A Roaring Success at the Acura Grand Prix in Long Beach 2023
With cars roaring along the track, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach was blessed with three days of perfect weather, sold-out stands, and exciting races, showing all the reasons why this race is one of the top motorsports events in the United States. Veteran team owner Michael Andretti, the winner of six out of the last thirteen years of the event, saw another success with driver Kyle Kirkwood taking the gold on just his third start for the team. Kirkwood dominated the afternoon, leading 53 out of 85 laps in his No. 27 Andretti Honda.
French driver Romain Grosjean came in second, also representing the Andretti team, which held the 1st, 2nd, and 4th spots in the race. Marcus Ericsson, driving for Chip Ganassi Racing, took third, putting him in the lead for the IndyCar championship standings at 105 points to Pato O’Ward’s 95.
O’Ward had a contentious time on turn 7, touching wheels with Team Ganassi’s Scott Dixon. Dixon ended up hitting the barrier and having an oil pressure problem which led to a disappointing 27th place. O’Ward was not penalized for the contact but finished in 17th place himself.
Legendary Laps at Long Beach
With the 48th edition of the event pulled off successfully, Long Beach is sure to play host to many more editions of the race. Team Ganassi had another impressive performance by series rookie Marcus Armstrong, who finished in 8th place in his second American race ever. The collision involving O’Ward allowed him to sweep past a few drivers, earning him the top-10 spot and putting him in the public eye as a new driver to keep an eye on in the future.
Agustín Canapino held the lead for the first three laps with a strong pit strategy. Although he slipped towards the back at the lap 26 restart and finished overall in 25th place, he had a strong showing and is another young driver to watch in future races.
Although Dixon had a poor showing due this time to the collision, he’s a strong contender with a powerful racing career on the Ganassi team. Dixon is a six-time series champion with only four last-place finishes in 18 years, and he’s on track to be one of the top racers of the decade. He described the race as “gloves off”, and hopes to make a strong comeback later in the season.
The race on Sunday was the third of the IndyCar Series season, with Kirkwood becoming the third different winner and the first first-time winner since last year. Analysts are predicting that both Dixon and Team Penske’s Will Power will have a strong year, as they are currently running streaks of consecutive seasons with at least one race win, 18 for Dixon and 16 for Power. Power has 41 career wins, and Dixon has 53, making them both excellent contenders for championship titles.
Grand Prix Association of Long Beach president Jim Michaelian described the race as a “resounding success”, with perfect weather, exciting races for fans, and a packed turnout of around 192,000 people. The Grand Prix has proven to be a powerful successor since it took over from the Champ Car race, which ended its reign in 2008.
Concession and merchandise sales were hot, and there was plenty of entertainment for the fans. Besides the main IndyCar race won by Kirkwood, the record-setting crowd was also treated to a spectacular race put on by the IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series.
Popular crowd favorite Stadium Super Trucks returned to the Long Beach Grand Prix, with Matty Brabham taking first in both races in his souped-up truck. The crowd went wild as they hit their signature jumps, caught some air, and landed, only to continue racing. Stadium Super Trucks is one of the most interesting and unique races out there, so be sure to catch their next performance.
Vintage Formula 1 cars were also on display, with roaring engines and squealing tires. This historical rubber-burning display brought a touch of nostalgia and memory to the crowd and added a touch of excitement that you won’t find at many other venues.
When you visit the Long Beach Grand Prix, you can expect to see much more than just a race. It’s an all-around spectacle with booths, celebrities, owners, racers, and fans all mingling and sharing the experience. With the ocean right next door, world-class beaches, restaurants, and all the attractions that being this close to downtown Los Angeles has to offer, this race is an excellent choice for anyone looking for one of the most exciting racing experiences in the world.
Next up for most of these teams will be the test for next month’s Indianapolis 500. Don’t miss these races and be sure to get your tickets early if you’re planning on being in the stands!