Photo: PWC

PWC: Parente defeats Long, water main at Long Beach

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – Alvaro Parente is now two-for-two in winning the Pirelli World Challenge races at Long Beach, even if both race victories have been slightly abnormal.

Last year, the driver of the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 won after the checkered flag when race winner Johnny O’Connell was moved to second for an overboost penalty.

Today, Parente not only toppled the rest of the 22-car field, but survived a water main break that interrupted the scheduled 50-minute race midway through on Seaside Way, in-between Turns 8 and 9.

The race had been fairly uneventful until a passenger car reportedly hit a fire hydrant on the intersection of E. Ocean Blvd. and S. Hart Pl., which then sent about a 20-foot river of water onto the course.

Parente came on it unabated, but was able to skid through the water, slow his speed and then ensure the rest of the field also slowed down enough before there was any incidents.

The race went to full-course yellow conditions and then red flag while the track crew and PWC officials helped to dry the track.

Through some great cooperation from all parties, including the event promoter, the race was able to restart and was only shortened by two minutes to a 48-minute affair. It ensured a majority of the race could be run as 15 extra minutes were added to the session.

Parente held off Patrick Long in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R for the win, with Parente’s teammate Bryan Sellers scoring his first PWC podium in third in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3.

Both Ferrari 488 GT3s in the field, Daniel Mancinelli and Alex Riberas, completed the top five.

Past overall winner James Sofronas captured an overall top 10 finish in his No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R to win the GTA class, thus keeping the team’s streak of wins this year alive. Alec Udell won GTA both races at St. Petersburg in his No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports Porsche, however the talented 21-year-old was promoted to GT by PWC series officials prior to Long Beach this weekend.

It topped off an eventful week for the Newport Beach native and Santa Ana-based team, when they had their open house a week ago but then had a trailer and other car equipment stolen not long after. Most of the parts have been recovered thanks to some good onlookers but some equipment remains outstanding at this time.

More to follow later this week.

BREAKING NEWS: Phoenix will not be on IndyCar schedule in 2019

The sun has set on IndyCar racing at Phoenix, at least for the foreseeable future. Photo: Getty Images
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The sun has set on INDYCAR continuing to race at ISM Raceway (formerly Phoenix International Raceway).

ISM Raceway president Bryan R. Sperber announced late Friday afternoon that the Avondale, Arizona track (in suburban Phoenix) will not host a Verizon IndyCar Series race in 2019.

Michael Knight of the Arizona Republic first reported the story, followed by an official statement from Sperber:

“We have enjoyed having INDYCAR at our venue for the full three years of our agreement. The series officials and teams have been tremendous partners.

“INDYCAR will not be on our schedule in 2019, we’re currently taking a pause to review schedule options for the future. INDYCAR is currently discussing with International Speedway Corporation (ISC) other potential venues and opportunities.

“We’d like INDYCAR to be on our calendar in the coming years, and we will work with INDYCAR to find a date that will help deliver a successful event.”

INDYCAR and previous open-wheel series have raced at the 1.022-mile short track since 1964:

* 1964-1978 as part of the AAA/USAC Champ Car Series

* 1979-1995 as part of the CART/Champ Car World Series

* 1996-2005 as part of the Verizon IndyCar Series

* 2016-2018 – The IndyCar series returned to ISM Raceway after a 10-year absence, However, poor attendance for each of the three years prompted both sides to not extend the three-year agreement that expired after this year’s April race.

Here’s the official INDYCAR statement:

“INDYCAR has enjoyed its time racing at ISM Raceway, but attendance in the past three years has been disappointing despite considerable investment from both sides.

“Track president Bryan Sperber and his team have been terrific partners and are developing a beautiful facility, and IndyCar will reconnect with them when conditions are right for both parties.

“Meanwhile, INDYCAR is moving forward with building a terrific schedule for the 2019 season.”

Because ISM Raceway is owned by International Speedway Corporation, speculation has already begun as to what other ISC tracks INDYCAR may seek to hold races at.

Among potential ISC properties that could host ISC events – and some already have in the past – include Chicagoland Speedway, Watkins Glen Intentional, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Auto Club Speedway and Richmond Raceway.

Other ISC facilities include Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Martinsville Speedway and Darlington Raceway.

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