27TH CONSECUTIVE LONG BEACH RACE & 448TH INDY CAR EVENT FOR TEAM The team is closing in on a milestone of having competed in 450 Indy car races since their first season of competition in 1983. The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (TGPLB) will not...
27TH CONSECUTIVE LONG BEACH RACE & 448TH INDY CAR EVENT FOR TEAM
The team is closing in on a milestone of having competed in 450 Indy car races since their first season of competition in 1983. The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (TGPLB) will not only mark the team's 27th consecutive entry in the famed street event that first hosted Indy car racing in 1984. It will also be the 448th event since being formed, making the upcoming 2010 Indianapolis 500 the team's 450th event. The number includes participation in CART, Champ Car, IRL Indy 500's and the IZOD IndyCar Series to date over the team's 28 seasons of competition (chart available upon request). Including the TGPLB, the team will have entered a total of 796 cars in these 448 events.
In their 26 previous events here, the team has won six races (Bourdais 2005-2007 & Mario Andretti 1987, 1985, 1984), earned 11 poles (Wilson 2008, Bourdais 2006-2007, Junqueira 2004, Michael Andretti 1995, Mansell 1993, Mi. Andretti 1992 and 1991, Ma. Andretti 1987, 1985, and 1984) and finished on the podium a total of 14 times (2nd place finishes by junqueira 2004, Cristiano da Matta 2001, Nigel Mansell 1994, Michael Andretti 1989; 3rd place finishes by Junqueira 2005 & 2003, Bourdais 2004, Mansell 1993). To highlight the longevity of the team's participation in this event, nine of the 17 races on this year's IZOD IndyCar Series schedule will mark only the third time or less that the team has competed at those venues.
Experience on a specific track is always an asset and No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic driver Hideki Mutoh believes the data gained over 26 years of racing at Long Beach is not only helpful here, its helpful at other tracks. b^0x001cI didn't realize that this will be the 27th race for the team at Long Beach!" said Mutoh, 27. "It has been around as long as I have. I watched Nigel (Mansell) race there and Mario too when I was a little boy. The fact that the team has a lot of data from racing so many years in Long Beach not only helps in Long Beach; it helps for all street and road courses. With the extra knowledge and success here, maybe there is also a little extra pressure because so many great drivers have raced for the team."
MOST RECENT WIN AND POLE IN LONG BEACH
The team's most recent success here includes winning three of the past five events with Sebastien Bourdais (2005-2007) and Justin Wilson's 11th pole for the team in the 2008 Champ Car finale. Engine failure on Lap 13 ended his bid to win a seventh race for the team at this track.
FORMER NHR DRIVER MICHAEL ANDRETTI JOINS TEAM ON THE WALK OF FAME
Paul Newman and Carl Haas were present when Newman/Haas Racing was inducted to the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame prior to the 2007 event. The Walk of Fame medallions include renditions of the team or racers' cars and their major achievements in motorsports and are displayed on the sidewalk in front of the Long Beach Convention Center along the route of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach course on Pine Ave. Race promoter Chris Pook and driver Brian Redman, who earned three championships with Haas' team in the F5000 series from 1974-1976, were also inducted into the 2007 class. This year Michael Andretti, who made 173 starts with Newman/Haas Racing from 1989-1992 and 1995-2000, will be inducted to the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame with fellow driver Danny Sullivan. Andretti earned 31 of his 42 CART wins and 26 of his poles in partnership with NHR as well as the 1991 title.
Thursday's 11 a.m. PDT event will mark the fifth annual induction ceremony.
NHLR, MUTOH AND THE IZOD INDYCAR SERIES TAKE OVER HOLLYWOOD BLVD
Phillips Van Heusen and the IZOD IndyCar Series are taking the cars and the stars of the series to the hottest spot in LA. For the entire day they are closing down Hollywood Boulevard right in front of the famous Kodak Theater and next to Jimmy Kimmel's studio. Celebrity guests include Adrian Grenier, Jimmy Kimmel, Penny Marshall and Jason Statham among others. Hideki Mutoh and the crew of the No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic team will compete in the pit stop contest that will take place from 6:00 -- 7:45 p.m. PDT and Camp Freddy, an all-star band comprised of members who previously achieved fame with well-known groups, will be in concert at 7:45. J
NHR / NHLR ON ROAD AND STREET COURSES
Since being formed by Carl Haas and Paul Newman in the fall of 1982, the team has earned a total of 107 wins and 109 pole positions. Eighty of their 107 wins and 90 of their 109 poles came on road and street courses. The team's previous win on a road/street course was in Detroit by Justin Wilson on 8-31-08. Their previous pole on a road/street course was in the St. Pete season opener last year by Graham Rahal (4-4-09). Nine of the 17 races on the 2010 schedule are on road and street courses.
Hideki Mutoh, driver of the No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic Dallara-Honda-Firestone entry:
HIDEKI ON THE STREETS OF LONG BEACH & WHY HE LIKES THE BUMPS
This will be Hideki's second race here and his fourth event with the team after having driven for Andretti Green Racing, co-owned by former NHR driver Michael Andretti, for the past two seasons. He has made one start on the streets of Long Beach -- last year -- where he qualified 17th and finished 20th after being collected in a multi-car accident with Dan Wheldon, Mario Moraes, Justin Wilson and Darren Manning that put him 25 laps down. He hopes to better his best qualifying and finishing position on a road/street course of fifth -- both of which came at the 2009 event at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma in 2009. He also finished fifth at Mid-Ohio in 2009. Mutoh's overall highest series start is THIRD at Nashville Speedway (oval) and best overall series finish is SECOND (Iowa 2008; oval).
"Street courses are my favorite because they are more fun and because more things can happen which makes it more challenging," said Mutoh. "I love challenges. The first time I saw an American street course it thought 'That is very bumpy, and tight and narrow.' But still the speeds are quite high so it is really up to the driver to get a good result. They are very bumpy compared to Japanese or European street circuits but that adds another challenge because you have to work hard to come up with a setup so you can get the most from the car."
HIDEKI ON THE "ROAR BY THE SHORE"
"The location of the Long Beach track is great. It's a nice view along the ocean and there are a lot of spectators at the race all weekend. The track is very challenging. There are not a lot of high speed corners but that is one reason it is so challenging especially the last turn which is very tight. All of the corners are quite difficult at Long Beach but if I had to pick one corner it would be the last turn, the very tight hairpin. That corner is very, very hard. It is really tight so you need to have a car that has good rotation for the corners and good traction for the long main straight."
HIDEKI ON THE ACTION-PACKED START
"The start of the race is always exciting in Long Beach. The straight is very long so when you get to the braking point at 170 mph, it's very hard to stop because you have a heavy fuel load and guys in front of you are braking earlier than normal. I think something always happens there at the start."