IMSA to grill up some street action in BUBBA Burger GP at Long Beach

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship heads to the streets of Long Beach, Calif. this weekend for its first sprint race of the season, the 100-minute BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix At Long Beach.

After caution-free affairs the last two years with just the Prototype and GT Le Mans classes, an added wrinkle comes this year with the Prototype Challenge category rejoining the field to bump the grid up from what would be an 18-car field (8 P, 10 GTLM) up to 25 cars.

The additional seven PC cars may play an interesting role in the weekend proceedings. Some of the teams and drivers are more experienced on these streets than others, and in their first street course race with new electronics that debuted at Sebring, spins are inevitable at some point during the weekend. You’d be a brave individual to place any money on the race running caution-free for a third straight year, but it’d be a credit to the entire field if they do.

As such, that might make strategy plays here a bit different. Long Beach, at 100 minutes and the shortest event on the IMSA calendar, is always a one-stop race. When you make your stop is important as it will dictate track position; oftentimes, with passing not particularly easy at Long Beach, leapfrogging in the pits is the way to get ahead.

The Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP won this race overall last year with brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor, who executed flawlessly all weekend from pole.

Action Express Racing has struggled in its two prior Long Beach starts; that being said, they did win the series’ most recent street race in Detroit last May in mixed conditions. This is a track where if the team wants to extend its title dominance within the Prototype class, it needs to find a way higher up the podium with either or both of its Mustang Sampling or Whelen Engineering backed entries.

“Long Beach is one of our toughest races of the year with such a condensed schedule for practice and a shorter race,” said Dane Cameron, who co-drives with Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen car. “That format places a premium on showing up ready to go and maximizing every opportunity. It is tough to pass so qualifying well and using strategy and perfect pit stops to your advantage are a must at Long Beach.”

Still, any of these three or the Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP are a more likely overall winner here than the remaining four Prototype class entries. Long Beach, as more of a point-and-shoot street track, favors the more torquey, grunty Daytona Prototypes over the lighter, more nimble but less powerful LMP2-spec cars. The chances for the lone Ligier JS P2 Honda of Michael Shank Racing are reduced here owing to a pre-event Balance of Performance change where the car’s boost levels were reduced.

The Mazda Prototypes look for another double finish and perhaps their first top-five racing barely more than 20 miles away from home soil in Irvine, Calif. while the DeltaWing seeks an elusive finish after coming oh so close at Sebring.

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Andy Meyrick deputize for Ryan Dalziel and Sean Rayhall, respectively, this weekend. IndyCar ace Hunter-Reay takes over the No. 90 car with Marc Goossens in for Dalziel with Meyrick making his first Long Beach start in the DeltaWing he shares with Katherine Legge.

“Long Beach is an iconic circuit,” he said. “It’s a track that’s on every driver’s bucket list and it’s been on mine especially since I first came to America to race in 2010.”

The PC battle is likely to favor track experience; CORE autosport’s same pairing of Colin Braun and Jon Bennett won the most recent PC race at the track in 2013 in the American Le Mans Series. Alex Popow, Johnny Mowlem, Tomy Drissi, Kyle Marcelli and Stephen Simpson also have a degree of experience at the track, while most of the rest will either get refreshed or learn the circuit during the two-hour morning practice on Friday, the only pre-qualifying track activity.

Figure the action to be intense and harder to project out in GT Le Mans, where Corvette Racing has won the first two races of the year and has had past Long Beach success, but where BMW has traditionally held the edge.

Bill Auberlen is always particularly amped up for his home race. Last year, he won the pole and then co-drove with Dirk Werner to the win in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTLM. Now he’ll look to add the first win for the new BMW M6 GTLM to his resume.

Elsewhere in class the fellow turbocharged Ford GT and Ferrari 488 GTE make their street course debuts. Porsche has not podiumed here each of the last two years and will look to end that drought this weekend.

Scuderia Corsa will be a team to watch in GTLM with Alessandro Balzan making his class debut alongside Daniel Serra. The California-based team runs its third straight GTLM race with the GT Daytona class not running at Long Beach.

There’s been a couple BoP changes in GTLM, with the BMW gaining and Corvette and Ferrari each losing a bit in refueling restrictor size. Keep that in mind when we get to pit stops.

While Continental races at both street events this year, this marks Michelin’s lone street course race of the season as the GTLM category doesn’t run at Detroit.

“Several years ago, we developed a special racing tire to use here at Long Beach,” said Michelin’s director of motorsports, Chris Baker. “The things we learned from that experience fed into our Michelin Pilot Super Sport tire that raised the bar for Ultra High Performance (UHP) tires and became the standard by which all products in the category are measured.

“Long Beach is the only street circuit that our GTLM cars race on in the WeatherTech Championship so it provides us with a very unique opportunity to assess tire performance on real city streets.”

The race runs live at 7 p.m. ET on FS2 on Saturday evening, with live flag-to-flag coverage also available then and throughout the weekend on IMSA Radio. FS1 re-airs are at 11 p.m. ET Saturday and 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday.

Max Verstappen is PointsBet favorite to score sixth staight in 2022 Singapore Grand Prix

PointsBet 2022 Singapore odds
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Max Verstappen is the PointsBet Sportsbook odds favorite to win the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay Street course to stretch his current win streak to six consecutive. He shows odds of -200 this week.

Formula 1 did not compete in Singapore in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Verstappen has podium finishes in his last two attempts on this track. he was second in 2018 and third in 2019. In the first 15 races of this season, he has failed to stand on the podium only twice and has an average finish of 2.73.

With minus odds, the way to determine a payout is by subtraction. In order for a bettor to earn $100, he must wager $200 this week; with that wager, he will get back his initial stake and winnings of $100.

For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Charles Leclerc is ranked second this week with +400 odds. He has two previous Singapore GP starts to his credit with a best of second in 2019. He is coming off back-to-back podium finishes with a third in the Dutch GP and a second at Monza.

Ranked third is Carlos Sainz, Jr. with a line of +1100. He has top-five finishes in four of his last five starts, but only one of these, a third in the Belgian GP, was on the podium. Sainz is one of four winners other than Verstappen this season. His victory came in the British GP.

Lewis Hamilton shows a line of +1200. His last win came last fall in the Saudi Arabian GP and the Mercedes team has struggled to contend for victory in 2022. They are improving, however, with eight top-fives in the last nine races. Hamilton has two wins in his last three Singapore starts, which came in 2017 and 2018.

Rounding out the top five is Hamilton’s teammate George Russell at +1800. He has not won, but has shown remarkable consistency with top-fives in all but one race. Notably, his only bad finish came in his home GP in England. Russell has one previous start at Marina Bay; he finished last in the 2019 race. He finished fourth in 2019 as part of a four-race streak of top-fives.

The most recent Singapore GP winner from 2019, Sebastian Vettel is a longshot at +50000.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

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