By: Spencer Neff
April 10, 2019 | 9:24 AM
The NTT IndyCar Series heads west for this weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Sunday’s race will be the fourth of 17 rounds in this 2019 season and the second of four temporary street circuits scheduled to host an event. Get ready for this weekend’s visit to the historic street circuit with our pre-event Race Setup.
What to Watch For
Last weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato started from pole and turned in a dominant performance. After leading 74 of 90 laps, Sato earned his first victory of 2019 on the 2.3-mile permanent road course.
This weekend, Sato returns to the site of his first career IndyCar victory – which came back in 2013. Furthermore, ties to Sato’s manufacturer (Honda) will once again be on display in this weeks title sponsorship. Honda’s luxury car brand Acura holds sponsorship of the historic race, a deal that was announced in February.
Jack Harvey’s Meyer Shank Racing entry will have the badging of the race’s title sponsor. Meyer Shank races two Acura NSXs in the GTD division of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Currently, St. Petersburg winner Josef Newgarden of Team Penske holds a 27-point lead over Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, who finished runner-up at St. Petersburg and Barber Motorsports Park. Following the two past champions is Sato, 34 markers back of the lead as a result of his Barber victory.
Including Sato and Harvey, 14 of the field’s 23 starters will be powered by Honda engines.
As a side note, part-time Chevrolet teams Juncos Racing and DragonSpeed are not entered for this week’s race. Juncos raced at Circuit of the Americas while DragonSpeed has made starts in St. Petersburg and Birmingham thus far.
Aside from those changes, the driver lineup remains the same as it did at the previous two races.
Last year’s Long Beach winner, Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport, is fourth (41 points back). In 2018, Rossi topped all but one on-track session and dominated the race by leading 71 laps and winning from pole.
In fifth place (44 points back) is Rookie of the Year leader and Circuit of the Americas race winner, Colton Herta.
At the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, Herta suffered the first DNF of his career when a fuel pressure issue halted his mid-race progress. After missing the middle portion of the race, his Harding Steinbrenner Racing team worked hard to turn a few laps at the end of the event to ensure the problem had been remedied. This Sunday at Long Beach, Herta will have some added incentive as he looks to bounce back.
For the race, local fast food chain King Taco will sponsor Herta’s Harding Steinbrenner Dallara-Honda. On Monday, the team announced that if the Valencia, California native wins the race, fans can bring in their race ticket for a free “Victory Taco” at any location in the Southern California area until April 30.
In addition, the team’s executive consultant, Al Unser Jr. (a record six-time winner at Long Beach) will wave the green flag to start the 85-lap race on Sunday. Herta’s father Bryan, won the pole at Long Beach in 1998 and earned third-place finishes there in 1998 and 1999.
If the past handful of races at Long Beach are any indication, Sunday’s race will provide some exciting action.
Since the introduction of the Dallara DW-12 chassis in 2012 – through three aero kit configurations – seven different drivers have gone to victory lane representing six different teams.
The competition between the two engine manufacturers has been stout as well. Since its 2012 return to IndyCar, Chevrolet holds a slight 4 to 3 edge in the win column at the street course.
Recently, though, Honda has had the upper hand at the track. If a Honda-powered car reaches victory lane on Sunday, it will mark their third win in a row.
Aside from the races in 2009, 2010 and 2011 – where they served as IndyCar’s exclusive engine manufacturer – Honda has not won more than two straight Long Beach races since winning each event from 1996 to 2002.
Weekend Schedule Details
On-track action will commence Friday with the first practice set to begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Later in the day, there will be a second 45-minute practice session – starting at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.
On Saturday, final practice will take place from 12:00 to 12:45 p.m. Eastern time. All practices will be shown live on NBC Sports Gold’s INDYCAR Pass.
Qualifying for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will start at 3:10 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, April 6, shown live on NBCSN (telecast begins at 2:45 p.m. Eastern).
On Sunday, there will be a 30-minute warm-up prior to the race, held at 12:00 p.m. Eastern, also shown on NBC Sports Gold. It will be the third time (second consecutive race) INDYCAR has included a morning warm-up in 2019 (St. Petersburg and Barber).
The race day broadcast begins at 4:00 p.m. Eastern on April 14 on NBCSN.
While video coverage of the practice sessions will be shown only on NBC Sports Gold’s INDYCAR Pass, fans can catch live action for free by listening to the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network. Check out RaceControl.IndyCar.com for radio commentary with live timing and scoring included.
Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Fast Facts
Race weekend: Friday, April 12 – Sunday, April 14
Track: 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course (clockwise) in Long Beach, California
Race distance: 85 laps / 167.28 miles
Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.
Firestone tire allotment: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. Rookie drivers are allowed one extra primary set for Practice 1.
Twitter: @GPLongBeach @IndyCar, #AGPLB, #IndyCar
Event website: www.gplb.com
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2018 race winner: Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda)
2018 NTT P1 Award winner: Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda), 1:06.5528, 106.454 mph
Qualifying lap record: Helio Castroneves, 1:06.2254, 106.980 mph, April 8, 2017
NBCSN telecasts: Qualifying, Saturday, April 13 (2:45 p.m. ET, live); Race, Sunday, April 14 (4 p.m. ET, live).
Leigh Diffey will be the play-by-play announcer for NBCSN’s telecast of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Kelli Stavast and Robin Miller are the pit reporters.
Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Anders Krohn. Jake Query and Nick Yeoman are the turn announcers with Dave Furst, Rob Howden and Ryan Myrehn reporting from the pits.
The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race airs live on network affiliates, Sirius 113, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA.
All NTT IndyCar Series practices and qualifying are available on IndyCar.com,indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app, with Qualifying also airing on Sirius 218 and XM 209.
NBC Sports Gold livestreaming: All NTT IndyCar Series practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer livestreaming product that will put more INDYCAR programming content at viewers’ fingertips than ever before.
In addition, full- broadcast, same-day replays of NTT IndyCar Series races, live streams of Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires races, edited cutdowns of NTT IndyCar Series and Indy Lights races and more will be available.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Friday, April 12
10 – 10:45 a.m. – NTT IndyCar Series practice #1, NBC Sports Gold
2 – 2:45 p.m. – NTT IndyCar Series practice #2, NBC Sports Gold
Saturday, April 13
9 – 9:45 a.m. – NTT IndyCar Series practice #3, NBC Sports Gold
12:10 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifications), NBCSN (live, 11:45 a.m.)
Sunday, April 14
9 – 9:30 a.m. – NTT IndyCar Series warmup, NBC Sports Gold
1 p.m. – NBCSN on air
1:35 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines” command, Anthony Lynn, head coach, Los Angeles Chargers
1:42 p.m. – Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (85 laps/167.28 miles), NBCSN (live)
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.
Fast Facts and at-track Schedule by Indycar, subject to change.