The start of last year's Grand Prix of Long Beach Grand Prix of Long Beach Ryan Hunter-Reay won last year's race

How exciting is the Long Beach Grand Prix each year? It’s almost like America’s answer to Monte Carlo. And how can you not salivate in anticipation at the prospect of another carnage-fest courtesy of the double file restarts?

Our regular IndyCar correspondent Matt Lennon previews this weekend’s race…

Race organisers should be placing more grandstands around the first corner and around the fountain that makes up the Turn 2 complex, as this is likely to be where the chaos will eventuate. It may even usurp the famous 180-degree final hairpin corner, regularly the backdrop for traffic jams, as the scene for the most accidents. Once the green flag drops on either the start or any restarts, the race down to the first corner as always will be neck-and-neck between the leading two, but once around Turn 1 – if they get that far – the track is definitely only wide enough for one car at a time. The question will be “Who will blink first?”

After breaking their wrists at the bumpy St Petersburg circuit three weeks ago, Justin Wilson, tough as he is, managed to drive with a brace at Barber Motorsports Park – a much smoother permanent road course – while team-mate Ana Beatriz was unable to drive and was replaced by Simon Pagenaud. On to Long Beach and another bumpy street circuit, it will be interesting to see how far Wilson can go this time around or whether the Californian bumps will take its physical toll.

Video highlights from last year’s Grand Prix of Long Beach, won by Ryan Hunter-Reay

Returning to the series at Long Beach is former winner and veteran Paul Tracy, driving for the resurrected Dragon Racing outfit, which was rescued by Jay Penske after partner Gil De Ferran closed shop just prior to the start of the season. Tracy knows he must impress to show he still has what it takes and to hopefully turn a part-time seat into a full-time drive.

Long Beach has such a storied history, with so many famous names having conquered the seaside circuit. Five former winners will line up on Sunday. Whose name will be added to the illustrious list in 2011? Do not miss it.

[Original images via AUTOSPORT and LAT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.