Tagliani takes us on a tour of Long Beach circuit

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IZOD IndyCar Series driver Alex Tagliani has a simple theory on why Turn 1 of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach course seems to be every bit a spot for trouble as it is a spot for overtaking.

“I’m wondering if it’s not that big Firestone sign that becomes bigger and bigger, and all of a sudden you see all of these beautiful California girls on the bridge,” the Canadian racer muses while on a track walk of the 1.97-mile circuit. “You’re looking up and you get distracted, and for a fraction of a second — ‘Oh, Turn One is coming!’ And everybody’s in the fence.”

As you can probably figure, there’s a bit of humor involved in this particular track walk with the driver of the No. 98 Barracuda Racing Honda, who is fashioned as “The Amazing Alex Tagliani” (‘Feared by men, desired by women, loved by all,’ according to the intro) in an ongoing series of at-track vignettes.

But as his video from Barber Motorsports Park attests, even Tag seems to have his own fears — namely, giant bugs and unicycle-riding men that bear a striking resemblance to IndyCar’s old championship trophy.

You can catch Tagliani and the rest of IndyCar’s finest in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach — today at 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and NBC Sports Live Extra for online and mobile devices.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”