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To paraphrase Monty Python’s Eric Idle, the Grand Prix of Long Beach often tends to be “a piece of sh*t, when you look at it. The racing’s a laugh and passing’s a joke – it’s true.”
First up, we predict lots of celebrities, beautiful people and an out of this world atmosphere this weekend at Long Beach. Everything and more will be on display, except for entertaining IndyCar racing. At Long Beach and certain other left-right-left courses, it’s predictably poor racing. On the bright side, with a schedule chock full of lengthy layoffs almost any race is better than no race at all – unless it’s maudlin Mid-Ohio, that is.
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“When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble – give a whistle. And this’ll help things turn out for the best.”
Expect to see plenty of carbon fiber debris to be generated on the narrow, concrete walled circuit and concomitant lengthy caution periods. There’s also a high likelihood of another infamous hairpin pileup-cum-parking lot this year, especially with so many rookies, f-ing F1 invaders and Marco in the field. On the bright side, even unnecessarily interminable yellows bunch up the field for restarts – one of the few entertaining aspects of IndyCars doing interstate speeds.
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“If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten. And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.”
Our special prediction of the race entails a bright spot for American open wheel fans in the form of young Hoosier Conor Daly. While he’s a lot to learn on ovals – see Phoenix, Indy, etc. – Dollar Dale Coyne‘s legacy driver tends to excel on street courses. He had an impressive run last year at Long Beach where he gained the most positions of anyone – a whopping four spots! – and in similarly canyon-like Detroit, where he finished sixth.
“Some things in life are bad. They can really make you mad.”
The first driver out of the race unexpectedly will be a big name this Sunday, paving the way for some variety on the podium and therefore a brighter future for the series. Wanka virus sufferer “Mad” Will Power will experience contact, early retirement and a furtherance of his string of poor results. See, there will be some bright spots at the Beach.
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“For life is quite absurd, and death’s the final word. You must always face the curtain with a bow.”
Our biggest surprise of the event will be Chip Ganassi‘s rookie Englishman and f-ing F1 invader Max “Paris” Chilton. Not for his bright showing, but rather for his particularly poor finish. You see, Max’s supposed to be an ace on street circuits with all that experience in Billionaire Bernie-land. That was one reason he took over Sage “Wild Man” Karam‘s seat this year, supposedly. However, the Brit’s performance won’t be a shining beacon, despite a surprising seventh place finish at Phoenix. He came in seventeenth at St. Pete, which is much more indicative of this weekend than the desert oval.
“Forget about your sin, give the audience a grin. Enjoy it – it’s your last chance anyhow.”
Pole position will be neither surprising nor particularly bright, as one of Penske’s four horsemen is almost certain to take it. “Sour grapes” Power‘s recent record in qualifying is second only to his over the hill “twinkle toes” teammate Helio, though fortunately this tends to have little bearing on the races as of late. Remember, Power’s won only a single race in the last year and a half – this despite over half a dozen poles – and currently sits twelfth in points. Wow – there seem to be more bright sides than we realized.
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“Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true. You’ll see it’s all a show, people laughing as you go. Just remember that the last laugh is on you.”
It’d be too easy to predict another Ganassi/Penske sweep at the Beach, so as is our wont we won’t. In fact, the badly needed surprise race winner won’t be a shock at all to our readers, that is unless you’re expecting yet another Graham Rahal prediction. Instead, we’re going with the brightest young American star on the circuit in Josef “bullpen ace” Newgarden. It’s an all important contract year for the Tennessean, plus he’s coming off a solid 2015 season where he won at the concrete car crusher of Toronto as well as the beautiful, scenic and boring as hell Barber.
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“When you’re feeling in the dumps, don’t be silly chumps. Just purse your lips and whistle – that’s the thing.”
As Monty Python recommended during the crucifixion climax of “Life of Brian,” we fervently try to “Always Look on The Bright Side of Life.” Even during the bleakest stretch of the IndyCar schedule and another predictable Long Beach street parade, some optimism – however foolish, misguided and misplaced – survives.