What to watch for: IndyCar at Long Beach (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN and Live Extra)


LONG BEACH, Calif. – The marquee street race event for the Verizon IndyCar Series, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, occurs today (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).

Here’s what to watch for, after you take a ride with polesitter Helio Castroneves on his record-setting qualifying lap on Saturday, courtesy of INDYCAR.


With three of the top five spots on the grid, Team Penske has a great chance for its second win of the season after Juan Pablo Montoya scored the win in the season-opener at St. Petersburg.

Points leader Montoya has been driving on fire to start the year, Castroneves has been his usually consistent self and Simon Pagenaud has a good record at Long Beach and looks for his first Penske win this weekend.

But the story to watch more than the three up front will be Will Power, and what he’ll do for his charge through the field. He got caught out in qualifying and will start 18th. It might need to be a strategic masterstroke from Penske president Tim Cindric; it paid dividends here three years ago when Power won after starting 12th.


Mike Conway (2011 and 2014) and Takuma Sato (2013) have been surprise winners on the streets of Long Beach in the last few years.

So who could qualify as a potential surprise today?

Josef Newgarden starts sixth and would be a popular first-time winner; Graham Rahal traditionally runs well at Long Beach and has opened the year strong and will srarr eighth; Sebastian Saavedra has thus far exceeded expectations in his debut with Chip Ganassi Racing and starts 11th; Luca Filippi takes over Conway’s car and will look to win from 14th.


IndyCar chief flagman Paul Blevin is not a name you might know very well, but you certainly have seen him fully in action to kick off the 2015 season.

Through the first two races this year, there have been 11 cautions for 48 laps. In the first two races last year, there were only six for 28 laps.

INDYCAR (sanctioning body) issued an update on aero kits earlier this weekend where the Chevrolet teams would need to remove the “rabbit ears” and Honda teams need to reinforce the rear wheel guards; both parts were an issue at St. Petersburg.

The hope is that the update reduces debris parts flying and the number of yellows. But it still comes down to the drivers.


Conor Daly got an ultimate last-minute call-up with Dale Coyne Racing to replace Rocky Moran Jr., who was already replacing Carlos Huertas. Meanwhile Saavedra will make his debut with Chip Ganassi Racing, in place of Sage Karam.

Daly told me on Saturday he was “in at the deep end” – this is his first time in the Honda aero kit version of the car after testing the prior Dallara DW12 chassis with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports earlier this year. But it’s still a great opportunity for him, and a popular one too as he makes his IndyCar street course debut.

Saavedra, in the AFS-backed No. 8 Chevrolet, will look for his second straight Long Beach top-10 finish from 11th on the grid. He finished ninth in this race last year, but hasn’t ended in the top-10 since.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images

Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.