Photo courtesy of Honda

Edelman, USC coach Helton, celebrities visit Long Beach weekend

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Given it’s proximity to Los Angeles, (it is only about 25 miles south of L.A.) the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is never short of celebrities or other sports figures in attendance.

While this year’s event did not feature the previously long-standing Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race for the first time in ages, there were still plenty of celebrities on hand.

The grand marshal for the event was USC head football coach Clay Helton, while two-time Super Bowl champion Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots rode along with Mario Andretti in the Honda Fastest Seat in Sports.

The New England Patriots wide receiver also spent time with defending Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi, who gave him a behind-the-scenes-look at the sport.

Of course, Edelman wasn’t the only one to take a ride with Mario. Singer Leona Lewis, along with boyfriend Dennis Jauch, and actress Chloe Grace Moretz all enjoyed two-seater rides, as well as comedian Jeff Ross.

 

Dennis Jauch, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Leona Lewis at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Photo: IndyCar

 

Comedian Jeff Ross with Mario Andretti. Photo: IndyCar

Below is a full list of celebrities who attended the 2017 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, via INDYCAR:

Guests of Marco Andretti:
•    Nina Dobrev, “Vampire Diaries”
•    Comedian Nick Swardson
•    Comedian Jeff Ross
•    Bridget Marquardt, “The Girls Next Door”

Guests of Conor Daly:
•    Chloe Grace Moretz, “Carrie”; “Let Me In”
•    Tory Belleci, “Mythbusters”; “White Rabbit Project”
•    DJ MAKJ
•    YouTube personality iJustine
•    Kevin Ray, bassist for band Walk the Moon
•    Television presenter/producer/writer Andrea Feczko

Guests of James Hinchcliffe:
•    Terra Jole, “Little Women: LA”; “Dancing with the Stars” (Season 23)
•    Pierson Fodé, “The Bold and the Beautiful”
•    Singer/songwriter Leona Lewis
•    LA Galaxy player Gyasi Zardes

Also of note: James Hinchcliffe received a visit earlier in the weekend from former Dancing With the Stars partner Sharna Burgess, with whom he finished second on the 23rd of the dance competition show. Hinchcliffe, of course, went one spot better on Sunday.

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.