Castroneves secures pole in IndyCar qualifying at Long Beach

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – A Team Penske driver is on pole for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN), but it’s not necessarily the driver you’d first think of.

Helio Castroneves makes it three different Penske drivers on pole in as many races, after Will Power (St. Petersburg) and Juan Pablo Montoya (NOLA) were the first two Verizon P1 Award winners of the season.

Castroneves, with a fast lap of 1:06.6294 in the Firestone Fast Six session in the No. 3 AAA Team Penske Chevrolet, has also set a new track record – eclipsing Sebastien Bourdais’s 1:06.886 from 2006.

“I tell you what, the AAA machine was on rails,” Castroneves told NBCSN’s Marty Snider. “Being pole position with the teammates I have, it’s like a victory. Fantastic guys. It’s paying off. One day it’ll be my day, one day another one. From the beginning of the weekend until now, we’re chipping away.”

This is the 42nd career pole position of Castroneves’ career, the fourth most in IndyCar history. Bobby Unser sits third on the all-time list with 49 career poles. The only other time Castroneves sat on pole here was 2001, when he drove to victory for the only time in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Castroneves’ teammate and 1999 Long Beach winner Juan Pablo Montoya was second at 1:06.6587.

Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden completed the Fast Six.

For Hunter-Reay, he upheld Honda’s honor as its only representative in the Fast Six; Newgarden was the only driver outside the Penske, Ganassi and Andretti teams in delivering CFH Racing’s first Fast Six appearance this season.

Tony Kanaan rolls off seventh, ahead of Graham Rahal with his best start of the year in eighth. Sebastien Bourdais and Marco Andretti completed the top 10.

Sebastian Saavedra impressed in his opening qualifying appearance with Chip Ganassi Racing in P11, just ahead of the third Andretti Autosport entry of Carlos Munoz.

The biggest absence from both the Fast Six and Q2 was defending series champion Will Power, who was caught out on timing during his group session in Q1.

Stefano Coletti crashed exiting Turn 4 in his No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, which brought the session to a conclusion without several cars – Power’s included – unable to set a representative time.

Power will start 18th, but was diplomatic in his post-qualifying comments to IndyCar Radio.

“I turned the engine down and coasted,” Power said. “It’s gonna be tough. You know how these IndyCar races go. We gotta be positive and hopefully the yellow falls our way.”

If it helps, Power won from 12th here three years ago.

Elsewhere NOLA winner James Hinchcliffe will start 13th, Luca Filippi 14th in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet that was the winning car last year, and Conor Daly 21st in his first IndyCar start in nearly two full years. Daly was brought in as a last-minute injury substitute for Rocky Moran Jr.

Here’s a screen capture of the grid:

Qualifying results are below:

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Qualifying Saturday for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Verizon IndyCar Series event at the 1.968 mile(s) Streets of Long Beach, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1.  (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 01:06.6294 (106.331)
2.  (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 01:06.6587 (106.285)
3.  (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 01:06.7870 (106.081)
4.  (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:07.0473 (105.669)
5.  (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:07.1433 (105.518)
6.  (67) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:07.1716 (105.473)
7.  (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 01:07.1090 (105.572)
8.  (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:07.1290 (105.540)
9.  (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 01:07.2411 (105.364)
10.  (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:07.3161 (105.247)
11.  (8) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 01:07.3924 (105.128)
12.  (26) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 01:07.4049 (105.108)
13.  (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:07.3976 (105.119)
14.  (20) Luca Filippi, Chevrolet, 01:08.6104 (103.261)
15.  (83) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 01:07.4217 (105.082)
16.  (41) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 01:08.6276 (103.235)
17.  (98) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 01:07.4653 (105.014)
18.  (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:08.8348 (102.925)
19.  (7) James Jakes, Honda, 01:07.7702 (104.542)
20.  (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:08.8732 (102.867)
21.  (18) Conor Daly, Honda, 01:08.7825 (103.003)
22.  (19) Francesco Dracone, Honda, 01:09.8815 (101.383)
23.  (4) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 01:10.4644 (100.544)

Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.

NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.