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City Council unanimously votes to keep IndyCar in Long Beach

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The Verizon IndyCar Series will continue in Long Beach for the foreseeable future, following a vote announced late Tuesday night by the Long Beach City Council to re-up with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach in a new long-term agreement.

The unanimous vote by the City Council brings to an end the speculation that Formula 1 could make a return, following efforts and media led by the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race founder Chris Pook.

Instead, the vote ensures IndyCar will continue on the streets for several years in a new agreement reached. Most IndyCar races’ current contracts were up in 2018 so for IndyCar to solidify its future at its second-longest tenured race on the calendar, and its marquee street course event of the year, is good news for all parties.

This vote follows the results of a $150,000 study done by a consulting firm, which called the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach the “most qualified” firm to run the race on the streets.

Jim Michaelian, President & CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, issued the following statement:

“We are delighted in the action of the Long Beach City Council this evening in voting unanimously to authorize City management to enter into a new long-term agreement with the Grand Prix Association starting in 2019. That means there will be a continuation of the Verizon IndyCar Series as well as all of the accompanying events that have become such an attractive part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend for many years to come. We also want to thank the City staff for the meticulous way in which they evaluated the various options that were submitted. The Grand Prix Association has been an integral part of the fabric of the Long Beach community for 43 years and we look forward to continuing that relationship in the future. The 44th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will take place on April 13-15, 2018.”

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for the injured Oliver Askew, also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.