The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season heads to California this weekend for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, round 3 of the 2023 season. There are several things to look out for this weekend. Can Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden claim back-to-back victories in the Golden State? Alexander Rossi has moved from the Honda-powered Andretti Autosport team to the Chevrolet-powered Arrow McLaren as he goes home searching for his third Long Beach win.
Six-time series champion Scott Dixon, driver of the No.9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, has not yet won in Long Beach and will be looking for a solid finish following a strong start to his 2023 season as he goes in search of his seventh NTT INDYCAR SERIES title. The Iceman has led 104 laps throughout his INDYCAR career.
It’s not where you start…: With the exception of Rossi’s wins in 2018-19, the pole has not been the place to start at Long Beach. Just five drivers have ever won Long Beach from the top spot, and while pole sitters have scored podium finishes in recent races – Newgarden was second in 2021 –they’ve also finished 15th or worse just as often (Colton Herta – 23rd in 2022, Ryan Hunter-Reay – 20th in 2014, Dario Franchitti – 15th in 2012, and Justin Wilson – 19th in 2008).
…It’s where you finish: Pato O’Ward and Scott Dixon are the only drivers so far this season to sweep the top five this season. O’Ward has back-to-back second-place finishes at St. Petersburg and Texas, while Dixon has third (St. Pete) and fifth (Texas) finishes.
Keeping that mark could be a challenge for both. O’Ward has only one top-five at Long Beach (third in 2022) in three previous starts, while Dixon has six top-five finishes in 15 previous races at Long Beach.
Alex Palou, driver of the No.10 The American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, will make his 50th NTT INDYCAR SERIES race start this weekend.