Photo from latfusa.com
With a dry California track in the forecast and two awful aero kit era races already in the books, IndyCar’s due for a classic duel on the beach, or at least a watchable show. A third consecutive clunker of a race following Brazil’s jilting of the series would be devastating, but happily won’t occur. IRR’s soothsaying division has been on a hot buttery roll with our predictions as of late – that is, if you discount that farce last week in the swamps of NOLA – so let’s get right to the prognostications.
The specialty prediction of this week’s as sunny as the California coastline. Fortunately for fans there’ll be no flying debris showering the grandstands or smacking innocent, paying spectators upside the head at Long Beach. That shouldn’t happen again until at least the Indy GP; however, since Sebastian Saavedra‘s now back in the series we strongly recommend helmets for fans in the first twenty five rows, as a precaution.
Photo from foxsports.com
That leads us to our initial weekly prediction, who’ll be first out of the race. Not surprisingly, SeSaav’s our pick. Inexplicably brought back to the series this week by Chip the Hutt after being dismissed by KV Racing last year, Saavedra’s never come close to a win in three years in the series. He takes over the car from promising rookie Sage Karam, who’s struggled mightily in the first couple races. The Colombian’s one career pole position at the inaugural Indy Grand Prix last year was a disaster as he stalled the car, resulting in a terrific pileup, an explosion of debris and the honorary starter Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard being struck in the arm. Ganassi’s decision to hire Saavedra is a dubious one and a last place finish will be his reward.
Image from Indy Race Reviewer
For biggest surprise of the race, we’re going once again with the crazy brave rookie from Monaco Stefano “faster than Andretti” Coletti. The KV Racing driver’s been exciting to watch the first few races – as entertaining as fragile aero kits and three inches of water on track allow – advancing steadily through the field. He’s also encountered problems, like his restart spin and guard rail adventures last week. There’s no doubt the youngster’s fast, but his finishing ability is yet to be demonstrated. We think the fast streets of Long Beach will be to Coletti’s liking.
Photo from indycar.com
Our Long Beach Preview noted the streak both Juan Pablo Montoya and Team Penske have been on, last week’s rain shortened dud of a race notwithstanding. Long Beach won’t be like NOLA, nor will it feature a surprise winner who pits but once. It’ll most likely be a Penske in victory lane so we’re going with JPM edging out pole winner Mad Will Power for the win. If Chevy or Penske falter, then recently penalized Ryan Hunter-Reay could score another victory for Honda and Andretti Autosport. Admittedly, the likelihood of that’s about as high as Coyne rookie Francesco Dracone – who was just fined and placed on probation by the series – avoiding hitting his crewmen.
Photo from dailymail.co.uk
It should be an entertaining race on Sunday for a change, though the likely winner won’t surprise anyone. At least the sun will be shining and the nearest alligator will be over a thousand miles away. We’re cautiously optimistic about the race weekend. With drought conditions persisting in California though, you may want to consider bringing along your own water. Also strongly consider a crash helmet.
Image from Indy Race Reviewer