Here it is, Indycar’s premier no-overtaking befountained blue riband boring street course extravaganza, back in early spring where it belongs. With palm trees! Yep, it’s time for the delightful Long Beach Grand Prix. What’s angsting us this week? The 2022 Indycar season is two races old and for the first time since 2012, Team Penske has won both of them. It’s been a team effort as it wasn’t the same driver both times, and besides Will Power is second (!!!) in the championship standings, but the fairest way to look at it is that Scott McLaughlin, Sir Scott the Unexpected himself, has dominated so far. He edged out reigning champion at pseudo-Long Beach St Petersburg, and led most of the race at definitely not pseudo-anything Texas until his teammate Josef Newgarden got him at the line. What the hell, right? Who is this guy?
What else is going on? Jimmie Johnson cracked the top 10 for the first time in his Indycar career (non-coincidentally, his first oval start) but now we’re back within the cramped and treacherous confines of a street circuit, do we all expect him to be BACK WHERE HE BELONGS? Jimmie is very free of hubris so he’ll probably accept whatever inevitabilities the gods throw at him. Before we rhetorically leave Texas behind us I also want to draw attention to David Malukas’s 11th place for Dale Coyne, on the lead lap and ahead of some consequential personalities. OK, consider it drawn.
More importantly, here’s the schedule! It’s an IMSA/Indy double-header so there are lots of opportunities to fit some motor racing into your weekend. Photos of the historic IMSA GTPs very appreciated. Times are local Californian Long Beach times, so add 8 hours for the UK and 9 for western Europe. And take away the Toyota Pro/Am Celebrity Race from your mind-picture, because it was cancelled years ago. But the pain was not cancelled.
Friday, 8 April
9.15am: IMSA practice 1
1.15pm: IMSA practice 2
3.15: Indycar practice 1
5.10: IMSA qualifying
Saturday, 9 April
8.45am: Indycar practice 2
10.45: Porsche Carrera Cup race 1
12.05pm: Indycar qualifying
2: IMSA Sportscar Grand Prix of Long Beach (100 mins)
4.30: Stadium Super Trucks race 1
5.15: IMSA GTP Historics race 1
Sunday, 10 April
9am: Indycar warm-up
10.45: IMSA GTP Historics race 2
12.45pm: Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (85 laps)
3.30: Stadium Super Trucks race 2
4.20: Porsche Carrera Cup race 2
As for the circuit? You’ve got your not-really-straight pit straight at Shoreline Drive, which is also where the race starts and finishes. You’ve got the complex of corners round the aquarium which ruins the flow of the track but does have a fountain which probably makes up for it. Then the circuit pops up Pine Avenue to join the short back straight at Seaside Way, which interestingly follows the original F1 layout. And then the track winds round to the hairpin at the end of the lap, which is where half the field customarily comes to a dead stop whenever anyone is pushed into a half-spin at 30mph. Fun!
So that’s what’ll happen, and when. Apparently it’s going to be 35 degrees C (95 F) on Friday, which sounds weird and disturbing but I suppose if you’re from Long Beach you have to go along with it. Isn’t the Pacific Ocean meant to moderate wild temperatures? Better not ask. It’s forecast to be a frigid 21 C (70 F) on Sunday. Such is life. OK! Thread activated.