What: Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach / Race 3 of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series
Where: Streets of Long Beach, Calif.
When: Sunday, April 16, 3:00pm ET (green flag 3:30pm ET)
The contrast couldn’t be greater. Two weeks on from the 220mph high banks of Texas Motor Speedway, round three of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season heads to Long Beach, Calif., for a tight, twisting street fight.
The SoCal classic is a race they all went to win — outside of the Indianapolis 500, it’s the most prestigious and storied event on the calendar — but to do that, a multitude of factors come into play, starting with the lockup-inducing bumps and unforgiving walls that contrive to punish even the smallest of errors.
As you’d expect on a track where passing is fraught with jeopardy, a strong qualifying position is hugely desirable, with seven of the last 10 winners starting on the first two rows of the grid. But the constant threat of caution periods means nailing the strategic calls — often of the “Hail Mary” variety — has its rewards, too, with Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta winning from 14th
Last year, Josef Newgarden headed to California hot on the heels of a last-lap pass for the win in Texas, qualified second for the 47th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, then led 32 of 85 laps to secure back-to-back race victories (above). And with the Team Penske driver fresh off another Texas win, could it be déjà vu all over again in 2023?
Maybe. But first he’ll need to outrace the likes of 2021 winner Herta and two-time Long Beach victor Alexander Rossi, as well as his Penske teammate and reigning champ Will Power and the Chip Ganassi Racing trio of Scott Dixon, Alex Palou and St. Pete winner Marcus Ericsson,
And don’t rule out Andretti’s Romain Grosjean, runner-up in Long Beach last year and pole winner at the St. Pete’s 2023 season opener, to take his first series win, or points leader Pato O’Ward to post his first victory of the season.
Whatever the outcome, get set for 85 frantic laps of the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street course on Sunday afternoon, with drama and plot twists guaranteed.
You can follow all the practice and qualifying action on Peacock on Friday, April 14, and Saturday, April 15, with NBC taking over as race day delivers another brawl at the beach on Sunday, April 16. And to get even closer to it all, grab the best seat in the house with the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA and its 14 race day live onboard cameras.
Friday, April 14 / 6:00pm – 7:15pm ET – Practice 1
Saturday, April 15 / 11:45am – 12:45pm ET – Practice 2 – Peacock
Saturday, April 15 / 3:05pm – 4:20pm ET – Qualifying – Peacock
Sunday, April 16 / Noon – 12:30pm ET – Warmup – NBC, Peacock
Sunday, April 16 / 3:00pm – 6:00pm ET – RACE – NBC, Peacock
* All sessions and the race are also available as audio commentary on SiriusXM and INDYCAR Radio.
Ride along with the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA
Taking you inside the action, 14 drivers will be carrying in-car cameras. During the race, you can live-stream every one of them with the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA. You choose who you ride along with, and you can switch drivers at any time. The App’s free to download for fans worldwide and you can find out more HERE. If you’re not already onboard, take your viewing experience to a whole new level HERE.
Bringing you the onboard action from the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach are…
Josef Newgarden / No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet
Team Penske driver Newgarden would be totally fine with recent history repeating itself. Last year, he followed up a Texas Motor Speedway win with victory in Long Beach, leading a race high 32 laps. This time around, fresh off another thrilling Texas win, the two-time series champ could be the guy to beat again.
Colton Herta / No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda
It’s a street race, so it’s pretty much a given that 2021 Long Beach winner Herta (below) will be in the mix for another victory on his home asphalt. Regard last year’s trip into the wall while pushing hard on an in lap as an aberration and watch out for the Andretti Autosport ace to make amends on Sunday.
Scott McLaughlin / No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet
It hasn’t been a terrible start to 2023 for McLaughlin, but as one of the pre-season title favorites, it’s time to lay down a real marker. The Kiwi knows how to win on a street course — and was in the thick of the lead battle in St. Pete before a tangle with Romain Grosjean — so expect him to be a big factor in SoCal.
Will Power / No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet
This time last year, Power couldn’t finish outside of the top 4 even if he tried, and it was that incredible consistency that laid the foundations for his second NTT IndyCar Series title. So far, 2023 has fallen a little short, but the Aussie is a former Long Beach winner and almost guaranteed to be a factor again this weekend.
Alexander Rossi / No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet
A two-time Grand Prix of Long Beach winner with Andretti Autosport, Rossi has made the switch to Arrow McLaren for 2023, but still heads to his home state as one of the pre-race favorites. Fourth in St. Pete was a strong start for the new alliance, and the season’s second street race should take things to a whole new level.
Helio Castroneves / No. 06 Meyer Shank Racing Honda
Meyer Shank Racing continues to regroup and refocus after its struggles in 2022. Don’t expect Castroneves, or teammate Simon Pagenaud, to be challenging for a podium this weekend, but if the veteran Brazilian (who qualified third and led laps as recently as 2021) can put together a top-10 kind of weekend, that would point to genuine progress.
Romain Grosjean / No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda
But for his late-race altercation with Scott McLaughlin in St. Pete, we might have been asking if Grosjean could make it two 2023 street-race wins in Long Beach this weekend. The Andretti Autosport driver grabbed the pole at St. Pete and traded the lead with Penske’s McLaughlin until their coming together. If he picks it up in California where he left off in Florida, a first NTT IndyCar Series race win for last year’s Long Beach runner-up (below) is a distinct possibility.
It’s fair to say that Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing isn’t anywhere near the level it wants to be at the moment. But Rahal and the No. 15’s brain trust strategized their way to an under-the-radar sixth in the season opener on the streets of St. Pete from 20th on the grid. So, qualify a few places higher and anything might be possible…
Pato O’Ward / No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet
It’s been a strong start for the spectacular Mexican, with two second-place finishes from the opening two races and the NTT IndyCar Series points lead. Last year’s fifth place was the Arrow McLaren driver’s best Long Beach finish, but can his current momentum take him to the podium, or even a win?
Felix Rosenqvist / No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet
The Swede’s 2023 campaign is yet to really take off, despite earning the pole at Texas last time out. His best Long Beach finish was 10th, back in his 2019 IndyCar rookie campaign, but if Arrow McLaren is in the ballpark on setup, watch for Rosenqvist to be closer to the sharp end on Sunday.
Kyle Kirkwood / No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda
He’s still looking for his breakout moment after taking over Andretti’s No. 27 entry for 2023. But Kirkwood showed his street-racing prowess in a dazzling climb up the Road to Indy ladder and finished 10th at Long Beach for AJ Foyt Racing in his IndyCar rookie campaign last year. If you’re looking for a SoCal shock, Kyle could be your man.
Callum Ilott / No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet
Yes, that is Ilott sitting seventh in NTT IndyCar Series points after a hugely impressive start to the season for the Brit (below) and his Juncos Hollinger Racing team. Fifth in St. Pete followed by ninth on the high banks of Texas says this is a combination coming of age. Another weekend of punching above its perceived weight and Ilott could be a genuine podium contender in Long Beach.
Christian Lundgaard / No. 45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
With top-10 finishes in his last two street race starts, RLL sophomore Lundgaard will be looking for another strong showing in Long Beach. But like his teammate, Graham Rahal, that could depend on what kind of shape the team rolls off the hauler in.
Conor Daly / No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
After a disappointing St. Pete weekend for Ed Carpenter Racing, albeit one where Daly and the No. 20 crew cajoled themselves to a 14th-place finish from 26th on the grid, the merest hint of a top-10 finish in Long Beach would be a major step — but not an impossible one.
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