Hello Hinchtown (Long Beach), California

Other possible blog titles I considered:
“Andretti Autosport Just Could Not Catch a Break in Long Beach”
“Bourdais Goes From Almost Last to Almost First” 

 

Our favorite Canadian, James Hinchcliffe, took the well-deserved win at Long Beach this weekend. He drove a considerably solid race considering the rest of the field turned out to be a bit of a mess.

What I’m saying is, it was an interesting race. Oh yes.

Charlie Kimball and Will Power would kick off the fun(?) with a collision halfway through the first lap. Kimball lost his rear wing and suspension, as well as his left rear tire. He retired for the entirety remainder of the race.

Will Power on the other hand, suffered front wing damage. The crew was able to help assist with the removal of his front wing and he was able to return to the pits for a new wing and continue on in the race.

Tony Kanaan would also lose a bit of his wing shortly after the Kimball-Power incident.

Guys, this was only the first lap.

Marco Andretti was keeping a steady 7th up for at least the first 15 laps until a possible electric issue stopped his car. He was black-flagged and also retired from the race. And it was only the beginning of the Andretti team problems.

The Andretti Autosport team was doing quite well at Long Beach for the beginning of this race. While Andretti had held 7th for 16 laps, Andretti’s Ryan Hunter-Reay and our beloved Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi were consistently in the top 5. Rossi would experience engine issues that would retire his car before the last 20 laps of the race. His stop would cause the second yellow-caution of the race, bunching everyone up for an expected, exhilarating last 16 laps when they returned to green.

Hunter-Reay on the other hand, would be the fire lighting up Hinch’s seat until the last few laps of the race. Hunter-Reay was closing in on the gap between himself and Hinch, and just as he went to pass the Canadian, the car shorted out and shut off. He would later reveal that the car did come back on after he had stopped, but wasn’t cooperating.

Another full-course yellow would be issued.

Takuma Sato, the fourth of the Andretti Autosport team would also experience electrical problems that would take him out of the race. It would be the first time not a single Andretti car would finish a race. Not a good day for the team, and I’m sure it isn’t the best day to be an engineer on any of those cars. The Andretti drivers though put up a really good fight, and it looked like one of the two, Rossi and RHR could have had a podium, if not both.

Mikhail Aleshin and J.R. Hildebrand would also suffer from a collision in the final laps. It doesn’t cause a caution, but Aleshin’s car did take on some considerable damage and Hildebrand suffered a hand injury.

Car issues were a problem for a few drivers today. Damage suffered to Power’s after his incident on the first lap would leave him struggling the entire race with a p13 finish. Conor Daly was also having problems with his #4 car.

(Daly did get to hang out with actress Chloe Moretz though, so it can’t have been that terrible of a day.)

Let’s just say, this race had a lot of casualties.

Aside from Hinchcliffe’s skillfull driving and finale, Sebastien Bourdais also drove a significantly impressive race, reminiscent of his win just a couple of weeks ago at St. Petersburg. Having started near the end of the pack, he would make his way up to 2nd. A nearly last to nearly first finish.

Josef Newgarden also took his first podium of his first season with Penske. And another Penske notable for Long Beach is Simon Pagenaud, who started dead last due to a penalty issued during qualifying yesterday for qualifying interference and finished p5.

And there needs to be mention of rookie Ed Jones performance this weekend. He drove a really great race, considering what was going on with all of the veterans around him. The rookie took a p6 finish. Not too bad.

Street courses appear to have a love/hate relationship with drivers–they are fun to drive, but can be brutal as this race certainly proved.

Hopefully Barber proves to be a little less brutal…

And here are the final results Long Beach:
1. James Hinchcliffe 
2. Sebastien Bourdais 
3. Josef Newgarden
4. Scott Dixon
5.  Simon Pagenaud
6. Ed Jones
7. Carlos Munoz
8. Spencer Pigot
9. Helio Castroneves
10. Graham Rahal
11. J.R. Hildebrand
12. Mikhail Aleshin
13. Will Power
14. Max Chilton
15. Tony Kanaan
16. Conor Daly
17. Ryan Hunter-Reay (DNF)
18. Takuma Sato (DNF)
19. Alexander Rossi (DNF)
20. Marco Andretti (DNF)
21. Charlie Kimball (DNF)