8:34 AM (PT) – It’s race day here at the 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. This morning has broken with mostly cloudy skies and temperatures hovering around a slightly nippy 60 degrees. The clouds are trying to break up a bit, and we are expecting more sunshine throughout the day. One thing is for certain, the Firestone rain tires will not be needed this afternoon!
After a long day at the track yesterday, I had planned to head to Anaheim to take in the Angels-Mets baseball game with Trackside Online’s Joe Berkemeier. We were both pretty spent though by the time we left the track and instead just opted for a “quick” dinner at a Tony Roma’s in Carson. My salmon was decent but hardly worth driving out of the way for. Joe, on the other hand, couldn’t figure out how to make the waitress understand he actually wanted both fries and a salad with his burger. His dry sense of humor was on fine display during that episode.
On arriving at my hotel last night in Torrance, it occurred to me that American Honda is located there. Their racing division, Honda Performance Development (HPD), is located just up the road in Santa Clarita. This weekend is essentially a home race for the Honda family, so performing well here probably carries just a bit more significance.
Had a chance to have breakfast with Justin Wilson a short time ago. Justin confirmed that the standing start of the race here is particularly tricky because of the banking along Shoreline Drive right after the start/finish line. The rear of the cars have natural tendency to slide down “hill” (to drivers’ right) and drivers must correct that by steering back to the left. When asked about the Champ Car standing start in 2008 and the chaos of that start, Wilson humorously replied, “I don’t know. I was on pole. My view was fine.” He did, however, note that Will Power, starting fourth that race, leaped past the front row and actually led into turn 1 on his way to his first IndyCar sanctioned victory.
Today’s schedule is pretty busy again with the Verizon IndyCar Series having their final warm-up at 9:00 AM and the green flag flying on the Grand Prix at 1:50 PM. Between those sessions are the 45-lap Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race at 10:15 and the Stadium Super Trucks at noon.
Back with more later.
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