Sunday morning the overcast quickly burned off for sunny and warm weather at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The two Indy Racing League series had their morning warm-ups in preparation for their races, and qualifying for the Toyo (not Toyota) Tires World Challenge at Long Beach Presented by Bondurant.
I was able to navigate the crowds a bit easier this morning – maybe folks are sleeping in, sitting in the grandstands already, or out in other places exploring the many things to see and do.
One of the fun things to do is people watch. I’ve seen a few available drivers this weekend, including ORIOL SERVIA, and MARIO DOMINGUEZ who is back living in Mexico City but still looking for a ride. Also seen have been STEFAN JOHANSSON, and Grand-Am Team Owner/driver/Driver Mgr WAYNE TAYLOR who was hanging out with the Penske guys; and RICHIE HEARN.
SCOTT DIXON/No.9 Chip Ganassi Racing was the fastest IndyCar driver at 1:10.6794/100.239 mph. Pole Sitter WILL POWER/No.12 Team Penske was P18, but he still remains the fastest IndyCar driver of the weekend. MILKA DUNO/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing was P25. All 25 drivers were on course.
For IndyCar, the weather as determined by Firestone Tires was 66F/19C ambient, and 79-80F/26-27C track.
In Indy Lights, all 18 drivers were on track, with the fastest being Rookie J.K. VERNAY/No.7 Sam Schmidt Motorsports, who will start the race on the front row besides Pole Sitter JAMES HINCHCLIFFE/No.2 Team Moore Racing.
A unique situation came up in World Challenge qualifying Sunday morning. Two Canadian brothers qualified on their respective poles. KUNO WITTMER/No.13 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Viper has the overall and GT Class pole with a record lap of 1:24.971/83.379 mph. It is his first GT pole, after two poles in TC.
Kuno’s brother, NICK WITTMER/NO.93 Honda Racing Honda Civic Si has the pole for the TC class at 2:36.938/73.085 mph. This is his first WC pole in only his third race. Rookie TYLER MQcUARRIE/No.19 LPL Motorsports Lotus Exige S, at 1:31.457/77.466 mph. He comes from Formula Drift and this is his first WC race.
The World Challenge race will have a standing start, at 4:15 PM local time.
One World Challenge driver is not on campus … yet. Dr McDreamy aka actor PATRICK DEMPSEY, was to make his World Challenge debut this weekend in No.03 GTS Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda3. He was here for his head shot, but then had to report for further However, surgery and may not make it back for the race. His Dempsey Racing driver, CHARLES ESPENLAUB, practiced and qualified the car to sixth in GTS class, twenty-seventh overall.