IndyCar / Stephen King

View from the pits: Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

Leave a comment

Today, the NTT IndyCar Series has its final race before the Month of May with the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on the streets of Long Beach, California.

Alexander Rossi claimed his 5th career pole on Saturday, and will look to become the first repeat winner at Long Beach since Sebastien Bourdais’ run of 3 in a row from 2005-07. It’s worth noting that Rossi has converted three of his previous four poles into wins, including his victory last year at the Beach.

You can catch the action today at 4pm ET on NBCSN, the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com. In the meantime, IndyCar on NBCSN pit reporter Marty Snider checks in with his thoughts on the weekend…

Long Beach never disappoints. The crowds are fantastic. The racing is outstanding. The atmosphere is unrivaled for a street circuit. Sunday, there will be people watching from rooftops, from boats in the harbor and on TV. This is a race that really should be on every race fans bucket list.  It is truly, not just a race, but an event.

The “event” at Long Beach takes such a center stage, that people forget how unforgiving the racing can be here.  Narrow streets, tight walls and the potential for chaos all around the circuit. Several drivers have been off course or just barely grazed the wall in practice and qualifying so far this weekend. The consequences could be even harsher on Sunday…beware turn one on the start!

Pit strategy will be key. While Alexander Rossi had the best car in last year’s race, it was the call by Rob Edwards to pit him earlier than the other leaders that really gapped him from the rest of the field. On the first set of stops last year, Rossi gained five seconds by pitting four laps earlier than Will Power. So when you pit for fresh Firestone rubber tomorrow could decide who wins this race. On a warm Southern California day…tires will matter tomorrow.  

Popular wisdom is that Alexander Rossi is the guy to beat on Sunday. Hard to argue against that. But something tells me this is a Scott Dixon kind of a day. I think Dixon quietly has the best car for Sunday and Dixon’s uncanny ability to create speed during in and out laps around a pit stop could be the difference.

Even though it has not been one of his best tracks over the years, Scott Dixon is my pick to win his second Long Beach GP on Sunday.

Enjoy the event, race fans…this is one of the best on the motorsports calendar.