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Several sponsors switched for IndyCar’s trip to Long Beach

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There will be a handful of different primary sponsors and liveries adorned on the 21-car Verizon IndyCar Series field for this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN), Round 2 of the 2017 season.

Seven of the 21 cars will have either a different primary sponsor or livery, or perhaps both, this weekend. The full entry list, via INDYCAR, is linked here.

Here’s the changes:

  • Simon Pagenaud will run the No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, a shift to the blinding yellow from PPG colors at St. Petersburg.
  • Helio Castroneves’ No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet is back in the usual blue-and-white it is for this race. It was Hitachi black-and-white at St. Petersburg.
  • Scott Dixon will have NTT Data on his No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda but the same livery as at St. Petersburg, where GE LED Lighting was the primary sponsor.
  • Graham Rahal’s No. 15 RLL Racing Honda will feature PennGrade signage. It was Steak ‘n Shake at St. Petersburg.
  • Spencer Pigot’s No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet still is listed with Fuzzy’s Vodka primary sponsorship but will have Loki the Wolfdog, an Instagram celebrity dog (seriously, such a thing exists) signage.
  • JR Hildebrand’s No. 21 ECR Chevrolet shifts from Fuzzy’s green to Preferred Freezer Services blue-and-white.
  • Marco Andretti’s No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda for Andretti Autosport also goes to blue-and-white, after the breakaway from hhgregg. UFD was confirmed as primary sponsor for seven races earlier this week.

This means of the 21 cars, more than half (11 of them) have some degree of blue in their livery.

Those cars are driven by Castroneves, Dixon, Hildebrand, Andretti, Conor Daly, Carlos Munoz, Max Chilton, Tony Kanaan, Ed Jones, Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi, the latter of whom continues in the NAPA Auto Parts colors this weekend.

Marco Andretti to drive throwback scheme to honor 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario’s last win

Photo courtesy Andretti-Herta Autosport
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Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).

So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.

Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.

“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.

“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”

The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.

Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.

Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago:

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