IndyCar notes: Andretti leads Honda contingent; Coletti quick but unlucky and more from Long Beach

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It only seems like the Verizon IndyCar Series season just started, but the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is already the third race of the year in the books. Here were some of the other stories to emerge out of Long Beach:

  • Andretti best Honda, but only P8: Marco Andretti’s post-race tweet that read: “Well executed race only to finish 8th. Frustrated.” more or less said it all. The driver of the No. 27 Merchant First/Snapple Honda had another quietly consistent run and was the top-finishing Honda driver. But the pace for Andretti – nor the other 10 Hondas in the field – just didn’t seem there as it wasn’t at St. Petersburg either. Chevrolet swept the top six in St. Pete and the top seven in Long Beach.
  • Newgarden seventh, and unlucky: After running fifth most of the race, Josef Newgarden could count himself unlucky to finish seventh. He lost time on the final pit stop sequence; still, the driver of the No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet was upbeat. “We had a little bit of trouble in the pit stop as we had to wait for Graham and after that we lost out to Tony and Sebastian. We came home seventh, so it’s disappointing that we didn’t reach our potential. It was definitely a decent result,” said Newgarden, who recorded a Long Beach career-best.
  • Coletti, Filippi, Dracone all with topsy-turvy days: KV Racing Technology driver Stefano Coletti did his now usual poor start to big gain routine, up from 23rd to 15th early, before a gearbox problem cost him multiple laps. He finished 23rd and last, but posted the fastest race lap… Newgarden’s CFH teammate Luca Filippi noted his engine went into “safe mode” on the first pit stop sequence, and that’s what affected his and Will Power’s race. It ended Filippi’s quick two-for-two start to the year in the top-10… to his credit, Dale Coyne Racing’s Francesco Dracone posted his first finish this year, and also erased a trend of finishing fewer laps in every successive race he had done up to this point.
  • Already 18 different drivers with top-10s: It’s early days yet but through three races we’re starting to get a sense of who’s becoming a top-10 regular. Thus far 18 different drivers have made it in three races; those who have driven all three races but haven’t bagged a top-10 yet include Charlie Kimball, Takuma Sato, Gabby Chaves, Coletti and Dracone.