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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.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).