FORMULA DREAM/PANASONIC DRIVER HIDEKI MUTOH FINISHED 13TH IN THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH; HIGHEST FINISH OF THE SEASON TO DATE Formula Dream / Panasonic driver Hideki Mutoh started 11th for the 85-lap Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on...
FORMULA DREAM/PANASONIC DRIVER HIDEKI MUTOH FINISHED 13TH IN THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH; HIGHEST FINISH OF THE SEASON TO DATE
Formula Dream / Panasonic driver Hideki Mutoh started 11th for the 85-lap Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the 1.968-mile legendary street course and earned his highest finish of the season to date of 13th place. He held 11th on for the first nine laps but Dario Franchitti and Mario Moraes passed him for position on Lap 10. He was in 13th place before his first pit stop on Lap 25 and lost two more to Vitor Meira, who pit two laps later and Mike Conway who pit one lap later. He held 15th place until the next round of stops began and moved as high as 10th before his second stop on Lap 56. He returned to the track in 14th place but moved into 13th when Marco Andretti pit and into 13th on Lap 63 when Alex Tagliani retired from the event with mechanical failure during the only caution of the race for Mario Romancini and Graham Rahal. On Lap 69 of 85 an aerial shot of Mutoh's attempted pass of Franchitti was shown on the big screens around the track but he was unable to complete the pass and ultimately finished in 13th place. He collected 17 points for his finish and is in 18th place in the point standings with a total of 60 after Round 4. Ryan Hunter-Reay took advantage of an apparent mistake by pole sitter Will Power to take the lead and the win while Justin Wilson finished second despite a front wing change after Alex Lloyd damaged it. Power finished third to retain the points lead.
Following are Mutoh's post race comments:
"I struggled with the brakes at the beginning of the race in Turns 1 and 9 so it was hard to overtake. Then we switched to black primary tires for the second stint and the pace wasn't that bad but it was still very hard to overtake other cars. The Formula Dream / Panasonic car had the speed but we just couldn't make it past to overtake."
NEXT UP: The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series will take next weekend off before reconvening at Kansas Speedway for the first oval race of the season -- the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 on Saturday, May 1.