Sebastien Bourdais looking to reclaim past Long Beach form

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Sebastian Bourdais gets another chance to become the King of Long Beach this weekend, as he looks to recover from a 13th-place showing in the Verizon IndyCar Series’ season opener two weekends ago.

In the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Bourdais was forced to get a new nose early in the event after contact and was penalized later on for not packing up.

“St. Petersburg was a valiant effort by the whole team and to finish where we started is very frustrating,” Bourdais said in a pre-race release. “The only positives that came out of the race are that we keep fighting back and I had a rocket ship for a car, so I know our time will come.”

Naturally, the Frenchman hopes for a smoother weekend by the Pacific Ocean, where he’s had some of his greatest success in North American open-wheel racing. Bourdais won three straight Champ Car races at Long Beach from 2005-2007.

Recent years there have been tough, however, with a DNF in 2011, and finishes of 17th and 15th in 2012 and 2013 respectively. But his respect for the event has not waned.

“Long Beach is a great event,” Bourdais said. “It is next to the Indy 500, the premier event on our schedule. The atmosphere at the race is always unbelievable and the circuit is a challenge. There are different corners and different surfaces that you have to contend with, so getting the right setup is crucial. Because it is a street circuit, qualifying is extremely important.

“I had some success at Long Beach when I raced in Champ Cars. The last few years have been more difficult, but based on how good the KVSH Racing car was in St. Petersburg, I am looking forward to debuting the Mistic machine this weekend in Long Beach.”

You can see how Bourdais fares this weekend with Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach qualifying on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET, and then the main event on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

FIA returns Manor’s F1 entry fee for 2017

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Good news: Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited got a refund of an entry fee it paid to the FIA to run in this year’s F1 season.

Bad news: Manor still hasn’t run this year, and won’t be for the foreseeable future (especially as Manor’s former leadership staff is moving that team into FIA WEC’s new-look LMP1 class in addition to its LMP2 program).

Manor Group’s receivership outfit, Just Racing Services Limited, went into administration earlier this year. As there was no new buyer for the F1 team, Manor dropped from the 2017 grid before the season.

The FIA said it would return its entry fee to help Manor Group pay off outstanding debts.

It basically means nothing in the grand scheme of things since Manor missed out on 10th place in the constructor’s standings in 2016 and fell from the F1 grid as a result, but hey, it’s a goodwill gesture going into Thanksgiving this week.