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WATCH LIVE and notes: IndyCar at Long Beach (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – Coverage of the second round of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, takes place today starting at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via (stream link here).

The race sets up as one of the more intriguing ones with Helio Castroneves on the pole in the No. 3 AAA Team Penske Chevrolet, ahead of five Hondas.

Meanwhile the fastest driver in the morning warmup and defending race winner, Simon Pagenaud, will start 21st and last after a penalty assessed for impeding Castroneves in the first round of qualifying.

The first eight drivers on the grid, plus Pagenaud in last and 13th-starting Ed Jones, the lone rookie in the field although the 2015 Indy Lights race winner, will start on Firestone’s red sidewall alternate tires for the race, while the remaining 11 drivers will start on the primary black sidewall tires.

Rick Allen will be in the booth with Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller will be in pit lane.

Coverage will run from 1 to 4 p.m. PT and local time, so 4 to 7 p.m. ET.

Among the things to look out for in the race and the broadcast:

  • Conor Daly got to look at cars from the “Fast & Furious” franchise earlier this week, and this will be highlighted during the pre-race show.
  • The race will be 85 laps, up five from last year. It remains likely a two-stop race, although a chance to run flat out on three is possible if some teams further down the order go off sequence.
  • Here’s quick thoughts from Will Power and James Hinchcliffe on that topic: Said Power: “It will take one yellow to make it a two-stop running start, I think. Even so, like seven laps or 10 laps. You still got to have people go through a big fuel save, or if there’s a yellow, just be the same with the rules. You know, it’s really enjoyable when someone does three, if you are the person that does three, you just out (indiscernible) everyone with one extra stop. That’s a fun race. So I’m hoping it’s like that.” Said Hinchcliffe: “It’s very possible still on two stops with saving. So we need a yellow to really kind of spice it up. I know we managed to go without a yellow last year, which was pretty impressive. Realistically it probably should have been shortened by five laps, like by 15, yeah. I commend IndyCar for trying to address the issue because we did talk about this last year, but unfortunately we just missed it. I really hope that there’s some yellow early in the race to throw some strategy.”

Hamilton tops second Abu Dhabi F1 practice with new track record

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Lewis Hamilton swept to the top of the timesheets in second Formula 1 practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday evening, beating Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second.

Hamilton trailed Vettel through the daytime-run opening practice session, but managed to strike back by recording a new track record at the Yas Marina Circuit for Mercedes.

Hamilton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:37.877 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Vettel at the checkered flag, appearing to have an edge across a single lap on the ultra-soft tire.

Red Bull threw its hat into the ring as a possible rival for pole through Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the session third-fastest, three-tenths of a second back from Hamilton at the head of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen ended FP2 in fourth place in the sister Ferrari, finishing within half a second of Hamilton, and managed to edge out fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was a further two-tenths back in P5.

Max Verstappen failed to get in a quick flying lap during FP2, ending the session one second down in P6 for Red Bull.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s tight intra-team fight at Force India continued through FP2 as the pair were separated by just 0.01 seconds, taking seventh and eighth respectively to finish as the leading midfield drivers.

Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 for Renault and McLaren, with Felipe Massa following in 11th for Williams on his final Friday appearance in F1.

Massa was fortunate to avoid an accident with Ricciardo during the final 15 minutes of the session after a mix up at the hairpin when the Brazilian tried to get a wider line for the back straight.

Running in Abu Dhabi continues with final practice at Yas Marina on Saturday morning from 5am ET on the NBC Sports app, followed by qualifying at 8am ET on NBCSN.