The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will run this weekend for the forty-second consecutive year. That is the longest running stretch of any race, by far, on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule – with the exception of the Indianapolis 500, of course. There are many mainstay non-ovals that we take for granted to be on the schedule each and every year – St. Petersburg, Barber, Toronto, Mid-Ohio and Sonoma. But none have the date equity and staying power as the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
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My guess is that when you read the title of this post, you probably thought I was going to talk about some of the closest finishes in the history of the Verizon IndyCar Series. Not that I meant to mislead you, but you would be mistaken if that’s what you thought. No, this tackles what most will consider a far less interesting subject. In fact, some might label this as one of my neurotic tangents. But it’s a topic that has become more important to me in the last few years.
It’s hard to believe, but George and I start “our” racing season in less than two weeks. By “our” season, I mean the races we will be going to in person this year. Yes, in just over a week and a half we will be getting up at the crack of dawn (or before dawn, if George has his way), to head down to Birmingham for the race at Barber.
Admittedly, this post will show my age. I was eating lunch yesterday and going through my phone when I saw that someone named Josh Kaufman had been chosen to sing (Back Home Again in) Indiana along with the Indiana Children’s Choir, at this year’s Indianapolis 500. My first reaction was “who?”
When Scott Dixon took the checkered flag the other night at Phoenix, he won his thirty-ninth race in his IndyCar career that is beginning its sixteenth season. He is now tied for fourth with Al Unser in total victories. He currently trails only Michael Andretti (42), Mario Andretti (52) and AJ Foyt (67).
Sometimes I wonder if I live on the same planet as a lot of fans of the Verizon IndyCar Series. After spending all day Saturday doing early spring yard work, I was lucky to get showered and to be sitting in front of the television by the start of the pre-race show for the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix. In short, I was tired and just wanted to watch the race and not engage anyone on social media throughout the telecast.
At long last, the Verizon IndyCar Series makes its much anticipated return to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). The series has not raced there since 2005. That doesn’t sound that long ago until you realize what has transpired since then.