11:42 AM (PT) – Gabby Chavez held on to claim victory in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race over Zach Veach and Matthew Brabham by a bit over 0.6 seconds. Chavez was never able to pull away from the Andretti Autosport duo but neither were either of them able to get past the young Colombian. The win is Gabby’s second career Indy Lights victory. More quotes from the Indy Lights participants are forthcoming.
Moments ago, Roger Daltrey, co-founder of the British rock band The Who, held a press conference to announce that Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, and Justin Wilson will be serving as ambassadors for Daltrey’s organization Teen Cancer America. The organization seeks to provide specialized cancer units meeting the unique needs of teenagers dealing with the horrors of cancers. Daltrey says that much more attention goes to the plights of young children and older persons with cancer but teenagers tend to fall between the cracks. It is an issue Daltrey is deeply passionate about, as he and The Who co-founder Pete Townsend founded the TCA sister organization, Teen Cancer Trust, in Britain nearly 25 years ago. You can find more information about TCA and their mission on the organization’s website, http://www.teencanceramerica.org or on Twitter, @TeenCancerUSA.
Daltrey will also be leading the Verizon IndyCar Series field to the green flag this afternoon as he will be driven around the track by Mario Andretti during the formation lap before today’s standing start.
We’ll be back with more from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach after the race.
10:20 AM (PT) – The final warm-up for the Verizon IndyCar Series is in the books and Josef Newgarden continued his nice weekend by putting himself at the top of the charts. It’s great to see that team running well after somewhat spinning their wheels most of last year. A good race result will go a long way towards bringing that team the momentum it’s been seeking for several years.
Justin Wilson entered the session confident in finding the necessary speed to move up from his 10th place starting in this afternoon’s race. Unfortunately, it was a largely unproductive session for Wilson and his DCR team as the team and Honda engineers worked throughout most of the 30 minutes to chase what appeared to be an electric gremlin. The black box was swapped out, but Wilson never returned to the track.
It appears Graham Rahal’s RLLR team found something to help them out last night. I doubt Graham is happy to be mid-pack in this morning’s session, but after the hellacious day his experienced yesterday, any improvement is welcomed by the young American.
I mentioned earlier Justin Wilson said the start here could be tricky because of the banked front straight on which the standing start occurs. Somewhat overlooked, though, is the banked pit boxes that some drivers will have to deal with throughout the race. Those pits right along the curve in Shoreline Drive, including Briscoe, Hawksworth, Munoz, and Castroneves, will have to deal with that banking each time they launch from their pit boxes. In a tight pit lane, especially if a car is close in front, drivers chasing the rear of the car could be something to watch.
Speaking of pit stops, the front runners should be able to complete this race on two stops. Those drivers a bit further back in the field may choose to go with a three-stop strategy, especially if they want to pit early and go to the alternate red tires.
Not all of the celebrities in attendance this weekend are on the track or in the stands. One of the credentialed photographers here is none other than Randy Johnson, the five-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher and likely first-ballot Hall-of-Famer later this year. Johnson, who majored in photojournalism while attending USC, still towers above the rest of those in a room at 6’-10”. The mustache is still there but sadly, the mullet is no more. For more info on what’s keeping him busy, check out his website at http://rj51photos.tumblr.com/ or follow him on Twitter, @RJ51Photos.
Back with more after the Indy Lights race.
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