Here’s a couple interesting stats leading into this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (4 p.m. ET Sunday, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).
No chance for a JR three-peat…
Believe it or not, the only driver who has top-five finishes in both of the last two Toyota Grands Prix of Long Beach is JR Hildebrand, who finished fifth in both 2012 and 2013 for Panther Racing. He also raced here in 2011 as an IndyCar rookie, 2010 in ALMS, 2009 in Indy Lights (he won) and 2007 in Formula Atlantic.
With Hildebrand sidelined until the Indianapolis 500, he won’t have a chance to extend that streak.
…Or a Franchitti P1 trifecta
We’re guaranteed to have a new polesitter at Long Beach for the first time since the Dallara DW12’s introduction, as Dario Franchitti’s enforced retirement opens up P1 on the grid.
Franchitti inherited the 2012 pole after Ryan Briscoe was among all the Chevrolet-engined cars needing a change, and a subsequent 10-spot grid penalty, ahead of the race weekend. Then the Scotsman stormed to the first of his four 2013 poles at this race last year.
Power, RHR, Pagenaud, Sato, Wilson do have shots at three in a row
Like Franchitti, Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay made the Firestone Fast Six in both of the last two Long Beach races.
Other than Hildebrand, 2013 winner Takuma Sato, Simon Pagenaud and Justin Wilson have posted top-10 finishes in both of the last two years at Long Beach, and can make it three-for-three this weekend.