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Fast Facts: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

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Courtesy of INDYCAR PR, here’s all you need to know ahead of this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Verizon IndyCar Series’ third round of the 2016 season:

Track:  Streets of Long Beach, a 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course (clockwise)
Race distance: 80 laps / 157.44 miles
Entry List:  Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (PDF)
Push-to-pass parameters: 10 activations for 20 seconds each
Firestone tire allotment: Four sets primary, three sets alternate
Twitter: @ToyotaGPLB @IndyCar, #TGPLB, #IndyCar
Event website: www.gplb.com
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2015 race winner: Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet)
2015 Verizon P1 Award winner: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet),1:06.6294, 106.331 mph
Qualifying lap record: Helio Castroneves, 1:06.6294, 106.331 mph, April 18, 2015

NBCSN race broadcast: Sunday, April 17 (4 p.m. ET)

NBCSN qualifying broadcast: Saturday, April 16 (6 p.m. ET, tape delayed)

Rick Allen will be the play-by-play announcer for NBCSN’s broadcast of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller are the pit reporters.

Radio broadcasts: The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network is led by chief announcer Mark Jaynes, with analyst Davey Hamilton. Turn reporters are Jake Query and Nick Yeoman, with Rob Howden and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on network affiliates, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app. Qualifying broadcasts are available on Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app. Practice sessions are on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

Video Streaming: All practice sessions and qualifying for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be available on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar) and RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

INDYCAR Mobile App: Verizon Wireless puts fans around the world in the driver’s seat with its INDYCAR Mobile app. The app has been enhanced with new features to keep fans in the know of the latest race-day action. Exclusive features of the INDYCAR Mobile app for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and includes enhanced real-time leaderboard and car telemetry; the ability to follow the race in real time with the interactive 3D track; live in-car camera video streaming for select drivers during Verizon IndyCar Series races; live driver and pit crew radio transmissions during races and live Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network audio streaming during all track activities.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, April 15

10-10:45 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
2-2:45 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #2, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)

Saturday, April 16

10-10:45 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #3, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live)
2 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (three rounds of Verizon IndyCar Series qualifications), streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live); NBCSN (taped, 3 p.m.)

Sunday, April 17

9-9:30 a.m.  – Verizon IndyCar Series warm-up, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
1 p.m. – NBCSN on air
1:45 p.m. – Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (80 laps/157.44 miles), NBCSN (Live)

Race Notes:

* Scott Dixon and Target Chip Ganassi Racing won the Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to Phoenix International Raceway, winning the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix in dominating fashion. Dixon, who claimed his first win at Long Beach in 2015, aims for back-to-back wins at the Beach in pursuit of his fifth series title.

* This weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the 33rd Indy car event on the historic street circuit. Mario Andretti won the first Indy car race there in 1984. Dixon was the 2015 race winner, claiming his first win at Long Beach. Sebastien Bourdais (2005-2007) was the last repeat winner at Long Beach.

* Al Unser Jr. has won the most times at Long Beach (six), while Bourdais and Will Power are the only entered drivers with multiple wins. Bourdais won three straight races from 2005-2007. Power won in 2008 and 2012. Other former race winners scheduled to compete are: Juan Pablo Montoya (1999), Helio Castroneves (2001), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2010), Takuma Sato (2013) and Dixon (2015).

* Team Penske drivers have won five of the last seven poles at Long Beach: Castroneves, who set the lap record in 2015, Power from 2009-2011 and Ryan Briscoe in 2012. In addition to Castroneves and Power, other past pole winners entered in this year’s race are: Hunter-Reay (2014), Bourdais (2006-2007) and Tony Kanaan (1999).

* Four drivers have won the race from the pole – Mario Andretti (1984, 1985 and 1987), Unser Jr. (1989-90), Castroneves (2001) and Bourdais (2006-07).

* Nineteen drivers entered in the event have competed in Indy car races at Long Beach. Twelve of those drivers have led laps: Bourdais 169, Power 162, Castroneves 132, Hunter-Reay 122, Dixon 69, Sato 66, Marco Andretti 64, Kanaan 51, Montoya 40, Simon Pagenaud 26, Jack Hawksworth 4 and Josef Newgarden 1.

* Rookies Max Chilton and Alexander Rossi will compete in their first Verizon IndyCar Series race on the streets of Long Beach. Chilton, who leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by five points over Rossi and seven points over Conor Daly, competed on the circuit in Indy Lights in 2015.

* Kanaan seeks to start his 252nd consecutive race, which would extend his Indy car-record streak that began in 2001 at Portland. Teammate Dixon has made 193 consecutive starts, which is tied for the third-longest streak in Indy car racing.

* Dixon, the longest-tenured driver for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, is tied with Al Unser for fourth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 39.

* The 2016 season is the second in which aerodynamic bodywork component kits are used. The aero kits, produced by engine manufacturers Chevrolet and Honda for their respective supplied teams, are the latest technical innovation to enhance on-track performance through competitive aerodynamic development. Each manufacturer produces two kits for teams – one for short ovals/road courses/street courses and another for superspeedway ovals – but within each kit, teams have multiple component options available.

* The second season of aero kit competition complements the fifth year of engine manufacturer competition between Chevrolet and Honda with their 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines. It will be another season testing speed and durability to determine the manufacturer champion.

* The No. 22 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet crew of Simon Pagenaud won the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award during the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix. The No. 22 Team Penske crew will receive its $10,000 award during pre-race festivities at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

HUSTLING HELIO: Castroneves hunting for 2021 rides in IMSA, IndyCar

Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.