Romain Grosjean shows fierce determination on his way to scoring a second-place finish at Long Beach
IndyCar Series teams and drivers made their way westward to Long Beach, California, for round three of the 2023 season. Drivers competed on the streets of the Southern California city around a 1.968-mile (3.167-kilometer) temporary street circuit, which runs around Long Beach Convention Center and down the picturesque Shoreline Drive. The circuit offers 11 turns and holds multiple opportunities for overtaking, namely the hairpin at the final corner before the front straight which, if done right, provides spectacular wheel-to-wheel action. A total of 85 laps – 167.28 miles or 269.21 kilometers – had to be completed before a winner could be crowned at the wave of the checkered flag.
Grosjean qualified in a very impressive P3 on Saturday, positioning himself well for the Grand Prix of Long Beach the following day. Upon the opening laps of the race Grosjean and the two drivers ahead of him were closely matched, with the Andretti driver showing strong speed around the street course. Grosjean took advantage of a full course caution and pitted onto primary tires on lap 20, ready to kick off the race once more in P5. A bit of restart madness elsewhere in the field caused a melee for some of the frontrunners, but Grosjean found himself in P3 once more. A further pit stop on lap 53, one lap before teammate Kyle Kirkwood, saw a successful overcut for Grosjean which covered off then-race leader Josef Newgarden of Team Penske.
Within the final portion of the race, the Swiss-born driver was in a 1-2 formation behind his teammate Kyle Kirkwood, holding steady in second to protect an incredible finish for the team. Fuel saving was the name of the game in the closing stages for Grosjean, which subsequently meant he was unable to use the push-to-pass speed boost button on his steering wheel to aid in his racecraft. As told to David Malsher-Lopez of motorsport.com, Grosjean explained that the fuel situation resulted in brake and tire temperature issues, making his second-place finish all the more impressive. Though the desired results have escaped him in the first two IndyCar Series races of the season, Grosjean is demonstrating impressive skill and pace while maintaining fierce determination that has him knocking on the door of his first victory in the series.
Grosjean’s next opportunity is coming soon at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama where he will compete over the weekend of 28-30 April 2023.