It’s the final round of the NTT IndyCar Series with drivers and teams heading to Long Beach California for the Acura Grand Prix. There will be 85-laps of the 11-turn temporary street circuit set to go at 12:45pm Sunday 26 September (7:45am Monday 25 Sept NZ time).
Alex Palou leads the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship with one race to go for the first time in his career. Palou has led the point standings after 10 of the 15 races this season.
There are three drivers mathematically eligible for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship: Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward and Josef Newgarden.
Neither Palou nor O’Ward has won the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship. Newgarden has won the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship twice in the last four seasons (2017 and 2019).
This is the 37th INDYCAR SERIES race on the streets of Long Beach and the first time that the INDYCAR SERIES championship will be decided at the track. The temporary street circuit routinely hosts an April race.
Here are the Fast Facts heading to Long Beach
There have been nine different winners in 15 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races this season. Alex Palou (Barber Motorsports Park, Road America, Portland International Raceway), Colton Herta (Streets of St. Petersburg, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca), Scott Dixon (Texas Motor Speedway-1), Pato O’Ward (Texas Motor Speedway-2, Raceway at Belle Isle Park-2), Rinus VeeKay (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-1), Helio Castroneves (Indianapolis 500), Marcus Ericsson (Raceway at Belle Isle Park-1, Streets of Nashville), Josef Newgarden (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, World Wide Technology Raceway) and Will Power (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-2) have all won in 2021. The modern record (1946-present) for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.
There have been seven different winners in the last 10 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races (Helio Castroneves, Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson, Pato O’Ward, Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Colton Herta). The only repeat winners in that stretch are, Ericsson (Raceway at Belle Isle Park-1 and Streets of Nashville), Newgarden (Mid-Ohio and WWT Raceway) and Palou (Road America and Portland).
This weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the 37th INDYCAR SERIES event on the historic street circuit. Mario Andretti won the first INDYCAR race there in 1984. Alexander Rossi won the race in 2018 and 2019. No race was held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sebastien Bourdais (2005-2007) was the last back-to-back-to-back winner at Long Beach.
Al Unser Jr. has won the most times at Long Beach (six), while Sebastien Bourdais, Will Power and Alexander Rossi are the only entered drivers with multiple wins. Bourdais won three straight races from 2005-2007. Power won in 2008 and 2012, and Rossi won in 2018 and 2019. Other former race winners scheduled to compete are Helio Castroneves (2001), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2010), Takuma Sato (2013), Scott Dixon (2015), Simon Pagenaud (2016) and James Hinchcliffe (2017).
Five 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) and Alexander Rossi (2018-19).
Twenty of the 28 drivers entered have competed in INDYCAR SERIES races at Long Beach. Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power each have 14 starts, most among all entered drivers. Eleven entered drivers have led laps: Helio Castroneves 179, Bourdais 173, Power 170, Hunter-Reay 151, Alexander Rossi 151, Scott Dixon 103, Takuma Sato 67, Simon Pagenaud 54, James Hinchcliffe 25 and Josef Newgarden 4.
Four California natives are entered: 2018 and 2019 race winner Alexander Rossi is a native of Nevada City, while Andretti Autosport teammate Colton Herta hails from Valencia. Charlie Kimball is from Camarillo, and NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Jimmie Johnson is from El Cajon.
Four NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookies – Romain Grosjean, Callum Ilott, Jimmie Johnson and Scott McLaughlin – are expected to compete. The four rookies, along with veteran drivers Oliver Askew, Dalton Kellett, Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay, will all make their first INDYCAR SERIES start on the Streets of Long Beach.