Rewind: 2008 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

By: Spencer Neff
April 7, 2022

This weekend, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach returns to its more traditional spot on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. For the 38th time, IndyCar will tackle the street circuit in California. After serving as the 2021 finale, the 85-lap race on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn course will be the third event of 17.

Before this weekend’s on-track action, we’ll look back at one of the memorable races this event has seen.

Recap

The 2008 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach served as a fitting curtain call on what had become the Champ Car World Series 29 years earlier.

Following the reunification with the Indy Racing League (IRL) less than two months earlier, the remaining 2008 schedule was canceled. For the 25th time, what was started in 1979 as CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams), would run the temporary street course.

After nearly five years away, 1996 Series Champion and Long Beach winner Jimmy Vasser returned to the cockpit. Popular series veteran Roberto Moreno also made his first IndyCar start in nearly a year, driving for HVM Racing.

Newman-Haas-Lanigan’s Justin Wilson started on the pole, looking to continue the success after teammate Graham Rahal won at St. Petersburg two weeks earlier.

Justin Wilson leads the 20-car field in the last stand-in g start of an IndyCar race for over five years (Toronto 2013-Race 2)-(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

At the start of the 1-hour, 45-minute (standing start and timed per ChampCar rules) race, KV Racing Technology’s Will Power outbraved Wilson into Turn 1 for the early lead. Back on the starting line, Oriol Servia brought out the first caution of the day as the safety crew towed his stalled Panoz-Cosworth.

Three laps later, Dale Coyne Racing’s Mario Moraes smacked the outside wall between Turns 1 and 2, which would again promptly the yellow flag. Power continued to lead after the restart on Lap 10 despite a strong challenge from Wilson, through Lap 30.

; Soon after his battle with Power, Wilson dropped out of the race with engine issues.

On Lap 31, the HVM Racing duo of E.J. Visa and the aforementioned Moreno took hold of the lead for a lap. A lap earlier, Nelson Philippe’s stalled car in the Turn 11 hairpin would provide the third caution of the afternoon.

By the Lap 34 restart, Power was back up front. From there, the race would stay green and Power would maintain the advantage up front.

When the checkered flag was brought out on Lap 83, Power would cross the finish line 5.094 seconds in front of Franck Montagny (Forsythe Racing) and Mario Dominguez (Pacific Coast Motorsports).

In Turn 8, Rahal spun into the tire barriers, finishing 13th.

Power led 81 of 83 laps en route to a dominant victory. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Analysis

As one of 12 drivers in the race contesting the full schedule, Power’s third career win and near maximum allotment of points helped vault him to fifth in the standings. Following his 2007 wins on the Las Vegas and Toronto street circuits, the Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia native quickly developed a reputation as a master of the discipline.

In 2009, a substitute run for Helio Castroneves at Team Penske led Power to a full-time ride with the team.

On Sunday, Power’s start will be a record-setting 16th consecutive in the event. He will also look for his third win, as he last triumphed at Long Beach in 2012.

Power, Montagny and Dominguez celebrate on the victory podium.(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

The drivers on the podium would not be as successful, as Montagny and Dominguez would start just nine IndyCar races between them following their podium finish. Justin Wilson earned a second-place finish in 2010 (Dreyer and Reinbold Racing) and a third-place finish in 2013 (Coyne).

Header Image By Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Published by Spencer Neff

I am a lifelong auto racing fan. Through IndyCar1909, I look forward to sharing my passion for the series and its illustrious history with you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: