of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa who had the fastest qualifying time of 1:14.962. Eric Curran and Dane Cameron brought the #31 Whelen Corvette DP in for the third place spot for an all corvette Podium.
This was the first year that the Prototype Challenge series has raced since 2013. The #38 Performance Tech Motorsports car piloted by James French and Kyle Marcelli Took the pole with the fastest class lap time of 1:17.910. PR1/Mathiasen Motorports came into Long Beach the points leader but had a rough time in qualifying, their #52 car was involved in an incident with the #88 Starworks Motorsports car and resulted in both cars starting in the rear of their class. JDC-Miller Motorsports took the win with their #85 ORECA-Chevrolet and was driven by Misha Goikhberg and Stephen Simpson. Second place was close behind with the #8 Starworks car of Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande, and James French and Kyle Marcelli brought the #38 car in for third place.
The drama of the weekend was found in the GTLM class and its controversial finish. The day started out with Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner taking the pole with their #25 BMW M6 GTLM followed by the #912 and #911 Porsche 911 RSRs in second position and third. The race was pretty uneventful until lap 53 when the #54 CORE autosport PC car went off track, causing a full course caution. Both the #911 and #912 Porsches received speeding penalties in pits and the #25 Bmw made contact with an LMPC car resulting in a penalty as well. This worked out for Corvette racing with the #3 and #4 coming out of the caution in first and second. The pair of Corvettes held the lead until there was about 10 minutes left when Antonio Garcia spun the #3 Corvette C7.R and this allowed the pair of Porsches to close the gap on Tommy Milner and the #4 Corvette. With less than 2 minutes left, the Porsche is on Milner’s bumper and makes contact in the hairpin spinning Milner out and allowing the #911 Porsche to squeeze past them for the lead and the win. Milner follows up in second with #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE taking third Place.
1. Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Corvette DP #10
2. Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa, Corvette DP #5
3. Eric Curran, Dane Cameron, Corvette DP #31
4. Tom Long, Joel Miller, Mazda #70
5. Tristan Nunez, Jonathan Bomarito, Mazda #55
6. Marc Goossens, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Corvette DP #90
7. John Pew, Oswaldo Negri, Ligier JS P2 Honda #60
8. Misha Goikhberg, Stephen Simpson, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet #85
9. Alex Popow, Renger van der Zande, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet #8
10. James French, Kyle Marcelli, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet #38
11. Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, Porsche 911 RSR #911
12. Tomy Drissi, Johnny Mowlem, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet #20
13. Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Chevrolet Corvette C7.R #4
14. Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander, Ferrari F488 GTE #62
15. Richard Westbrook, Ryan Briscoe, Ford GT #67
16. Bill Auberlen, Dirk Werner, BMW M6 GTLM #25
17. Alesandro Balzan, Daniel Serra, Ferrari F488 GTE #68
18. Mark Kvamme, Ashley Freiberg, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet #88
19. Robert Alon, Tom Kimber-Smith, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet #52
20. Earl Bamber, Frederic Makowiecki, Porsche 911 RSR #912
21. Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller, Ford GT #66
22. Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia, Chevrolet Corvette C7.R #3
23. Lucas Luhr, John Edwards, BMW M6 GTLM #100
24. Andy Meyrick, Katherine Legge, DWC13 Elan #0
25. Jonathan Bennett, Colin Braun, ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet #54
take to the
in Long Beach
By Lonnie Vaughn
Photos by Deborah Drab
APRIL 15-16 2016 Long Beach, CA. The Iconic yellow Corvettes were back in Long Beach this weekend looking to pull off their third straight class win, as well as the 100th victory for their racing program.
On Friday the #4 car, driven by Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, qualified fourth in class with a lap time of 1:17.573. Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen piloted the #3 car into fifth position with a lap time of 1:17.676. This wasn’t the best start for the team, especially coming off two big wins, but they were still in striking distance of the lead and have the experience to make it up.
The drama started early on Saturday for the #4 car. Thirty minutes into the race, Gavin noticed the car becoming inconsistent and the sensors indicated a tire pressure issue, causing an early pit stop to swap tires for the puncture. The team now needed to get lucky with a full course caution, which they did at lap 53 when the #54 CORE autosport PC car went off course.
During the caution, both the #911 and #912 Porsches received drive through penalties for speeding in the pits. Also during pit stops, the #25 Team RLL BMW made contact with an LMPC car resulting in a penalty and drop to fifth place. This gave the lead to the pair of corvettes. With ten minutes left in the race, Antonio Garcia spins the #3 corvette allowing the pair of Porsches to close in on Milner.
With less than 2 minutes left, the #912 Porsche is right on Tommy’s bumper and makes contact with him at the hairpin causing the leading Corvette to spin and allowing the #911 Porsche to slide by and take the lead.
The #4 corvette wasn’t badly damaged and ends up in 2nd place while the damaged Porsche limps back to the pits, stirring up a lot of controversy over the Porsche team’s tactics.
The 2nd place win at Long Beach stretches the #4 cars lead to 18 points in the series. The team now looks forward to the weekend of April 29 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to get the 100 win milestone they sought and almost had at Long Beach.
Milner fumed “I don’t mind finishing second if it is clean and it is the right way, but that wasn’t the right way. Again, at the end of the day, second place is good points for us. We can hold our heads high knowing we raced as hard as we could today, the right way”
Race Results for the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship at Long Beach GTLM Class
1. #911 Pilet/Tandy Porsche 911 RSR
2. #4 Gavin/Milner Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
3. #62 Fisichella/Vilander Ferrari 488 GTE
4. #67 Briscoe/Westbrook Ford GT
5. #25 Auberlen/Werner BMW M6 GTLM
6. #68 Serra/Balzan Ferrari 488 GTE
7. #912 Bamber/Makowiecki Porsche 911 RSR
8. #66 Hand/D.Muller Ford GT
9. #3 Garcia/Magnussen Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
We’re Back at
By Timo Hulett
Well the IndyCar season is finally upon us and it’s looking like it’s going to be a fast start for the season. With practice one being led by Team Penske the driver Simon Pagenaud, other drivers were slowly getting back into the swing of things, such as Jack Hawksworth, teammate Takuma Sato and Helio Castroneves, all showing some early speed. The surprise of the session was the contact with the wall from Will Power.
Practice one results:
1 22 Simon Pagenaud 1:01.7246
2 41 Jack Hawksworth 1:01.7870
3 3 Helio Castroneves 1:01.8051
4 14 Takuma Sato 1:01.8411
5 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:01.8734
6 9 Scott Dixon 1:01.9622
7 10 Tony Kanaan 1:01.9967
8 2 Juan Pablo Montoya 1:02.0964
9 83 Charlie Kimball 1:02.1471
10 26 Carlos Munoz 1:02.1546
11 27 Marco Andretti 1:02.1581
12 11 Sebastien Bourdais 1:02.1621
13 5 James Hinchcliffe 1:02.1838
14 21 Josef Newgarden 1:02.2366
15 15 Graham Rahal 1:02.2415
16 19 Luca Filippi 1:02.2881
17 12 Will Power 1:02.4351
18 98 Alexander Rossi 1:02.5897
19 16 Spencer Pigot 1:02.8354
20 18 Conor Daly 1:02.9269
21 7 Mikhail Aleshin 1:03.2808
22 8 Max Chilton 1:03.3808
Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race
Hits the Streets of Long Beach
for 40th and Final Time
Stephen Baldwin, Brian Austin Green, Alfonso Ribeiro and Al Unser Jr. will lead the field of past winners to the FINAL checkered flag wave in Long Beach.
LONG BEACH, Calif., (March 9, 2016) — Grand Prix Association of Long Beach and Toyota announced today that actors Stephen Baldwin, Frankie Muniz, Brian Austin Green and last year’s overall winner, Alfonso Ribeiro, are among the 21 participants from film, television and sports, who will return to compete in the 40th Anniversary of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.
This announcement heralds the 40th and final edition of the longest-running corporate-sponsored charity race in the U.S.A., which will take place April 16 on the 1.97-mile street course in downtown Long Beach, Calif., as part of the 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend.
“At Toyota, we wanted to do something unique for this final race,” said Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. “By hosting a field comprised mostly of past Toyota Pro/Celebrity winners, we anticipate this to be the most competitive race in the event’s history with a diverse field of celebrity and professional drivers.”
This unique field of past Toyota Pro, Celebrity and Overall winners will once again take to the streets in 210-horsepower Scion FR-S race-prepped cars, navigating high speeds and demanding turns to benefit “Racing For Kids,” a charitable organization supporting children’s hospitals throughout the United States.
The announced field of intensely competitive personalities who will duke it out for the final trophy and bragging rights, includes, in order of their first win in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race and the years they participated in the race:
Al Unser, Jr. (@AlUnserJr) 1985, 2009 and 2014
Pro/ Overall winner in 1985, 2009, Pro winner in 2014. Dubbed “King of the Beach,” as the winningest driver in Long Beach, with six Indy Car wins and three Pro/Celebrity wins. Also a 2-time Indy 500 winner, and 2-time IndyCar Champion.
Ricky Schroder 1989 and 1996
Celebrity/ Overall winner in 1989. Most recently starred in “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors.” Golden Globe winning actor best-known for roles in “Silver Spoons,” “NYPD Blue” and “Get Him to the Greek.”
Stephen Baldwin (@StephenBaldwin7) 1990
Celebrity winner in 1990. He has starred in film, television and radio. Best-known for his roles in “The Usual Suspects” and “The Flinstones in Viva Rock Vegas.” He also appeared on “Celebrity Apprentice” and “Celebrity Fear Factor.”
Eddie Lawson 1993
Pro/ Overall winner in 1993. Motorcycle Hall of Famer and four-time 500cc World Champion. He also earned back-to-back AMA 250 Grand Prix Series, AMA Superbike Series Championships, won the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hour race, and was a two-time winner of the Daytona 200.
Alfonso Ribeiro (@Alfonso_Ribeiro) 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2015
Celebrity/ Overall winner in 1994 & 1995, Pro/ Overall winner in 2015. Currently the host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” on ABC and “Unwrapped 2.0” on the Cooking Channel. Known for his iconic role of Carlton on “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and in 2014, he took home the coveted Mirror Ball trophy on “Dancing With the Stars.”
Rod Millen (@LeadFootNZ) 1992 and 1995
Pro winner in 1995. Winner of three-consecutive Grand National Sport Truck titles, 5-time Toyota Pikes Peak Unlimited class winner, and 3-time Toyota off-road stadium truck champion.
Dara Torres (@DaraTorres) 2002, 2004 and 2015
Celebrity/ Overall winner in 2002. 12-time Olympic medalist swimmer, who was named as one of the “Top Female Athletes of the Decade” by Sports Illustrated. In 2002, she was the first woman to win the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race.
Max Papis (@MaxPapis) 2004
Pro/ Overall winner in 2004. “Mad Max,” a stock car race driver has competed in many top-level motorsports events including the Le Mans 24 Hours, Formula One and Champ Car. He has three Champ Car victories.
Chris McDonald (@YesItsChrisMcD) 2001, 2004 and 2005
Celebrity winner in 2004. Currently co-starring in HBO’s “Ballers,” after a stint on CBS’s “The Good Wife.” He has starred in over 100 movies, but is best-known for playing ‘Shooter McGavin’ in “Happy Gilmore.”
Frankie Muniz (@FrankieMuniz) 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2011
Celebrity winner in 2005. Starred in “Sharknado: Heart of Sharkness,” and best-known for his role in “Malcolm in the Middle.” His diverse resume also includes race car driver, drummer of pop-rock group’s Kingsfoil, and Ambassador for the Armed Forces Foundation.
Mike Skinner (@SkinnerRoundUp) 2007 and 2008
Pro winner in 2007 & 2008. 1995 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, and the 1997 Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year. He has competed in over 550 races in NASCAR’s top three divisions.
Doug Fregin 2009, 2012 and 2014
Charity auction winner in 2009, 2012 & 2014. He has donated over $320,000 to “Racing For Kids.” Co-Founder of Research in Motion (now Blackberry) and Quantum Valley Investments Fund.
Brian Austin Green 1997, 2010 and 2011
Celebrity winner in 2010. An actor, director, and producer, who came to fame on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” recently starred on “Anger Management” on FX. He’s also known for roles in “Desperate Housewives,” “Smallville” and “Las Vegas.”
Jimmy Vasser (@JimmyVasser) 2010
Pro/ Overall winner in 2010. Former Toyota Atlantic Series and IndyCar driver. 1996 IndyCar World Series Champion. He is an IndyCar team owner, and owns three Toyota dealerships.
Ken Gushi (@KenGushi) 2011
Pro winner in 2011. He was once the youngest, most successful drift competitor in Japan, and in the U.S. With numerous Top 3 finishes in national and international drifting competitions, his racing career has just begun.
William Fichtner 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2012
Celebrity/ Overall winner in 2011. A television, theater and film star, he will be seen in the June releases of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” and “Independence Day: Resurgence.”
Adam Carolla (@AdamCarolla) 2003, 2010, 2012 and 2013
Celebrity/ Overall winner in 2012, Pro winner in 2013. He is best known as a comedian, actor, radio personality, television host and New York Times bestselling author. He can be heard daily on his podcast “The Adam Carolla Show.”
Rutledge Wood (@RutledgeWood) 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015
Celebrity/ Overall winner in 2013. A NASCAR analyst for NBC Sports, he can also be seen in History Channel’s “Lost In Transmission,” and as co-host of “Top Gear USA” which just finished filming its sixth season.
Brett Davern (@BDavv) 2013, 2014 and 2015
Celebrity/ Overall winner in 2014. Actor who stars as ‘Jake Rosati’ in MTV's hit series “Awkward.” He recently appeared in the Beach Boys bio-pic “Love & Mercy” and “The Stanford Prison Experiment.”
Dave Pasant 2001, 2002, 2003, 2010, 2013 and 2015
Celebrity winner in 2015, and 7-time charity auction winner. A retired insurance executive, he has participated in this race six ttimes, donating a total of $417,000 to “Racing For Kids.” He is also an executive producer of “Road Hard,” starring Adam Carolla.
Carter is the Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.
“This should be a thrilling race with so many of the participants past winners here at Long Beach,” Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach said. “It will be interesting to see who best recalls the racing technique that will enable them to once again stand on top of the podium.”
Since 1991, Toyota has donated more than $2.3 million to the “Racing for Kids” organization on behalf of this race and its participants.
Fans can follow the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook at GrandPrixLB, Twitter @ToyotaGPLB (#TPCR40) and Instagram at ToyotaGPLB.
Phoenix International Raceway
By Timo Hulett
The Verizon IndyCar series will be holding an open test session with all teams on February 26th-27th. Following a twelve-year absence from Phoenix International Raceway, the Verizon IndyCars will again create whirlwinds at the oval.
Watching the IndyCars race around at sub-20 second laps, is a dizzying to say the least. That’s what fans will be treated to on the second day of testing from noon until 3:00 PM and then again at 5 to 8 PM. An autograph session will take place between both the test sessions.
It is very exciting to have the IndyCars back at PIR, this has always been one of my favorite IndyCar events. The last time the PIR IndyCar event preceded the Long Beach Grand Prix was in 1995 which was sanctioned by CART.
In 1996, the event was sanctioned by the Indy Racing League after the split. The event ran under the IRL sanctioning until 2005. The 2016 Phoenix Grand Prix will take place April 1st and 2nd as a night race. Indy cars had raced here since the track opened 1964 and up until 2005.
Tickets for the 2016 Phoenix Grand Prix can be purchased online here.
Honda announces extension with INDYCAR
INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 2, 2016) – INDYCAR and Honda announced a multiyear extension to the agreement that retains the manufacturer as an engine supplier to the Verizon IndyCar Series.
“We’re grateful for Honda’s longstanding partnership with INDYCAR the last 13 years,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Racing is a part of Honda’s DNA and its continued investment in the Verizon IndyCar Series – technically on the competition side, but also through sponsoring of events and additional activation – is instrumental to the success and continued growth of our sport.”
Honda has collected 217 Indy car race wins in more than two decades as an engine supplier and won 10 manufacturers’ championships, including six years when it served as sole supplier to the Verizon IndyCar Series. In addition, it has scored 10 victories in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Honda will be in competition with Chevrolet for the fifth consecutive season in 2016, with both manufacturers producing 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines. Additionally, beginning in 2015, both Honda and Chevrolet developed aerodynamic bodywork kits for their respective teams – supplying a road course/street course/short oval aero kit and a separate kit for superspeedway tracks.
"In the 13 years that Honda has been a part of INDYCAR, we've had a great deal of success, both against strong competition from other auto manufacturers and as single engine supplier," said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development. "Honda is pleased to be part of the Verizon IndyCar Series, as it provides both a technical challenge for our associates and a showcase for Honda products worldwide."
Honda – through American Honda and its racing subsidiary, Honda Performance Development –began supplying engines to Indy car teams in 1994 in Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) competition. Honda joined the Verizon IndyCar Series as an engine supplier in 2003 and has been a valued manufacturer and partner ever since.
In addition to continuing as a manufacturer in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Honda retains title sponsorship rights for three events on the schedule: the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, which is the fourth race on the 2016 schedule, April 22-24; the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, July 29-31; and the Honda Indy Toronto, sponsored by Honda Canada, July 15-17.
Former Formula 1
Driver Max Chilton
Posted: February 01, 2016 Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) announced today that former Formula 1 driver Max Chilton from England will pilot the No. 8 Chevrolet in a full-season effort for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series.
Chilton will become the first British driver in more than a decade and just the fourth in the last 24 years (Nigel Mansell-1993, Mark Blundell-1996, Justin Wilson-2004) to have driven full-time in Formula 1 prior to joining the Verizon IndyCar Series in the same capacity.
At 24, Chilton joins the team after making 35 starts in Formula 1 from 2013-2014 for the Marussia Formula 1 Team. Most recently he contested a partial season in the 2015 Indy Lights Championship with one win, six podium and 10 top-five finishes.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
- About Max Chilton: His 35 starts in Formula 1 from 2013-2014 included a rookie record for the most consecutive races finished (25), with 19 of them coming in his first season. 2015 saw Chilton make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut with Nissan Motorsports in the LMP1 category, while also contesting his first season in Indy Lights with Carlin Motorsport, where he won at Iowa Speedway from pole position. Prior to Formula 1 he spent the 2010-2012 seasons in the GP2 Series scoring two wins. In addition, Chilton contested the British Formula 3 Championship from 2007-2009 where he was a race winner. He began his racing career at the age of 10 in karts.
Max Chilton, Driver: “I couldn’t be happier to join Chip Ganassi Racing’s Verizon IndyCar Series program. This organization is built on winning and their 11 INDYCAR Championships back that up. Chip is the kind of team owner that every driver dreams of working for in their career. He’s accomplished so much in so many different categories over the years, and I can’t wait to start driving for him.”
Chip Ganassi, Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams: “Max is a talented young driver who has driven a number of different disciplines already in a short time. He brings a good deal of experience to our Indy car lineup and we’re looking forward to him being part of our four-car team in 2016 and making a big contribution.”