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IndyCar is ready for its closeup. After the season-opener at St. Petersburg (Fla.) and last week’s oval opener outside Phoenix, the paddock heads for Hollywood and one of the jewels of the Verizon IndyCar Series calendar.
Because of its storied past and pristine location, Long Beach has long been one of the most prestigious events on the calendar, so expect Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network) to be a battle.
Many teams look strong, but perhaps none more than Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Both of its drivers are off to sterling starts, including reigning Long Beach champion James Hinchcliffe, who is absolutely a threat to repeat. Then again, his teammate Robert Wickens is arguably the hottest act in the series and more than capable of stealing the spotlight.
A busy month of April that features three consecutive race weekends for the Verizon IndyCar Series continues this weekend on the famed streets of Long Beach, California for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The most iconic street race on the schedule, Long Beach is second in prestige only to the Indianapolis 500 in the IndyCar ranks, so a win at Long Beach is a big feather in the cap to get.
Like all street courses, passing can be a challenge at Long Beach. Unlike other street courses, cautions can be few and far between – the 2017 race had only three, and the 2016 race ran without any yellows at all.
The two facets combine to put a premium on qualifying.
The race has also seen six different winners in the last six years: Will Power, Takuma Sato, Mike Conway, Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, and James Hinchcliffe, and plenty of other big names have yet to add theirs to the list of Long Beach winners.