INDYCAR Series headed to Cali this weekend

INDYCAR Series headed to Cali this weekend

Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Linus Lundqvist will again be behind the wheel of the No. 8 American Legion Honda featuring Be the One messaging this weekend when the NTT INDYCAR Series heads west for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. But though the messaging remains the same, race fans will see a different version of the car.

Lundqvist’s livery this weekend also is promoting Netflix's upcoming comedy film “Unfrosted,” directed by and starring Jerry Seinfeld. The No. 8 car will sport a special “Unfrosted” paint scheme that is the texture of an unfrosted Pop-Tart along with images of Seinfeld and some cast members. “Unfrosted” is set in Michigan in 1963, the year before Pop-Tarts hit grocery store shelves as milk and cereal ruled breakfast.

Lundqvist currently sits in 23rd place in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES points race. He was 23rd in the season opener in St. Petersburg but was running 15th before being pushed into a barrier with 36 laps to go, costing him three laps. But he followed that up with a sixth-place finish in the non-points Thermal Club $1 Million Challenge.

Defending NTT INDYCAR SERIES champ Alex Palou enters this week’s race in sixth place in the series standings. He’ll be carrying American Legion branding on his car and is coming off a dominant win in the Thermal Club $1 Million Challenge.

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach features 85 laps over 167.28 miles on a 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit encircling the Long Beach Convention Center. The course runs down scenic Shoreline Drive and offers numerous overtaking opportunities, including Turn 1.

This weekend’s broadcast schedule (all times ET):

·         Friday, April 19 – 5:50-7:05 p.m., NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice (Peacock).

·         Saturday, April 20 – 11:25 a.m.-12:25 p.m., NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 2; 2:25 p.m.-3:55 p.m., NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifications.

·         Sunday, April 21 – noon-12:30 p.m., NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup (Peacock); 3-6 p.m., NTT INDYCAR SERIES race (Peacock and USA).

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach notes (via INDYCAR):

·         This weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the 40th INDYCAR SERIES event on the historic Long Beach street circuit. Mario Andretti won the first INDYCAR SERIES race in 1984. Kyle Kirkwood won the race in 2023.

·         Three California natives are entered: 2018 and 2019 race winner Alexander Rossi is a native of Nevada City, while Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta hails from Valencia. Rookie Nolan Siegel, the INDY NXT by Firestone points leader, is making his first official NTT INDYCAR SERIES start at Long Beach. The 19-year-old driver hails from Palo Alto.

·         Al Unser Jr. has won the most times at Long Beach (six), while Will Power and Alexander Rossi are the only entered drivers with multiple wins. Power won in 2008 and 2012, and Rossi won in 2018 and 2019. Other former race winners scheduled to compete are Scott Dixon (2015), Colton Herta (2021), Josef Newgarden (2022) and Kyle Kirkwood (2023).

·         Six drivers have won the race from the pole – Mario Andretti (1984, 1985 and 1987), Al Unser Jr. (1989-90), Helio Castroneves (2001), Sebastien Bourdais (2006-07), Alexander Rossi (2018-19) and Kyle Kirkwood (2023).

·         Twenty of the 27 drivers entered have competed in INDYCAR SERIES races at Long Beach. Will Power has 17 starts, the most among all entered drivers. Nine entered drivers have led laps: Power 172, Alexander Rossi 151, Scott Dixon 104, Josef Newgarden 81, Colton Herta 71, Kyle Kirkwood 53, Alex Palou 24, Graham Rahal 4 and Agustin Canapino 3.

·         In addition to Siegel, four other NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookies –Tom Blomqvist, Linus Lundqvist, Christian Rasmussen and Kyffin Simpson - are expected to compete. All five rookies and Pietro Fittipaldi will be competing in their first INDYCAR SERIES race on the streets of Long Beach.

·         Milestones – Josef Newgarden will attempt to make his 200th INDYCAR SERIES start at Long Beach…Newgarden needs to lead two laps to pass Tony Kanaan for 11th on the INDYCAR SERIES all-time laps-led list…Scott Dixon will look to extend his consecutive starts streak to 323 – the longest streak in INDYCAR SERIES history.