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Page 2GP | GRUNION GAZETTE | April 12, 2012



What’s Inside... Circuit Map Race Schedule Safety Gets More Emphasis Teams Make Races Run Driver Profiles Franchitti-Power Rivalry Firefighters On Hand Indy Lights Prep Drivers Fun Zone Lets Kids Escape Celebs Take To The Street Take Bus To Avoid Parking Miss Grand Prix No Cliché Red Coat From The Start Indy Changes Chassis Concerts Let Good Times Roll Races Won, Lost In Pits Drifters At Home On Street Hospitality Abounds In Clubs Sports Car Fans Get Fix A Taste Of Le Mans Here

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About This Section On The Cover: Helio Castroneves, top, has been dominant on the IndyCar circuit so far this year, with a taking the checkered flag in Florida and finishing third in Alabama. Cover design by Jesse Lopez. About This Section: All stories and charts prepared by Gazette Newspapers’ editorial staff under the direction of Executive Editor Harry Saltzgaver. Writers are Saltzgaver, Editor Ashleigh

Oldland, Sports Editors J.J. Fiddler and Mike Guardabascio, Staff Writers Ryan ZumMellan, Jonathan Van Dyke, Stephanie Minasian and editorial assistant Kurt A. Eichsteadt. Gazette file photos by photographers Kevin Oules, William Johnson and Saltzgaver. Special thanks to GPALB and Chris Esslinger, director of communications. All information accurate as of April 9.

April 12, 2012 | GRUNION GAZETTE | Page 3GP

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April 12, 2012 | GRUNION GAZETTE | Page 5GP

2012 Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach Schedule

Thursday, April 12 11 a.m. Walk of Fame Induction 6:30 p.m. Tecate Thursday Thunder on Pine including Tecate Light Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Finals *All Thursday events are free to spectators Friday, April 13 7 a.m. Gates open 7:15 a.m. American Le Mans practice 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Lifestyle Expo open 9:35 a.m. Team Drifting Competition 10 a.m. IndyCar practice 11:15 a.m. Pro/Celebrity practice Noon Indy Lights practice 2:15 p.m. IndyCar practice 3:30 p.m. Pro/Celebrity qualifying 4 p.m. IndyCar Driver autographs 4:15 p.m. World Challenge practice 5 p.m. American Le Mans qualifying 6:45 p.m. Tecaté Fiesta Friday Concert 7 p.m. Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball Saturday, April 14 7 a.m. Gates open 7:15 a.m. World Challenge practice 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Lifestyle Expo open

8 a.m. Indy Lights practice 8:55 a.m. Team Drifting Competition 10:25 a.m. IndyCar practice 11:40 a.m. Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race 12:55 p.m. Indy Lights qualifying 2 p.m. IndyCar qualifying & Firestone Fast 6 4:30 p.m. American Le Mans Race 6:45 p.m. Rock-N-Roar concert Sunday, April 15 7 a.m. Gates open 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Lifestyle Expo open 8 a.m. Indy Lights practice 8:25 a.m. World Challenge qualifying 9:15 a.m. IndyCar practice 10:30 a.m. Indy Lights Grid 10:45 a.m. Firestone Indy Lights Race 12:30 p.m. IndyCar grid, introductions

1:15 p.m.

35th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

3:40 p.m. Team Drifting Challenge 4:15 p.m. SCCA Pro World Challenge *All times approximate. Schedule accurate as of April 12.

New IndyCar Design Intended To Protect Drivers By JJ Fiddler

Sports Editor

No one wants to talk about it, and who can blame them? It’s been less than six months since a horrific crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway took the life of IZOD IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon and sent shockwaves through the entire racing community. But just because those involved with the surrounding events and IndyCar series are shy when remembering the dearly departed, that doesn’t mean they aren’t doing anything to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

When the IZOD IndyCar series rolls into Long Beach this weekend, it will do so with the new and improved DW12 car, named in honor of Wheldon, who actually helped Dallara Automobili develop it in the months before his death. The biggest change from the old car design is the bodywork that now extends wider than the wheels and includes bumpers behind the back wheels to try and avoid tire-to-tire contact. It was that type of contact that launched Wheldon’s car into the air as part of the 15-car crash at Las Vegas. The cockpit also has been changed

to add more cushion under the driver, increase visibility while driving, and make it easier for rescue personnel to extract a driver if necessary. Besides design changes, the DW12 has a new turbocharged, 2.2-liter six-cylinder engine (with three different manufacturers) that has “improved throttle response,” which will translate into more exciting racing, especially on road courses. The new engines also will allow IndyCar officials to tweak the power of each car to suit the 16 different tracks the series will visit this season. This will obviously re-

duce dangerous, high-speed pileups. New carbon brakes also have been added. No one is saying these safety changes didn’t need to be made, but doing them all in one offseason has created a logjam of issues, including engine reliability and the availability of spare parts. This has caused teams to whisper about the difficulties, as opposed to voice them loudly to the media, which is a racing pastime. Also outside of race day, IndyCar is trying to use driver experience and feedback (Continued on Page 6GP)

Page 6GP | GRUNION GAZETTE | April 12, 2012

GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH IndyCar Design “Sometimes it’s


(Continued from Page 5GP)

—Gazette file photo

Mechanics work together on one of the IndyCars to get everything in tip-top shape for the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

to better prepare tracks to make them as safe as possible. Back in February, veteran IndyCar driver Justin Wilson went to St. Petersburg almost a month before the race to give the track a second look. “(I was there to) offer an opinion from a driver’s point of view,” Wilson told Dave Lewandowski of last month. “Sometimes it’s different from what people see on the outside. There were a couple of small things — curbs, runoff — that I pointed out ... but there are a lot of constraints with street circuits.” Reigning series champion Dario Franchitti and Wheldon’s teammate, Tony Kannan, met formally after the October accident to call for an official advisory group like the Formula One

different from what people see on the outside...” Justin Wilson Grand Prix Drivers Association, which has been around for years. With an eye on the future, a group of racing royalty has thrown support behind, a free online resource that offers video tutorials on safety, mental skills, race craft and fitness. It won’t change the IZOD IndyCar series this year, but if a young driver can get free advice from Bobby Rahal, the president of the Road Racing Drivers Club that launched in conjunction with the FIA Motor Sport Safety Development Fund, it could make a difference. The feature videos on the site are straight from the track, and drivers Josef Newgarden and James Hinchcliffe will be filming the “Secrets To Street Circuit Racing” this weekend in Long Beach. All that said, there’s an alwayspresent inherent danger to this sport that everyone willingly participates in, and that’s part of the draw. The dance with safety and speed is a marathon that’s long from over, but the fact that the music is playing loudly right now is a positive for the sport, the drivers and the fans.

April 12, 2012 | GRUNION GAZETTE | PAGE 7GP






Team: Team Penske

Team: Team Penske

Team: Panther Racing

Team: KV Racing Technology

Team: Lotus Dragon Racing

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 8

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 16

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 1

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 1

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 1

Career Wins & Poles: 6/11 Residence: Mooresville, N.C.

Birthday 9/14/81 Birthplace Sydney, Australia

The Australian migrated to Italy at 15, ultimately hooking up with Toyota and its Formula One team before coming to the Indycar series in 2005. He finished sixth in the series standings last year, with no wns but four finishes on the podium. He was fifth in Florida.


Career Wins & Poles: 21/30 Residence: Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Birthday 5/10/75 Birthplace Sao Paulo, Brazil

A bonafide superstar, Castroneves became only the second driver to win backto-back Indianapolis 500s twice in 2009 (he has won three times). He struggled last year with only two podium finishes, but won in Florida to start this year and took the pole in Alabama, finishing third there.


Career Wins & Poles: 0/0 Residence: Indianapolis, Ind.

Birthday 1/3/88 Birthplace Sausalito, Calif.

California native Hildebrand was a National Merit Scholar but passed on higher education at MIT for a career in motorsports. He moved quickly through the openwheel ladder, winning the Indy Lights championship in 2009. He had two top five finishes as a rookie, and finished 15 races.


Career Wins & Poles: 0/0 Residence: Miami, Fla.

Birthday 3.19.85 Birthplace Caracas, Venezuela

After a karting career in his home country, Viso moved to the U.S. for racing in 2001. He then spent six years racing in Europe before returning to join IndyCar in 2008. He ran for two years with HMV Racing before moving to KV Racing in 2010, when he made it to the podium once.


Career Wins & Poles: 6/10 Residence: Indianapolis, Ind.

Birthday 7/12/80 Birthplace Guildford, England

Katherine Legge is a barrier breaker in racing, as the first woman to win a Toyota Atlantic Championship race, in 2005, and the first woman to compete full time in the Champ Car World Series (2006). She’s a rookie this year in IndyCar.


Plenty Of Big, Small Fish In Grand Prix Team Pond BY RYAN ZUMMALLEN STAFF WRITER

For the 38th annual running of the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the IndyCar series will bring one of the largest — and almost certainly the most talented — fields to the event in quite some time. Andretti Autosport has captured the checkered flag each of the last two years, with Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing nipping at their heels. But there’s much more to a race than just the leading drivers. The beauty of the IndyCar series is that the Yankees of the sport find themselves wheel-to-

wheel with shoestring budget competitors, those low on money and maybe experience, but never on talent. While even the lowest budget Formula One teams will spend $100 million to field two cars for an entire season, IndyCar is accessible enough for a veteran driver with one career win — Ed Carpenter — to start his own team and stay competitive. His story is not unique. Between the extremes of the Carpenter crew and the Ganassi-Penske-Andretti triumvirate, there are more than one dozen teams — the Dale Coynes and the

Team Barracudas and the bloody gorgeous Lotus Dragons — also vying to take the checkered flag in Long Beach. So why focus solely on Will Power and Dario Franchitti when there is so much else happening on the track? Here’s a look at all the competitors aiming to seize the Long Beach throne in 2012. AJ Foyt Enterprises (Honda) The team bearing the name of one of racing’s all-time greats has defending Long Beach champion Mike Conway behind the wheel. They posted a strong seventhplace finish at the Grand Prix of Alabama and Conway currently

stands ninth in the points standings. Andretti Autosport (Chevy) The team will seek its third consecutive Long Beach victory, directed by the team owner who won here twice himself. Michael Andretti’s son Marco has looked poised in two races but it hasn’t resulted in big points yet, while 2010 Long Beach winner Ryan Hunter-Reay continues to impress in sixth. But it’s been second-year IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe (replacing last year’s winner, Mike Conway) grabbing the spotlight, narrowly missing the podium in both races thus far.

Dale Coyne Racing (Honda) It’s been a rough start for drivers Justin Wilson and James Jakes, who haven’t finished better than 10th yet. Wilson is a Long Beach veteran and is always a threat to earn pole, but so far Dale Coyne has not shown that they’re comfortable enough with the new car to compete at the front. Ed Carpenter Racing (Chevy) Owner/driver Ed Carpenter has finished two laps behind in both races so far, good for just 21st overall in the points standings. But this is the team’s first year in existence and Carpenter has spent (Continued on Page 8GP)

PAGE 8GP | GRUNION GAZETTE | April 12, 2012







Team: Dale Coyne Racing

Team: KV Racing Technology

Team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing

Team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing

Team: KV Racing Technology

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 7

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: first

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 9

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 14

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 10

Career Wins & Poles: 31/19 Residence: Le Mans, France

Birthday 2/28/79

Career Wins & Poles: 0/0

Birthday 5/23/72

Birthplace Le Mans, France

Residence: Monaco

Birthplace Sao Paulo, Brazil

Bourdais was the dominant driver for Champ Car, winning four straight series championship seasons, before moving on to Formula One in Europe. He returned to IndyCar, but also drove in the Superleague formula in Europe. He started nine races last season.

#7 Teams (Continued from Page 7GP)

more time testing the new chassis and engine than anyone else in IndyCar. HVM Racing (Lotus) Last season’s sure-fire future superstar, Simona de Silvestro, has struggled so far this season. She fell victim to the Lotus engine curse in the first race and dropped out with 40 laps to go. HVM needs a big turnaround to pose a threat for points. KV Racing Technology (Chevy) It’s been a season of surprises for KV Racing. The most experienced driver in Formula One history, Rubens Barrichello, drove a fantastic eighth place finish in just his second IndyCar race and

Another of the great drivers who grew up in Brazil, Barrichello followed countryman Ayrton Senna to the European Formula circuits. After success in the junior series, Barrichello drove for 19 years in Forumla One,winning 11 times and holding the record for most races started.

#8 is tied for 10th place in the overall standings. Right behind him is teammate E.J. Viso, but way down at the bottom is 10-year veteran and fan favorite Tony Kanaan, dead last in 26th place. Lotus Dragon Racing (Lotus) The young team is still feeling this series out, but three-time Grand Prix of Long Beach winner Sebastien Bourdais drove an impressive ninth place in Alabama and at 14th place is the best of the Lotus-powered drivers. Brit teammate Katherine Legge is new to IndyCar but not open-wheel racing or Long Beach. Still, it’s been a rough start with two 23rd place finishes. Did I mention these cars are gorgeous? Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold (Lotus) For a team without much his-


Career Wins & Poles: 26/17 Residence: Indianapolis, Indiana

Birthday 7/22/80 Birthplace Auckland, New Zealand

Dixon was the 2001 CART rookie of the year and was the youngest to win a race at age 20. He moved to Indycar in 2003 and won both the Indianapolis 500 and the series championship in 2008 and was third last year, with two wins and nine podiums. He was second in both Florida and Alabama.

#9 tory that’s dealing with a new driver in five-year veteran Oriol Servia, Dreyer & Reinbold have posted positive results with 16th and 13th place finishes. Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing (Honda) An engine failure kept driver Charlie Kimball from finishing in Alabama, but the team showed speed with an impressive ninth place in the season debut. Panther Racing (Chevy) Driver J.R. Hildebrand handed Panther Racing their best qualifying place in seven years when he started the Grand Prix of Alabama in fifth place. Though he finished just 15th, he spent the race showing off impressive speed and basically being a thorn in everyone else’s side in an encouraging per-

Grand Prix Special April 13-15th

Career Wins & Poles: 25/23 Residence: Nashville, Tenn.

Birthday 5/19/73 Birthplace Edinburgh, Scotland

Career Wins & Poles: 14/11 Residence: Miami, Fla.

Birthday 12/31/74 Birthplace Salvador, Brazil

Two-time defending champion in the IndyCar series, Franchitti joined CART in 1997 before moving to IndyCar in 2002. He returned to IndyCar in 2009 after a year with Nascar, and won the title. Last year, he won four times, edging Will Power for the title, He won Long Beach in 2009.

Kanaan changed teams in 2011 after eight years with Andretti Motorsport. He had three podiums, but no wins. Known for his endurance, Kanaan finished every lap of every race during his 2004 season. He also won the IndyCar series championship that year. He finished fifth last year.



formance for Panther. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Honda) Former F1 driver Takuma Sato has the speed, ability and borderline-insane bravery to compete with anyone. But he’s also notoriously tough on his cars and engines, and sure enough has broken down in both races. Sarah Fisher Racing (Honda) Rookie driver Josef Newgarden has shown promise in two races, finishing 11th and 15th and besting some of the sport’s biggest names. Sarah Fisher Racing is not known for success on road courses and Newgarden may be the spark they’ve needed. Schmidt/Hamilton Motorsports (Honda) The surprise of the season so

far is rookie Simon Pagenaud, who has flirted with the podium in both races and stands fifth in the points. Though he’s new to IndyCar, Pagenaud is a seasoned competitor on the world’s biggest stages like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and won the American Le Mans race in Long Beach in both 2009 and 2010. Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (Honda) It looks as though driver Graham Rahal may finally be ready to turn some of his overwhelming potential into points. The 23-yearold is practically an old-timer entering his fifth season with his seventh team, and looks ready to compete with Hunter-Reay for the title of Best American Driver (Continued on Page 9GP)

April 12, 2012 | GRUNION GAZETTE | PAGE 9GP






Team: Team Penske

Team: A.J. Foyt Racing

Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Team: Dale Coyne Racing

Team: Dale Coyne Racing

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 4

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 4

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 2

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 9

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 1

Career Wins & Poles: 13/19 Residence: Mooresville, N.C.

Birthday 3/1/81 Birthplace Toowoomba, Australia

Career Wins & Poles: 1/1 Residence: Scottsdale, Ariz.

Birthday 8/19/83 Birthplace Bromley, England

Career Wins & Poles: 0/2 Residence: Denver, Colo.

Birthday 1/28/77 Birthplace Tokyo, Japan

Career Wins & Poles: 6/8 Residence: Longmont, Colo.

Birthday 7/31/78 Birthplace Edinburgh, Scotland

Career Wins & Poles: 0/0 Residence: Orlando, Fla.

Birthday 8/4/87 Birthplace Leeds, England

Power worked up the ranks, starting in go-karts. He has found Long Beach very friendly, winning the final Champ Car race in 2008 and taking the pole in 2009 before finishing second. He was third here last year. He was a force last year, winning six times, and won April 1 in Alabama.

Mike Conway was a driving phenom in England, dominating the British F3 International Series in 2006 and winning the Macau Grand Prix. He came to IndyCar with Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, but moved to Andretti Autosport in 2011. He won in Long Beach, and has changed teams again.

Sato went from racing bike in Japan to racing F1 cars in just six years, racing there from 2002 through 2008. His team in 2008, Super Aguiri, faced default from sponsors and folded in the middle of the 2008 season, leaving Sato without a ride until 2010. He is the only Japanese driver this year.

Wilson is a public commodity, selling almost 900 shares of himself to investors while racing in Formula One. He came to America in 2004 as one of the young guns in the Champ Car World Series, moving to the IndyCar series in 2008 with Newman/Haas. Dale Coyne is his third team.

Briton James Jakes is testing the waters on this side of the pond for the first time this year. His racing career so far has been in the British and European Formula 3 series as well as the GP3 and GP2 Asia series. He finished 15th in his first Jakes drives the popular Boy Scout car.






Teams (Continued from Page 8GP)

in IndyCar, just three points behind in seventh place. Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Honda) Currently in second place, Scott Dixon is off to another blazing start this season, and the 2008 IndyCar champion is looking to make this his seventh straight year finishing fourth or better in the points. Meanwhile, teammate Dario Franchitti’s bid for a fourpeat has stalled with his worst IndyCar start since 2004. Franchitti is visibly uncomfortable in the new car so far, and stands in 10th place. Team Barracuda — BHA (Lotus) It’s too early to tell much of

anything, as driver Alex Tagliani finished 15th in the season opener and didn’t complete a single lap in Alabama before the Lotus engine quit. Team Penske (Chevy) By far the strongest team thus far, Team Penske drivers have earned both pole positions and both race victories, with Helio Castroneves leading the points standings and Will Power not far behind in third. Ryan Briscoe stands in eighth place, and all three are potential winners at Long Beach this year. Penske just seems to have the best handle on both the new car and the engine, and a win here would mean more to the resurgent Castroneves or the historically-unlucky Power than perhaps anyone else.

—Gazette file photo

HERE WE ARE AGAIN. Michael Andretti heads to the winner’s circle after another strong showing last year for his juggernaut team, Andretti Autosport.

PAGE 10GP | GRUNION GAZETTE | April 12, 2012







Team: Ed Carpenter Racing

Team: Lotus Dreyer Reinbold Racing

Team: Andretti Autosport

Team: Andretti Autosport

Team: Andretti Autosport

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 10

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 10

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 6

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 2

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 9

Career Wins & Poles: 1/1 Residence: Indianapolis, Ind.

Birthday 3/3/81 Birthplace Indianapolis, Ind.

Career Wins & Poles: 0/0 Residence: Miami, Fla.

Birthday 7/13/74 Birthplace Pala, Spain

Career Wins & Poles: 2/3 Residence: Miami, Fla.

Birthday 3/13/87 Birthplace Nazareth, Penn.

Career Wins & Poles: 0/0 Residence: Indianapolis, Ind.

Birthday 12/5/86 Birthplace Toronto, Canada

Carpenter is the stepson of Indy Racing League founder Tony George. He drove in 10 races last year for Sarah Fisher Racing, including a pole to wire win in Kentucky. He is the only driver/owner in the IndyCar field this year.

The son of a Spanish Rally champion, Servia was the 1999 Indy Lights championship before moving to the Champ Car series. He has spent most of his career finishing in the top 10, both in races and in the series, but has yet to take the checkered flag.

Can you say Andretti and not think car racing? Marco is the third generation of the dynasty, driving for father Michael’s team and going home to racing legend Mario, his grandfather. He started out hot, winning the Bombadier Rookie of the Year award in 2006. He won once last year.

A late addition for Newmann/Hass in 2011, Hinchcliffe delivered a Rookie of the Year performance, finishing 16th in the series standings It was enough to convince Michael Andretti to give Hinchcliffe a full-time ride this year.





Career Wins & Poles: 3/1 Residence: Dallas, Texas

Birthday 12/17/80 Birthplace Boca Raton, Fla.

Hunter-Reay joined Champ Car in 2003, after winning three grand national karting championships and starring on the Atlantic Series tour. He won as a rookie (Surfers Paradise), but left open-wheel for 18 months, but roared back in 2007. He finished third in Florida; won Long Beach in 2010..


Franchitti, Power Vie For Fifth Championship BY RYAN ZUMMALLEN STAFF WRITER

At their best, rivalries push competitors to new heights, to discover untapped ability or call upon extra bravery. This year, open-wheel racing — a sport steeped in its historical rivalries — will be the stage for two gladiators who continue their highstakes battle with one another for series supremacy. The IndyCar Series will field its deepest crop of drivers in many years, but is still fueled by a fierce rivalry between Dario Franchitti and Will Power — one motivated by the lure of a fifth championship, and entry into the open-wheel racing pantheon; the

other clawing for his first series title after two near-misses. Power has finished runnerup to Franchitti in the IndyCar championship each of the past two seasons by a measly 23 points, combined. The battle to best one another has produced its fair share of glory, heartbreak and more than one outburst. “The last couple years, it’s been him and I fighting it out for the championship,” Franchitti says. “Away from the track, most of the time we got on very well, but at the track we definitely are going out there to beat each other.” “There will be a lot more people in the mix for the championship this year, but yeah, it’s been

a good battle with Dario,” Power says. “He’s very consistent and sometimes you underestimate him and then, bam, he’ll be right there at the end.” Power has an early advantage this year, with a victory April 1 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Both Power and Franchitti trail Helio Castroneves, who won at St. Petersburg, Fla., and finished third in Alabama. The calm, collected and quick Franchitti has benefited from sound strategy and mistake-free racing. In 2010, he leap-frogged Power to claim the season championship by winning the final race of the season. Last year, Franchitti earned just two pole positions

and four victories during the year — both fewer than Power — but still scored the points needed to claim the championship. “It’s bloody frustrating to be that quick for two years in a row — I really believe we were the quickest combination, the quickest team, and just didn’t get it done,” Power says. “I wouldn’t be human if I said I was happy with that.” Power, on the other hand, has made his reputation as a blisteringly fast driver prone to inspiring performances that too often seem to come up just short. He won the Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2008 and has scored pole position (Continued on Page 11GP)

—Photo courtesy IZOD IndyCar



$5 .0 0 New OFF with t Student his ad

April 12, 2012 | GRUNION GAZETTE | PAGE 11GP






Team: Chip Ganassi Racing

Team: Sarah Fisher Racing

Team: Schmidt/Hamilton Motorsports

Team: Lotus.HVM Racing

Team: Chip Ganassi Racing

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 6

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: First

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: First

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 2

IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 1

Career Wins & Poles: 1/2 Residence: New Albany, Ohio

Birthday 1/4/86 Birthplace Columbus, Ohio

Career Wins & Poles: 0/0 Residence: Indianapolis, Ind.

Birthday 12/22/90

Career Wins & Poles: 0/0

Birthplace Hendersonville, Tenn.

Residence: Indianapolis, Ind.

Birthday 5/18/84 Birthplace Poitiers, France

Career Wins & Poles: 0/0 Residence: Scottsdale, Ariz.

Birthday 9/1/88 Birthplace Thun, Switzerland

Career Wins & Poles: 0/0 Residence: Indianapolis, Ind.

Birthday 2/20/85 Birthplace Camarillo, Calif.

Yes, that Rahal. Graham grew up around racetracks, so it came as no surprise when he became the youngest IndyCar winner ever, in 2008 at St. Petersburg, in his IndyCar debut. He had seven top-10 finishes in 2010 with four different teams before settling with Ganassi last year.

Josef Newgarden started racing go-karts at 13. He raced in Europe for two years before coming to America last year to win the Indy Lights Championship. The young rookie finished 11th in his first IndyCar race in Florida.

Frenchman Simon Pagenaud has pretty much done it all behind a steering wheel, in French Forrnula racing, as a factory driver, in the endurance races of Le Mans, and in ALMS, where he was series champ in 2010. He had three IndyCar rides last year.

De Silvestro became the winningest female driver in the Atlantic Championship in 2009, winning four times and getting to the podium nine times in 12 starts. She won the 2008 Atlantic race in Long Beach. In her rookie year, she had two top 10 finishes.

Kimball, a diabetic, has turned his racing career into a campaign for awareness. He drove in Indy Lights under Novo Nordisk sponsorship, and the company has followed him to IndyCar. His best finish last year was ninth in New Hampshire. He duplicated that in the first race this year.






Race Rivals (Continued from Page 10GP)

in all three since, but none have resulted in a return to the winner’s circle. “That’s one of the tricks, isn’t it?” Franchitti says. “To translate that (qualifying) speed into crossing the finish line first. And you need a little bit of luck.” Power definitely hasn’t had much of that. Last year, he dominated the weekend in Long Beach, winning pole and leading the race until fellow Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves made contact at Turn One. With just 18 laps remaining, Power dropped from third place to 10th. The same happened in Toronto a few weeks later, when it was Franchitti who spun Power and knocked him from the front of the pack to a 24th-place finish. Power complained that Franchitti was not penalized for the maneuver, and called his rival a “princess” in a Tweet. “There’s no question it was pretty tense there for a while,” Power says of his relationship with Franchitti, though he insists the two are on good terms now. “I have a lot of respect for Dario

and I think he’s a great competitor and a great person,” he says. “We’ve been fighting hard the last couple years, and when you’re fighting hard, you end up at the same spot at the same time and you run into each other. That’s racing.” Shortly after the Toronto incident, a restart collision forced Power to retire from the race in New Hampshire. National television famously caught Power using both hands to express his displeasure with INDYCAR officials. “Probably a bad decision to do that,” Power says now. INDYCAR fined the driver $30,000 for the gesture. But adversity seems to fuel his fire, and Power has proven adept at channeling frustration into victory. He won the race following the disappointment in Long Beach, and again at the race following Toronto. After the New Hampshire incident, he won the next two races. He’s reluctant to agree that adversity breeds victory. “I just think that if what happened hadn’t gone wrong that weekend, I may have won that race too,” he says. “I’m very fo-

ALEX TAGLIANI Team: Team Barracuda BHA IndyCar/Cart Seasons: 13 Career Wins & Poles: 0/2 Residence: Las Vegas, Nev.

—Photo courtesy IZOD IndyCar

POWER-FUL MATCH. Will Power (right) talks with a teammate before a race earlier this year.

cused on eliminating those bad weekends that cost me the championship.” With its two top competitors pushing each other, the 2012 INDYCAR season may truly be one for the ages. But along with the rest of the series, both drivers also are recovering from the tragic collision that killed two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon in the last race of the 2011 season. Minutes after news of Wheldon’s death, Franchitti told a television crew, “Days like today, is it worth it? No.” But once again it was Power who had more trouble.

He couldn’t avoid the wreck and suffered a compression fracture in his back that almost required surgery. It could have been much worse as his car catapulted into the oval track’s protective fencing, but just like he proved last season, Power is ready to return and turn the setback into motivation. Meanwhile, his nemesis Franchitti will be lying in wait, as usual. “Will is a great competitor and he’s one of the guys you always count on contending, along with Helio, Ryan Briscoe and certainly my teammate Scott Dixon,” he

Birthday 10/18/73 Birthplace Lachenaie, Quebec

As the oldest driver in the field, Tagliani has a good relationship with Long Beach, winning the Atlantic Championship here in 1999 and finishing fourth the next year as a rookie in CART. He made it to the podium here in 2006. Barracuda is a new team owned by Bryan Herta and Steve Newey..

#98 says. “And I don’t think Long Beach will be any different.” With both drivers thirsting for the second Long Beach victory of their respective careers, expect to see the No. 12 and No. 10 cars up front from green to checkered flag.

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Fire Department Ensures Safety First Around Race Circuit By Harry Saltzgaver Executive Editor

Sure, there are plenty of folks looking for pictures with the Tecate Girls, the IndyCar drivers, their cars, and the celebrities flocking to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, but there’s another stock photo you might not think of immediately. It’s the shot with the Long Beach firefighters and their engines. Since the beginning of the Grand Prix 38 years ago, the Long Beach Fire Department has been responsible for safety and medical emergencies throughout the enclosed circuit and the surrounding area. For three days, there’s a city within the city, and the fire department staffs it that way, according to Capt. Rich Brandt, who is in charge of the operation. “There are two distinct aspects to our job with the Grand Prix,” Brandt said. “We handle all the fire and medical responses within the circuit, not including the track itself. Then there are the inspection and fire prevention aspects of it.” That work requires 42 firefighters on site all three days of race weekend. The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach pays the bill for those firefighters, and the city remains fully staffed at all its fire stations throughout the weekend, Brandt said. Some of those stations would respond if there were a major emergency at the temporary racetrack, including a large crash. “If you see a fire engine on the track, you know it’s serious,” Brandt said. “We have secondary response there; the Grand Prix and the race series have dedicated response teams that handle first response. They really handle it

(accidents) all on the track.” Brandt has been working with the Grand Prix Association and its vendors for more than a month making sure all the proper safety precautions are being taken. When the weekend arrives, six inspectors are on the move constantly, checking on everything from the fuel docks to emergency exits to capacity at some of the popular party spots. There also are five engine companies stationed around the circuit — one at each fuel dock, one in the IndyCar garage area, another on the west side of the track and one just outside pit row. While it might appear that the firefighters are there mainly to provide Kodak moments, they really are fairly busy, Brandt said. “We got hose laid out in a number of different impacted areas, so if there is a fire, crews can get there and knock it down quickly,” Brandt said. “They have to check all those lines. It’s important, because the area is so impacted with people it is difficult to move big vehicles around.” That mobility issue is why the paramedic and emergency medical technician teams work out of tricked-out golf carts. Just like the Fire Department’s mission for the rest of the year, most of the responses at the Grand Prix involve medical issues. There are three carts designated as Advanced Life Support staffed with paramedics and one Basic Life Support cart manned by emergency medical technicians. Each is assigned a specific area of the race circuit, but are available to move quickly to emergencies. The entire operation is run from a command base set up near the Long Beach Arena, at the entrance to the first commercial corridor leading to the grandstands.

Because of its location, it is a popular spot for pictures, Brandt said. “This is a very dynamic event,” he said. “Our guys are constantly moving. It might seem really basic, but everything runs smoothly because we’re always working to

make sure it is safe. The things we see vary from year to year, mainly on the weather. If it’s hot, we see a lot of dehydration, people drinking too much, things like that. There are always the falls, the scrapes, the bruises. We handle everything from band-aids to

heart attacks. Last year, we has a security guard who had a heart attack; we responded, administered CPR and transported him to the hospital, and he survived.” No doubt he’ll come back to the track this year — and get his picture taken with a fire truck.

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Firestone Indy Lights Gets Rookie Racers Ready By JJ Fiddler

Sports Editor

Major League Baseball fans don’t get to see the minor league squad play before the big league club takes the field. National Football League fans don’t watch the UFL before Sunday games start. But for open-wheel racing and IndyCar fans, the future of the sport takes to the track every weekend before the big race in the form of the Firestone Indy Lights series. Traveling to 12 different ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses with the “big league” IndyCar races, 17 young drivers (10 rookies) compete in this developmental series that the drivers and teams hope will lead to competing in the big races like Long Beach and the Indianapolis 500. “Our goal is to prepare Firestone Indy Lights drivers to become successful IZOD IndyCar Series drivers,” said Tony George Jr., manager of business development for Firestone Indy Lights, in an official statement. As the top series in the costeffective Mazda Road to Indy developmental system the teams compete for more than $3 million in prize money. “We’ve seen how this has worked recently with drivers having success after graduation form the series,” George said. “The 2012 schedule continues to help drivers gain experience on all types of racing circuits.”

The proof is in the results as drivers Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, JR Hildebrand and Raphael Matos all have climbed the ladder through the Indy Lights to the IndyCar circuit. In 2010, Hinchcliffe led all 45 laps of the FIL race here in Long Beach on his way to a big win. How big? He was in the IZOD IndyCar Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2011, and has a ride here again this year. “For many years, there were too many options in junior formula racing and it was tough for young drivers to decide where to run,” Hinchliffe said last year before Sunday’s race. The cars for the FIL are a few inches smaller than the IndyCar rides and they have about two-thirds the horsepower. You don’t need success at every race to improve, specifically on a track like Long Beach. Nashville, Tenn., native Josef Newgarden, who finished 13th at the Long Beach FIL race in 2011, will be racing as part of the newly named Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing in his first full season schedule in an IZOD IndyCar. If you’re at the track early on Sunday (10:45 a.m.) for the FIL green flag, keep an eye on the No. 77 car driven by Tristan Vautier as part of the Sam Schmidt Motorsports team. The rookie Frenchman took the checkered flag on the streets of St. Petersburg in March and has a history of success on street circuits dating back

to when he was 9 years old. Now 22 years old, this is just the second year in the USA for Vautier but he picked the right team. Sam Schmidt Motorsports is a five-time champion in the FIL and they have three other cars in the race with experienced drivers

behind the wheels like No. 3 Victor Carbone and No. 11 Esteban Guerrieri. The only Californian in the field is No. 28 rookie Troy Castaneda of Sacramento as part of the Bryan Herta Autosports. He finished ninth at St. Petersburg, but the 22-year-old is a man

of many talents with a career in modeling as well as gymnastics. Qualifying for the Firestone Indy Lights race will take place on Saturday and the race will be televised on the NBC Sports Network via tape delay on April 19 at 2 p.m. PST.

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Zone Brings Fun For Whole Family

—Gazette file photo

GONE KARTING. Amateurs have a chance at the Family Fun Zone to get on a race track during the Toyota Grand Prix.

For many people, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is an event for the whole family. But sometimes, the little ones need a break and the answer is the Family Fun Zone, which is in the Convention Center’s Sports Arena. “The fun zone is a little larger this year and it is the perfect place for families to get a break from being outside,” said Chris Esslinger, director of communications for the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “It’s in a central location and a nice place to take a break.” The Fun Zone is open during the regular hours for the track, which are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is included with a race ticket. Children 12 and younger are admitted free to the race. There are BMX and skateboarding exhibitions

both days and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant will have ping pong tables available in remembrance of the Forrest Gump character in the movie of the same name, who becomes internationally known for his ping pong skills. Young drivers ages 4-8 can try turning “hot laps” in electric-powered cars in the KidRacer area. (There is an additional charge for these cars.) For the less adventurous drivers, there are simulators and other video games. Other family-oriented activities include facepainting, bouncers and bungee jumping. “It’s really a place to go to and be part of the fabric of the event,” Esslinger said. “It’s part of our overall efforts to offer something for everyone.” —Kurt A. Eichsteadt

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Celebrities Feel Need For Speed At Charity Race By Jonathan Van Dyke Staff Writer

Flash. Click. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. If you didn’t listen carefully

among the cavalcade of cameras, you might not have been able to hear the celebrities talk at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach’s media day April 3. About

a dozen actors, musicians, sports stars, auction winners and pro drivers will vie for the 36th Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity race crown this weekend.

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—Gazette photo by Jonathan Van Dyke

FRIENDLY RIVALRY? Jillian Barberie Reynolds interviews Adrien Brody and Kate Del Castillo during media day. Media day was the first time haven’t had a chance to be on that many of the drivers were going track yet.” to see and try out the track that And just like that, they were winds through downtown Long being shepherded into vans for Beach — they also had to contend their first look at said track. They with myriad questions. would take laps throughout the Some of those questions even morning in their own cars, being came from fellow celebrity Jil- trailed by coaches. lian Barberie Reynolds, who is After the first ride, Adam Caa host for Fox’s “Good Day LA” rolla (radio and television host program, which was broadcast- who has worked on “The Man ing live. She joked with Kate Del Show” and his own podcast) said Castillo (popular Mexican ac- he was beginning to get comforttress and star of the long-running able and may have stumbled upon miniseries “La Reina del Sur”) a good omen. and Adrien Brody (winner of the “A stroke of good luck, or at Academy Award for best actor least in my culture — Jim the in “The Pianist”) before the first driving instructor killed a bird drivers’ meeting. right in front of me,” he said, “(Kate) buys me tequila, then laughing. “I just saw it bounce she stays up later than all of us right off the wall and off his fendand can somehow get up the next er on the straight-away.” day and ride better than all of us,” Carolla said he’d be shooting Reynolds said, playing off the for a realistic fourth place, but cameras. who knows? Much was being made of Bro- “I enjoy this because it’s not dy being ranked No. 2 going into often you get to monkey around the race — this will be his third with other people’s equipment,” Grand Prix appearance. Reynolds he added. “You can break things gave him a hard time and said she and bash into each other. Norwas putting her money on Del mally, it’s your own junk and you Castillo. have be really careful with it.” “You just try to get out of her For Eileen Davidson (star of way,” Brody said with a smile. “The Young and the Restless” and “I just want to get some track “The Bold and the Beautiful”), (Continued on Page 19GP) time. It’s nice to be ranked, but I

April 12, 2012 | GRUNION GAZETTE | Page 19GP



—Gazette file photo




Welcome x Grand Pris! Race Fan

Succulent turkey legs are just one of many items that will help abate hunger at this year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Transit Offers Travel Alternative You want to go, you’ve got your tickets, but finding parking for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach can be expensive and difficult. Fortunately, Long Beach race fans have an inexpensive and convenient alternative — bus service offered by Long Beach Transit. Because of the construction of the course and the heavy influx of passengers that are expected, LB Transit has made some changes in service for race weekend. Unless otherwise indicated, all the service listed below is effective Friday through Sunday. Regular bus fare is $1.25. Passports A & D. Larger 40foot coaches will replace the usual Passport A & D buses to accommodate more passengers. The buses will operate between the Traffic Circle, CSULB, Belmont Shore/Naples and Marina Drive to the Grand Prix gates downtown. The buses will bypass the Passport Center on Pine Avenue. Bus boardings will be available on Ocean Boulevard. Passport A will serve Alamitos Bay Landing with a temporary stop north of the Drive Bridge.

Celebrities (Continued from Page 18GP)

the celebrity race could serve as a proving ground. “I think I’m a lot better than I really am,” she said. “I don’t look (at my speed), I just go. I really just want to have a good time, but once I get out there I’ll probably really start going for it. You get pissed off when people start passing you.” The race also will feature Eddie Cibrian (“CSI: Miami,” “Ugly Betty,” “Playboy Club”), Kim Coates (“Sons of Anarchy”), returning champion William Fichtner, Hill Harper (“CSI: NY”), Cain Velasquez (UFC Heavyweight Champion) and Rutledge Wood (“Top Gear USA”). Pro drivers will be Fredric Aasbø (2010 Formula Rookie of the Year) and Bryan Clauson (former USAC National Midget champion). Toyota dealership owner Biff Gordon also will race. Drivers will race on the same 10-lap, 1.97-mile street circuit that the Sunday drivers will be face. They will be put in identical Toyota Scion tCs. Toyota donates $5,000 to Racing for Kids in the name of each celebrity racer and another $5,000 to the winning racer’s charity of choice. Racing for Kids is a national nonprofit program that benefits children’s hospitals throughout the country. “Everybody is real friendly

Passport B (Thursday, April 12 only) will run on Pacific Avenue from First Street to Third Street. Passport C (Thursday, April 12 only) will run on Pacific Avenue from Broadway to Fourth Street. Passport C (Friday-Sunday) will operate between the Queen Mary, Shoreline Village and Pine Avenue to Eighth Street. A temporary stop will be located on First Street next to L’Opera. There will be no service on Pine Avenue south of Ocean Boulevard (The Pike, Aquarium and Convention Center), which is inside the race circuit. The Aquabus (Saturday and Sunday) will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from the following docks: Queen Mary, Hotel Maya, Dock Seven at Pine Circle and Dock Nine at Shoreline Village. Aquabus fare is $1 from one stop to the other. Maps and more information are available online at www. In addition, they will have representatives onhand inside the Lifestyle Expo in the convention center and at the Transit and Visitor Information Center at 130 E. First Street. —Kurt A. Eichsteadt

out here,” said reality television star Brody Jenner, whose father is Olympian Bruce Jenner. “And the main reason we’re all out here is for charity and we’re racing for those kids.” Prelims will take place at 11:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 13. The race will be at 11:40 a.m. on Saturday, April 14.

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—Gazette file photo

ROLE MODEL. Venus Ramos is crowned last year as Tecate’s 2011 Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

‘11 Miss Grand Prix Breaks Stereotype By Ashleigh Oldland Editor

Although Venus Ramos looks every bit a beauty queen, she said she hopes her reign as Tecate’s 2011 Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach helped to break stereotypes about women who compete in pageants. Ramos, 40, has a toned physique, a flawless smile and a haircommercial-ready do. Still, she is older than the mostly 20-somethings who vie for the title each year, which made her a unique contender. Additionally, Ramos has brains — and the doctorate to prove it. She works as a physician affiliated with Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in Long Beach.

“Every woman’s motivation is individual, but I wanted to show that women can be beautiful in many ways: both physically as well as professionally and personally successful,” Ramos said about her choice to compete to be Miss Grand Prix. “I wanted to be an example to women about how they can be beautiful and successful. Part of being Miss Grand Prix is to reach out to the community and be someone who others can look to as a leader.” No stranger to beauty competitions, Ramos tried for the Miss Grand Prix title twice before being crowned last year. Additionally, she has competed in fitness and physique competitions. (Continued on Page 22GP)

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Miss GP (Continued from Page 21GP)

“I already felt accomplished (before going on stage),” Ramos said. “I just wanted to go up there and show my pride and inspire others to find their pride as well. I

think I did what I set out to do.” To win the Miss Grand Prix title, Ramos competed in a preliminary round of competition and then went on to the final round — staged during Tecate Thunder Thursday on Pine Avenue. This year, the format is the same, ex-

GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH cept Ramos is judging the competition rather than trying to win the crown. At a crowded Panama Joe’s restaurant on Second Street in Belmont Shore in the last week in March, where one of the latenight preliminary Miss Grand

—Gazette file photo

REPRESENTING. With racing checkers on their skirts, the Tecate Girls are traditionally found throughout the race area.

Prix competitions took place, Ramos judged this year’s contenders based on their ability to confidently wear an “After-5 p.m.” (or cocktail) dress, swimsuit and answer questions with confidence. “As a judge, you look for poise and confidence and level of fitness in both the physique and personality,” Ramos said. “I personally like to see some level of involvement in the community — being Miss Grand Prix really puts you in a position of power to get involved in the community... From this past year, I learned a lot more about the people in Long Beach and this feeling of community in Long Beach.” As Miss Grand Prix, Ramos — clad in a traditional beauty queen sash plus a skin-tight dress with black and white race checkers on the side — played a major role in race weekend activities. Additionally, she said she participated in several events throughout the year as Miss Grand Prix, includ-

ing the Long Beach Marathon, the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade and she was the spokeswoman for the Salvation Army of Long Beach’s annual kettle coin collection drive. “Yes, you parade on stage in a swimsuit, but there is a lot more to me than that — and that is what I want everyone to see,” Ramos said. “It’s about the work it took to get your body fit and it’s about personality and energy. And, then, it’s knowing that you can use that title to do a greater good for your community. All that makes a great titleholder and helps break stereotypes.” She’ll be passing many of those duties to the 2012 Miss Grand Prix during Tecate Thunder Thursday, but Ramos said she’ll be at the race and plans to continue being a contender in fitness competitions as well as serving as a volunteer for the Long Beach nonprofits she’s learned about in the past year.

April 12, 2012 | GRUNION GAZETTE | Page 23GP


C-300 Member Helps From The Start By Stephanie Minasian Staff Writer

Cathy Telaneus thrives off the loud roar of racecar engines, screeching brakes, cheering crowds and the smell of burning rubber. “To me, it’s exhilarating,” Telaneus said. “It has so much energy and it’s very exciting.” Telaneus dons her red racing coat — a staple apparel item that proudly shows off her special role as a lifetime member of the nonprofit Committee of 300 (C300) at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The red coat is recognizable, even around the world, she said, because the Grand Prix has become one of the biggest racing events in the country. As a C-300 member, Telaneus proudly works alongside her 200 or so colleagues to ensure Grand Prix enthusiasts enjoy themselves and have a safe time while doing so. “We work in the grandstands, the press room and answer questions,” she added. “We man the information center, and for those working in the press room, bring the drivers to their interviews.” The C-300 was formed 36 years ago, with Telaneus being involved from the very beginning. Around 1973, she met Chris Pook, who first proposed the idea of a Formula 1 race through the streets of Long Beach, and decided to join this group he envisioned supporting the race. In 1975, the C-300 formed

when Pook and former Long Beach Chamber of Commerce Executive Monty Sharp met to discuss the plans for the race and forming a group of volunteers to provide amenities to assist the event. Pook estimated it would take 300 volunteers to get everything done, hence the name. During the fall of 1975, the first Formula 5000 race hit the new Long Beach track, and the C-300 group went from 70 members to its full membership of 300. “Back in those days, we filled out applications and we had to be approved as members,” Telaneus said. “We had waiting lists in those days. After we were recommended by a member and reviewed, we were brought on.” The committee’s work isn’t only reserved for the race weekend once a year — members also help out at community events throughout the year, including the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade, the Daisy Avenue Parade, the Seal Beach Christmas Parade and even the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena. Growing up as a tomboy, Telaneus was an only child whose father was a former football player in the Navy. She said that sparked her interest in the fast-paced sport that has stuck with her for a lifetime. “I became a NASCAR fan,” she said. “My family took me to races and I loved it. My father was a Naval officer, and I wanted to be a boy.”

Since the beginning, she has never missed the Grand Prix, and said she enjoys the responsibility of helping fans, drivers and vendors feel relaxed and comfortable during the weekend’s festivities. “I’m going to keep on doing this ’til I drop,” she laughed. Telaneus is especially fond of the VIP Paddock Club, which is an exclusive garden party hosted by the C-300, where race fans can enjoy a catered breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday, closed-circuit TV, live entertainment, no-host bar and admission to the IndyCar Paddock. For more information about the C-300, or to purchase Paddock Club tickets, visit www.redcoat. com.

—Gazette photo by Stephanie Minasian

IN IT FOR LIFE. Original Comittee of 300 member Cathy Telaneus said she has never missed a race.

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IndyCar Designs See More Changes By Ryan ZumMallen Staff Writer

The look of open-wheeled racecars competing in the IndyCar Series has changed drastically over

time, ranging from iconic classics to needlepoint noses and ungainly wedges. And pretty much everything in between. So updated designs are nothing

new to the sport, but for 2012, the league is debuting a chassis that may take a little getting used to for some fans. And, it turns out, for the drivers.

—Gazette file photo

OVERLOAD. An IndyCar has a minor crash around a corner be tween a number of other cars during last year’s race. “The new car is massively dif- tional manufacturers in Chevroferent,” says four-time series let and Lotus, giving teams three champion Dario Franchitti. “As a manufacturers to choose from for driver, me and my team are still their brand new, 2.2-liter turbodefinitely coming to terms with charged V6 engines. The smaller, it.” lighter engines are also fueled by The Dallara DW12 — named E85 for the first time in IndyCar, for the late Dan Wheldon, who making them more efficient. tested and helped pen the car — “The one thing about the turtakes on a sloping nose that bor- bos, it definitely sounds a lot nicders on bulbous, with front wing er,” Franchitti says. “As far as on and sidepod design that, viewed the track, I’d really expect the lap head-on, resembles the curling times to be faster this year.” corners of a handlebar mustache. In addition, the cars will fea But there’s more to the look ture speed-shedding carbon disc than the distinguished pride of brakes for the first time. And if careful grooming. The aerody- altering nearly everything about namic design flattens air as the the way the cars are built wasn’t car slices through it, creating enough, there also are changes more downforce and more grip. to the rules that determine how a “The car’s definitely got more driver can behave. grip,” says Will Power, who won Previously, to prevent blocking the Grand Prix of Long Beach in maneuvers, drivers were forced to 2008 and has earned pole posi- stay on the proper racing line untion each of the last three years. less they were overtaking the car “In the corners, they’re bloody in front of them. That left leading quick.” cars virtually defenseless, so In The flared sidepods also serve dyCar changed the rule to allow a safety purpose, preventing side- leading cars to protect their posiby-side opponents from tangling tion by taking the inside line. their wheels together at high On a tight street course like speed. The cockpit is also room- Long Beach, opportunities to pass ier, allowing drivers easier access a car for position were already when climbing in and out, but hard to come by. Due to the new also making more room to add bodywork, trailing cars will bensafety features such as foams and efit from a larger draft generated protective panels to protect driv- by the car in front, but it will be ers in the event of a crash. much more difficult to make the The new chassis design also pass even if there is a large speed evens out the car’s weight, pro- difference. ducing a 60/40 rear-to-front ra- “The biggest different, I think, tio that improves balance. Some is that there will be blocking (at drivers have complained that Long Beach),” Power says. “It rethis effect numbs the steering re- ally probably makes it difficult to sponse and feedback, but it also pass. All in all, I think it will be a makes the car’s behavior more very tight race, for sure.” predictable, which is very impor- It will take the drivers and tant — especially considering the teams weeks, if not the full seachanges made to the engines. son, to fully adjust to the myriad For the past six seasons, Indy- changes in vehicle design, power Cars had all been powered by the and driving style that have been same roaring, 2.4-liter Honda V8 implemented for 2012. For the powerplant. Beginning in 2012, fans, watching them figure it out the series welcomes two addi- will be half of the fun.

April 12, 2012 | GRUNION GAZETTE | Page 25GP


Belanova, Joan Jett Get Crowds Dancing After Races By Stephanie Minasian Staff Writer

When the sound of roaring engines and the screeching tires of racecars dies down at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the stage will be set for two big musical acts for the evenings of Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14. During Tecate Light’s Fiesta Friday concert, Mexican pop band Belanova will perform for fans on the outdoor Convention Center concert stage at 6:45 p.m. On Saturday, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts will treat fans to a performance for Tecate Light’s “Rock-N-Roar” concert starting at 6:45 p.m. “The concerts are really part of the entire package we try to put together,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “We want the opportunity for people of all ages to enjoy the grand tour of Long Beach.” When Michaelian took over as president and CEO after Chris Pook retired in 2001, the idea to extend off-track festivities for fans and bring musical acts to the Grand Prix began to formulate. With Tecate jumping on board as the Grand Prix’s official beer sponsor in 2002, Michaelian said there was no question in starting a rock ‘n’ roll-type show for fans after the race on Saturday night. “When we started to add a concert to the weekend,” he said, “it was part of our idea to extend the off-track or the festival-type activities.” Another concert night was added and dubbed “Feista Friday,” which had a fun, Latino flair. The Friday concerts drew crowds of up to 5,000 people, who were looking to hear the music of their favorite Hispanic musical act, Michaelian added. “We have had some very popular bands play,” he said. “Belanova should attract a very large crowd after the racing activities on Friday.” Over the years, the musical acts have mostly drawn a younger crowd, but Grand Prix officials are certain that a music legend

—Photo courtesy of Grand Prix Association

FIESTA FRIDAY. Mexican pop band Belanova is slated to play on the outdoor Convention Center stage at 6:45 p.m. Friday.

like Joan Jett, is sure to draw a variety of music fans to the concert. “We’ve had times when we attracted young audiences because of the type of bands that had a younger demographic,” Michaelian said. “This year’s genre seems to be very popular with our race fans. To have big names like these come out is beneficial for the experience of the fans.” The concerts are convenient for race-goers, because they will be able to attend the show with just the purchase of a race pass for Friday or Saturday. It is advised to come to the stage area early to secure a spot to watch either of the concerts. The popularity of the Grand Prix concerts saw some chaos in 2008 during a Pennywise concert, when fans caused a near-riot. Michaelian said that the Grand Prix’s strong partnership with the Long Beach Police and Fire departments would ensure everyone’s safety. “With Pennywise, there were many individuals involved, and we did run into a space concern,” he said. “We have worked closely with the police and fire department here in Long Beach, and we have relationships. We have identified procedures and ways to prevent something like that from happening, and that hasn’t resurrected since then.” The concerts will be outside

on a large stage set up in front of the Terrace Theater, facing Ocean Boulevard.The fun doesn’t have to end after the show, Michaelian said. The whole weekend provides off-track activities for people of all ages. “We have six races, and they’re all different types,” he said. “There’s definitely an opportunity for people who love racing to get their thrills. There also will be a large expo in the Convention Center with displays, simulations, games and activities.” Families will have the chance to experience the Family Fun Zone, which began for the first time at last year’s Grand Prix. Children can get inside a batteryoperated go-kart, with a full track set on the top floor of the Marina Parking Garage to put their pedals to the metal. For additional information about the concerts or other Grand Prix events, visit

—Photo courtesy of Grand Prix Association

MUSIC LEGEND. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts will hit the stage at 6:45 p.m., after the races on Saturday.

—Gazette file photo

CROWD PLEASING. Grand Prix fans check out all the vendors and activities surrounding the track.

Page 26GP | GRUNION GAZETTE | April 12, 2012


Pit Team Can Make Race Difference By Mike Guardabascio Sports Editor

Casual racing fans have a lot of information at their disposal. They know who’s driving which cars, how fast the cars are going, and how many points a driver can earn in the IndyCar Series depending on where they finish. One piece of mystery in the race, however, is the pit stop. What happens in those quick seconds when your favorite driver ducks off the track? Once merely a place where cars re-fueled and got new tires, pit row has been as revamped and improved by technology as every other aspect of racing. In the IndyCar Series, a car takes about 38 seconds from when they leave the track to when they reenter it. That includes the time the car takes to taxi into its specific pit, the time it spends stopped and being serviced, and the time it takes getting back out. What happens in that stop, and when the driver and his team decide to take it, can make or break an entire day, or season.

For local examples, look no further than 2002 and 2003. In 2002, 39-year-old Michael Andretti used a brilliant pit strategy to stretch his car’s speed, going on to win the race by 0.466 seconds, time he wouldn’t have had with an additional pit stop, or if one of his pit stops had been even a half second longer. The next year, Michel Jourdain Jr. was leading the race with seven laps to go, and took his final pit stop. Something went wrong in the pit, however, and Jourdain Jr.’s transmission broke as he was revving out of pit road, ending his day in heartbreak, instead of exaltation. Now, refueling and changing tires still are an integral part of the pit stop. From the time a driver stops in his pit to the time he leaves, the car will be lifted onto a jack, have all four tires removed and replaced, 19 gallons of fuel run into the tank through a hose, have its wings adjusted if necessary, lowered, and then take off. All that action happens in eight to 10 seconds, if everything goes according to plan.

That happens with the help of 11 members of the pit crew. Only six are allowed over the wall to actually work on the car directly, but all 11 wear fully fire-resistant suits, footwear, gloves, helmets and underwear. Each member has a specific responsibility, either to a tire, or a specific piece of equipment (there is a dedicated fuel hose assistant, a dedicated airjack assistant and a dedicated fire extinguisher, who cools the engine after refueling). These 11 pit crew members need to do so much in such a small amount of time that most of them work full-time with athletic trainers to stay flexible, and physically fit. In addition to the pit crew that directly service the car, there is a high-tech element to the pit stop, thanks to the addition of the pit box. The pit box is manned by three staff members (the race engineer, the race strategist and the data acquisition engineer), who run this incredibly advanced supercomputer, which essentially serves as the headquarters of any

—Gazette file photo

TEAM EFFORT. 2011 winner Mike Conway’s pit team celebrates his victory.

race team during the race. Several flat-screen monitors display up-to-the-second weather information, timing and scoring data, the TV broadcast, and telemetry about that team’s car. That last information is incredibly detailed, as engineers can constantly check everything from the car’s tire pressures and fuel information to the current position of the anti-roll bar, gear position and transmission functionality. Each pit box even has its own weather station and antenna mounted to its top, so that engi-

neers can track wind speeds at their specific pit stop, as opposed to one a few yards away. How critical is this technology and staff to the way a race goes for a driver? There’s even a camera on top of the pit box to record each stop, so that the driver and his team can watch film after the race to determine how to be even faster. After all, every half second counts. Just ask Michael Andretti. If you’re interested in seeing a pit stop close up, Thunder Thursday on Pine features a pit stop contest. That contest will begin at 6:30 p.m. this year.

April 12, 2012 | GRUNION GAZETTE | Page 27GP


Formula Drift Slides Into Grand Prix Weekend By Ashleigh Oldland Editor

Professional Formula Drift driver Kyle Mohan says he discovered his passion for cars and auto racing thanks in large part to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Mohan, 30, is a Long Beach native who competed last week for the sixth time in Formula Drift’s professional series kickoff competition on the streets of Long Beach. This weekend, the Grand Prix crowd will cheer as he and a team of Mazda drift drivers leave their marks on the streets of Long Beach. Easily recognizable on the track when driving his bright purple Mazda RX-8, Mohan said it’s a real treat to be able to drift on the streets of his hometown — literally driving that purple Mazda from its garage in Signal Hill to the downtown event. And, he adds, being able to cruise the Grand Prix is a dream come true for a real fan of the race. “I have been to the Grand Prix every year I have been alive, even before I was 1 year old — tucked under Dad’s arm,” Mohan said. “So I couldn’t help it, I got into cars… Long Beach has a lot of racing culture because of the Grand Prix.” Working in the garage with his dad and looking forward to the return of the Grand Prix to his hometown each April, Mohan said it made sense to turn his love for cars and auto racing into a career as a professional driver. In addition to drifting, Mohan has driven in more traditional car racing, but he said drifting is unique because it is a different way to showcase his driver skills.

“I was a huge fan of racing, with the Long Beach Grand Prix in my backyard, but I always loved sliding — there’s something aesthetically pleasing about a sliding car,” Mohan said. “I would watch the Grand Prix and love it when the cars would get loose in a corner.” Although drift drivers are known for sliding across the road and leaving lines of rubber and smoke in their wake, Mohan said what might look out of control is actually a well-practiced and honed skill. “As a drifter, it really requires a skill set of car control,” he said. “You have to know a car’s limits and be familiar with what a car will do when it is sliding. You have to handle the car in any situation.” Drifting is judged based on speed and style and car control — not who crosses the finish line with the fastest time. Professional Formula Drift competitions are head-to-head battles between two drivers, but during the Grand Prix demonstrations, Mohan said three cars actually compete together as a team against other teams — the winning team is the one that drifts the best together. “Last year, my team (Team Mazda) placed first during the Long Beach Grand Prix,” Mohan said. “It’s almost like figure skating — we are trying to create the best uniform team and drive with each other instead of against each other.” Drifting on the streets of his hometown — using turns 9, 10 and 11 of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach street course — is always a highlight of Mohan’s year. Typically, drift competitions

take place on race tracks, not city streets, he said. “It’s absolutely amazing to run this series,” he said. “Growing up in Long Beach and then turning

around and doing the Grand Prix circuit is amazing.” Drifters will be on the race course this weekend starting with a Team Drifting Challenge at 9:35

a.m. Friday, April 13 and another at 8:55 a.m. on Saturday, April 14. The final Team Drifting Challenge takes place at 3:40 p.m. on Sunday, April 15.

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City’s Hospitality Highlighted During Grand Prix By Harry Saltzgaver Executive Editor

You’d think that, just from the sounds, the racetrack and the races are at the center of the Toyota

Grand Prix of Long Beach. But for many, there’s something else on their minds: Business. More specifically, it’s business hospitality — the chance to host

clients at one of the premiere sporting events in the country, maybe make a connection or two or even a deal. It’s what all those people are doing in those elevated

boxes and big tents. The process has been an important part of the event since the beginning. One of the most famous pieces of Grand Prix folklore is how race founder Chris Pook had the legendary Mario Andretti give the president of Hyatt Hotels a pace car ride — and not stop driving until he had a promise for a new Hyatt in Long Beach. These days, providing that corporate hospitality is big business for the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. Mike Clark, GPALB director of marketing, said he can see a direct correlation between the state of the economy and the number of businesses visiting the Grand Prix. “Our on-track suites are selling out this year, and we’ve had to reduce the public seats on the Seaside, because we have more corporate customers this year,” Clark said. “Where we’ve seen a huge jump is in the (Lifestyle) Expo. A lot of the exhibitors are coming back this year, particularly in the automobile industry. That’s reflected in the number of companies entertaining this year.” In all, about 3,000 of the more than 100,000 fans expected Sunday will be in one of the clubs or hospitality tents scattered around the course. More than 400 companies are on the client list. In addition to the companies trying to impress clients or potential clients, plenty of race fans are interested in a VIP experience, and the Grand Prix Association works hard to offer many options. There are the Pit Lane Club and the previously mention Seaside Club, where people can buy seats in the elevated suites and get everything those other ritzy folks are getting — catered meals, an open bar, access to the pits and garages. The Pit Lane Club three-day pass goes for $830 and sells out fast. The Seaside Club (beer and wine only, no pit access) costs $525.

A unique club experience takes place on the roof of the 17-story Hyatt Regency (built in the middle of the course). The Vista Club (must be 18 or older) provides just that as well as HD TVs, catered food, beer, wine and more. The tariff is $450 for all three days or $250 for Sunday only. Ask any race veteran, and they’ll tell you most of the race action takes place at Turn One, at the end of the straight-away as the cars turn toward the Aquarium of the Pacific’s fountain. Bubba Gump Shrimp’s restaurant sits at that turn, and on Sunday Bubba Gump hosts the Turn One Club, with reserved seats in the Turn One grandstands, breakfast and lunch. Tickets are $150, and its so popular that there’s a limit of six to a person. But the best known of all the clubs is the Paddock Club, located behind the grandstands at the hairpin that feeds the cars into the final straightaway and the checkered flag. The Paddock Club is hosted by the Committee of 300, the volunteer group working the races in their iconic Redcoats. A tradition on the circuit, the club boasts a full bar and the only public restrooms on the circuit with running water. This year, there will be live music all three days, a car show put on by The Sultans, driver autograph sessions and catered breakfast and lunch Saturday and Sunday (food will be available for purchase on Friday). Tickets include reserved seats in the grandstand, but there also is live closed circuit television coverage of all the races. Paddock Club tickets are available up to and including race day. The best deal is the three-day package for $285. There’s also a Sunday-only ticket for $150 ($95 for juniors) and entry tickets (not including food) sold at the gate. For details, go to www.gplb. com or call (888) 827-7333.


Not Just One Race, Full Weekend Ahead By Mike Guardabascio Sports Editor

As always, racing fans are looking forward to Sunday’s marquee IndyCar event. But one of the greatest strengths of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach has always been the full experience that attendees get. Yes, there’s the floor show in the Convention Center and the wide array of food vendors — but there are also a high-quality set of support races. After the marquee IndyCar event is over on Sunday, the Pirelli World Challenge will hit the streets at 4:15 p.m. The race is a 50-minute sprint from a standing start, with no pit stops or driver changes, making for a final hour of thrilling, nonstop racing action. This year, there will be 36 cars spread across two divisions, with trophies being awarded in the GT and GTS divisions. And while the IndyCar race will feature the biggest names in racing, the Pirelli World Challenge, as always, will feature the biggest names in, well, cars. The GT Class (identifiable by their black windshield banners) will race cars like the Porsche 911 GT3, the Volvo S60 and a Chevy Corvette. Lawson Aschenbach, the 2011 champion of the nowdefunct Touring Car Division, will be driving the Porsche 911 GT3, hoping to help Porsche

repeat as the Manufacturers’ Champion in 2012. Randy Pobst, who is a four-time champion in the GT class, will be driving the Volvo S60, along with teammate Alex Figge, a former American Le Mans and Champ Car driver. The GT Class also is notable for the number of SoCal natives competing, with five of the 17 drivers hailing from Los Angeles or Orange counties. The GTS Class (which will sport gray windshield banners), features 20 drivers, five of whom are series rookies. Paul Brown will be one of seven drivers in the race’s most popular car, a Ford Mustang Boss model, as he tries to defend his 2011 GTS Drivers’ Championship. Brown won five races last year, including the Long Beach GTS race. Other recognizable cars will include Colin Braun in a Kia Optima, Andy Lee in a Chevrolet Camaro, and Bill Ziegler in a Mitsubishi EVO. Each year, the recognizability of the cars is one of the biggest draws of the Pirelli World Challenge Championship. “Everyone loves to see the sports cars whose names they recognize,” says Jim Michaelian, Grand Prix Association of Long Beach president and CEO. Other recognizable cars will include models of Audi, Cadillac, Corvette, Dodge, Lamborghini and Subaru.

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Taste Of Le Mans Here In Two-Hour Sprint Race By Ryan ZumMallen Staff Writer

For cars that are built to withstand the brutality of the racing marathon that is the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans, a two-hour sprint (the race was 100 minutes last year) through the close confines of the Grand Prix of Long Beach poses a unique challenge. A racing team’s challenge is a racing fan’s thrill. Twenty-seven racing teams will bring 35 total cars of all shapes and speeds to Long Beach this weekend for the sixth consecutive year, for a chance at seaside glory in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race. The ALMS field is divided into several classes that all compete simultaneously, creating four races within one very busy competition. Production-based race cars compete within their class while avoiding the path of the

powerful prototypes. Diversity is the calling card of the ALMS, and it makes for an entertaining and thrilling race that’s sure to please diehard gearheads and motorsports rookies alike. The prototype cars are at the front of the pack, massive engines emitting aural blessings as their featherweight and spaceage bodies blast around the track. In the P1 class, defending Grand Prix of Long Beach winners Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf of Muscle Milk Pickett Racing will pilot their Honda-powered HPD ARX-03a, which struggled in the 12-hour season opener at Sebring and finished 28th overall in a field of 64. They’ll be chased by Mazdapowered Lola B11 and B12 coupes from Dyson Racing. The P1 class cars can be recognized by the red lights on the side of the cars. The P2 class features prototypes that are smaller and less powerful than their P1 cousins. Four low-slung cars will compete in P2, including two Honda-powered HPD ARX-03b cars from Level 5 Motorsports. Scott Tucker of the No. 95 car finished first in the P2 class last year. A Juddpowered Morgan from Conquest Endurance and a Honda-powered Lola B11/80 HPD from Black Swan Racing round out the class. The P2 class cars are recognizable by the blue lights on the side of the cars. Nine competitors will enter the race in the PC class, which races identical open-cockpit Oreca FLM09 cars in a challenge that places a premium on driver skill. The sports car classes are led by the GT group, and feature the most recognizable marques in automotive history. Eight teams will enter 12 cars that sport the following badges: Corvette, Porsche, Ferrari, Lotus, BMW and Aston Martin. In the No. 56 BMW E92 M3, Joey Hand and Dirk Muller have won the last two Grand Prixes of Long Beach in their class and took a heartstopping victory in Sebring this season. In that race, they barely eluded the No. 3 Corvette ZR1 of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, who will be eager to erase the taste of a 12-hour race that ended with a 0.585-second defeat. The Porsches of Flying Lizard Motorsports and Ferraris of Extreme Speed Motorsports are also consistent threats to capture the checkered flag. Cars in the GT class can be identified by the green lights on their side. Seven cars will compete in the GTC class, which features identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racecars. These are the slowest cars in the ALMS race, but it’s hard to tire of the iconic Porsche 911 sight and sound rounding a track. If that’s the worst that this race can do, then it’s that’s right. The ALMS field will practice at 7:15 a.m. on Friday, qualify at 5 p.m. on Friday and begin pre-race ceremonies at 3:55 p.m. on Saturday. The green flag will drop on the two-hour race at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.


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Grand Prix Special Edition 2012