The Big Picture: Long Beach is one of two iconic events that IndyCar produces each year. This year, it showed that you don’t have to be one of the three “super teams” to podium at “The Beach”.

Event: If you can’t have fun here, what’s wrong with you? Three days of racing, hard partying, concerts, yummy food and lots of drinking. You can go as far as you appetites and wallets will take you.

Qualifying: Dario Franchitti earns his 30th career pole. At any time, this would be momentous. But after a lackluster 2012 and an even worse start of this season, it must feel as awesome to him as it does to us.

Race: It wasn’t edge of your seat exciting, but I’ll give it a 7.5. It’s a beautiful venue, the lead changed a few times, and it was one of those feel good wins that stays with you.

Track: As street courses go, it’s still pretty awesome and it’s challenging enough that everyone was to race here and even more, win here.

Start: I wish Beaux Barfield would talk to whoever okays the starts. The field should be assembled in rows of two! Either that, or consider a standing start.

Surprise of the Race: Justin Wilson’s third place finish. He started close to the back, and as one person said, “how does a guy who didn’t even put in a qualifying lap end up on the podium?” The answer is, because Wilson is that good.

Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda
Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda

Photo by: Jeff Davidson

Sato: Sato is the first Japanese to win an IndyCar race, gave his team the first win by AJ Foyt Racing since 2002, and pulled off the first road/street car race for Foyt Racing since 1976. Takuma is also a humble and kind man, not at all what one would expect of a race car driver. This combination has the makings of possible legends. Congratulations, Taku!

Honda: The two manufacturers seem to be a bit closer in terms of competitiveness than at the start of the season

Rahal: Many applauded Graham’s move from Ganassi to his father’s RLL Racing, but today’s second place was the first evidence it was a good move career wise. Plus, as Rahal noted, second was Bobby’s best finish at Long Beach. A good drive and a great result for him.

Foyt Racing: AJ Foyt is a legendary driver and team owner. The idea that he would strike gold with a soft spoken Japanese driver seems more like the storyline for a reality show than reality itself. However, Larry Foyt, who was never a great racer, has been working with his grandfather for several years to build this team, and Sato is just the driver for both of them to work with. Bravo.

Allmendinger: AJ has the personality and energy to become a star but somehow I don’t think that will happen in NASCAR. Yesterday he retired from the race due to gearbox problems. We will see how he fares in his next IndyCar event.

NBC Sports Network: Where was Robin Miller? On the TV broadcast, there was one shot of him and then nothing. I usually run into him at the Media Center, but not this year. Was he lured by the gambling in Gardena? I missed his grid walk.

Next Race: In two weeks, the Streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil.