Pirelli World Challenge at Long Beach results (SPOILER)

Leave a comment

Writer’s Note: The following is a recap of today’s second race of the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge season from the streets of Long Beach, California. NBCSN will broadcast the race on Sunday, April 20 at 5:30 p.m. ET. If you don’t want to know who won until then, we suggest you find another post to read here on MotorSportsTalk…

GT pole sitter Johnny O’Connell led all 32 laps in his No. 3 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R to take the win in the second round of the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge championship on the streets of Long Beach, California.

O’Connell’s win was an effective recovery from a 10th-place showing in the season opening round two weeks ago at St. Petersburg, Florida. His Cadillac Racing teammate, Andy Pilgrim, finished second for the Caddies’ first 1-2 result since Round 10 of the 2013 season at Toronto.

“Honestly, it’s going to be a long season climbing back from what happened at St. Pete,” O’Connell said. “We came away with barely any points there. We have to score points, and we got maximum points.”

Anthony Lazzaro brought the R.Ferri team its first PWC podium with a third-place showing in the No. 61 Ferrari 458 Italia. GMG Racing Audi teammates Andrew Palmer and James Sofronas completed the Top 5.

Inside the GT-A subcategory for gentlemen drivers, Michael Mills took advantage of late trouble for Nick Mancuso to pick up the win in his No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche GT3 R. Overall, he finished in the 10th position.

As for the GTS category, the Kia Racing tandem of Nic Jonsson and Mark Wilkins finished first and third on the podium, with Capaldi Racing Ford driver Tony Buffomante in second.

Jonsson jumped class polesitter Jack Roush Jr. for the lead on the second lap of the race and never looked back. Long Beach marks the second PWC victory of Jonsson’s career, but his first in almost a decade; he won in the Touring Car class at Sonoma Raceway in 2004.

Roush Jr. faded to fourth at the finish, with fellow Ford racer Alec Udell placing fifth. As for your GTS winner from two weeks ago, Lawson Aschenbach, he finished 18th after a mechanical failure knocked his No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevy out at Lap 2.

Barber Motorsports Park will host the next event for the PWC on April 25-27, and it will be an “all skate” as the three Touring Car-based categories join the GT/GT-A/GTS contingent.

PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE: Grand Prix of Long Beach – Race Results

‘Game-changing’ multi-year agreement will take INDYCAR, NBC Sports ‘to the next level’


NEW YORK – As the fourth Nor’easter in three weeks bore down on the Big Apple, it was tough to spot people that were clearly in a good mood.

But Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN, was clearly in a good mood.

On Wednesday morning at 10 am ET, we all found out why: NBC will become the exclusive home of the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, starting in 2019.

The new three-year deal not only makes “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” part of the network’s “Championship Season” – its collection of high-profile championship events from May to July – but also reaffirms NBC’s status as the home of motorsports television in the United States.

That status is something Miller doesn’t take for granted.

“It’s important people know that storytelling is in our DNA, and motorsports lends itself very well to storytelling,” Miller said as he, INDYCAR CEO Mark Miles and driver James Hinchcliffe made a snowy trek to the New York Stock Exchange to promote the deal on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

“We’ve had great success with the second half of the entire NASCAR season, and then we’ve had half of the IndyCar package [since 2009] … But we never had the real meat of the series and that didn’t set anybody up for success.

“Having the entire package of IndyCar now – all 17 races, qualifying, practice, you name it – really sets IndyCar on a strong path and solidifies NBC’s position as the home of motorsports. I think it becomes a property much like the Premier League, the NHL, and even the Olympics and the Triple Crown. We have 100 percent of the media opportunity and we can put all those great assets behind it.”

With the storm no doubt keeping some traders home, the floor of the NYSE was relatively subdued. But that made it no less important to be at the heart of Wall Street. Miles and his team are pursuing a new title sponsor for the IndyCar Series to replace Verizon, which will fully focus its efforts in the series with the powerhouse Team Penske going forward in 2019.

The new deal – which includes 8 races per year on the NBC network (with the remaining races going to NBCSN), live streaming of all races, and a direct-to-consumer package with NBC Sports Gold – gave Miles plenty to push for any potential backers. As for Hinchcliffe, he held his own nicely in an interview that also explored IndyCar’s global ambitions, the impact of technology on the sport, and of course, his spin around the ballroom on “Dancing with the Stars.”

On the ride back to 30 Rock, Miles was confident that NBC can play a big role in attracting a sponsor that can help the series keep growing.

“With respect to our work in finding the best title sponsor, it’s really important – and this has not been talked about much – but we expect to work with hand in glove with NBC’s sales,” he explained. “We have the opportunity to create packages which are both broadcast sponsorship and series sponsorship, I think, in a way that doesn’t come along very often.

“Usually, the media deal and the sponsorship deal doesn’t align like this, so we’re really excited about the offering we’ll have and the approach to the market we can take.”

Should the partnership with NBC bear fruit on that front and others, it will only add to the upswing that the IndyCar Series has had in recent years.

Hinchcliffe has been a witness to that. He entered the series in 2011, when it was trying to find its footing after the sport’s reunification three years earlier. After 13 years of CART vs. the Indy Racing League, getting everything back under one roof was not a smooth process.

But fast-forward seven years, and things have changed for the better. TV ratings and digital viewers have gone up. Race scheduling has become more stable and enhanced with the return of traditional open-wheel markets. And this year’s debut of the universal aero kit aims to pump up the action on the track, while also giving the cars a cleaner, meaner look.

Now, with NBC all in, Hinchcliffe is bullish on his sport’s future.

“This is a game-changing thing for us,” he declared. “If you look at the last four or five years, we’ve seen a steady growth in pretty much every measureable metric that there is – in a time where, globally, motorsports is in a bit of a downturn.

“The fact that IndyCar was able to rally against a global dip in motorsports interest, attendance, sponsorship – it speaks volumes to what we have been doing and this is just gonna take us to that next level.”