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Several sponsors switched for IndyCar’s trip to Long Beach

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There will be a handful of different primary sponsors and liveries adorned on the 21-car Verizon IndyCar Series field for this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN), Round 2 of the 2017 season.

Seven of the 21 cars will have either a different primary sponsor or livery, or perhaps both, this weekend. The full entry list, via INDYCAR, is linked here.

Here’s the changes:

  • Simon Pagenaud will run the No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, a shift to the blinding yellow from PPG colors at St. Petersburg.
  • Helio Castroneves’ No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet is back in the usual blue-and-white it is for this race. It was Hitachi black-and-white at St. Petersburg.
  • Scott Dixon will have NTT Data on his No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda but the same livery as at St. Petersburg, where GE LED Lighting was the primary sponsor.
  • Graham Rahal’s No. 15 RLL Racing Honda will feature PennGrade signage. It was Steak ‘n Shake at St. Petersburg.
  • Spencer Pigot’s No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet still is listed with Fuzzy’s Vodka primary sponsorship but will have Loki the Wolfdog, an Instagram celebrity dog (seriously, such a thing exists) signage.
  • JR Hildebrand’s No. 21 ECR Chevrolet shifts from Fuzzy’s green to Preferred Freezer Services blue-and-white.
  • Marco Andretti’s No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda for Andretti Autosport also goes to blue-and-white, after the breakaway from hhgregg. UFD was confirmed as primary sponsor for seven races earlier this week.

This means of the 21 cars, more than half (11 of them) have some degree of blue in their livery.

Those cars are driven by Castroneves, Dixon, Hildebrand, Andretti, Conor Daly, Carlos Munoz, Max Chilton, Tony Kanaan, Ed Jones, Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi, the latter of whom continues in the NAPA Auto Parts colors this weekend.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.