Photo by Melitza Beltran.
Verizon IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud breezed to a top place finish today, the final IndyCar race of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It was, perhaps, the only thing breezy about the day, which featured sweltering temps that reached the mid-80s, but felt like more on the black asphalt and cement of the course.
Pagenaud came from behind for his first Long Beach Grand Prix victory after Saturday’s pole winner and teammate Helio Castroneves had held the lead. Castroneves eventually finished third, with last year’s Grand Prix winner Scott Dixon in second. Juan Pablo Montoya finished fourth, almost culminating in a sweep for Penske and Chevrolet.
The race was accident-free and largely smooth for all drivers. The only moment of controversy involved Pagenaud receiving a warning from IndyCar for crossing a blend line after a pit stop—an infraction for which Scott Dixon’s team believed he should have been penalized.
Capping a weekend of typically large crowds, the race’s opening ceremonies, complete with a fighter plane showcase, as well as its final victory laps guaranteed a stylish finale. Earlier in the week, Alfonso Ribeiro clinched the victory for the last-ever Toyota Pro/Celebrity race, while Cheap Trick riveted Grand Prix fans.
The Toyota Grand Prix Facebook page celebrated the win, with a post of Pagenaud hugging teammate Castroneves.
Above, right: Cheap Trick Performs.
Photos by Melitza Beltran, Keeley Smith and Post staff.