Helio Castroneves Wins Long Beach Pole, Calms Some Chevy Nerves

Helio Castroneves took pole position for Sunday’s Long Beach Grand Prix and set a new track record in the process. This is his third consecutive pole at Long Beach and the 48th pole of his career. Scott Dixon qualified second, leading the way for Honda who have dominated the time sheets up until the final minutes of qualifying. Hondas did make up the rest of the fast six.

Calming Chevy’s Nerves

At the season opener in St. Pete Honda powered cars all but dominated the event. Something no one really saw coming especially after they only won two races a year ago and both of those were on speedways. No one expected them to make the offseason gains that they have for the street and road course.

After dominating at St. Pete and dominating the practice sessions at Long Beach there were rumblings from the Chevy camp that the Honda teams had an advantage. If you know anything about the Chevy camp and their main team *cough* Penske *cough* if something isn’t in their favor they will generally complain about it.

Case in point, Indianapolis 2015 when the Chevy cars wouldn’t stop flipping at the speedway. Instead of Chevy having to change the way their cars were, Honda who had no problems had to adhere to what Chevy wanted. In 2016 when Chevy powered teams won all but two races you never heard Penske talking about how Chevy had an unfair advantage.

Winning this pole though should calm the bow tie brigade down. However if Honda keeps running well and shows up at the speedway fast you can bet an Indycar and Chevy meeting will be happening.

Prediction

Scott Dixon should have won Long Beach last season. Simon Pagenaud clearly broke the rules when he drove over the blend line after a pit stop but he was not assessed a penalty. Shoutout to that Penske favoritism for saving him. Dixon is P2 on the grid tomorrow, he wins. Castroneves hasn’t won since Detroit 1 in 2014, not a chance he wins this race.

Dixon or Bourdais get it done. Unless of course we get a shock winner like when Mike Conway or Takuma Sato pulled it off.

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