If there was a scary moment in the 38th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, it came on Lap 22 when Marco Andretti took flight.
It was notable because it marked the first time that the new Dallara chassis—designed to prevent cars from going airborne after touching tires—has yielded such a result.
A pod behind each of the rear tires is supposed to prevent cars from going into the air when tires make contact, but Andretti took off after running up the back of Graham Rahal during a wild sequence in the first half of the race.
Vice president of technology Will Phillips will review the accident before commenting about the pods and what might have happened, and whether any changes will be made to the structure of the chassis, according to an IndyCar spokesperson.
As for the incident itself, both drivers felt the other was at fault.
"He wasn't going to make the corner no matter what," Rahal said. "Obviously, those pods didn't do the job. He's had a lot of rides like that (going airborn), unfortunately. He went straight over the top of us; the back of our car is destroyed."
Rahal was blamed by Andretti for the accident that destroyed the front his car.
"That was our stint to make hay," Andretti said. "It's one thing to block, but that was a chop. I made the move and he just caught me off guard. I was already there. I was lucky I didn't go upside down. I could have been killed."
Instead, Andretti injured his left hand.
The tire incident
Will Power won the race by barely finishing ahead of Simon Pagenaud, and the Australian driver was particularly pleased about it because of something that happened on pit road.
Both drivers pitted on Lap 20 after Sebastien Bourdais went into a tire barrier. When Pagenaud pulled out, he noticed Power coming up behind him; he tried to give Power room but hit the left rear tire that was laid out in Power's pit stall. Roger Penske's team argued that Pagenaud should be penalized because it cost Power time in his pits, but there was no penalty given.
"When Pagenaud hit my tire, I thought he should have had a penalty for that," Power said. "So I was happy beating him because I was kind of angry at him for ruining another one of my races."
Power has had a couple of incidents in pit road in the past that cost him valuable points in trying to win the championship.
Glass slipper breaks
As fairytales go, the Cinderella story of Josef Newgarden didn't last long. The 21-year-old rookie driver for owner Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing started on the outside of the front row, but went for the lead into Turn 1. When he tried to squeeze in front of pole-sitter Dario Franchitti, the contact pushed Newgarden into the wall, ending his race before it ever really started.
"I felt like I got alongside him, I gave him the inside lane and I just got touched there on the exit and went right into the wall," Newgarden said. "Maybe it wasn't the right move. The plan was if he was braking alongside of me I would have just given him the lane and tucked right in, but I thought I had a good run on him and a good jump on him, so you know it's one of those tough breaks. I feel bad for the team, if anything.
"I've done the move before. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. ... It's going to bother me now."
Victory for the little guys
Although most eyes were on Newgarden as the hope for underdogs this weekend, Pagenaud turned in a stellar performance on behalf of the little guys. He drives for Sam Schmidt and Davey Hamilton. It's just a one-car team, unlike Roger Penske, who has three cars, and Chip Ganassi, who has four.
"We're a one-car operation, we don't have as much data as Penske or Ganassi," Pagenaud said, "but I'm glad we're giving them a good run for their money."
Pagenaud had previously won two sports car races at Long Beach. He says he likes the track. "Long Beach," he said, "is fantastic."
The Go-Daddy "girl"
Pagenaud provided one of the biggest laughs of the weekend when, as James Hinchcliffe entered for the postrace press conference, he called out, "Danica!"
Hinchcliffe is sponsored by Go-Daddy and outfitted in much the same way as IndyCar refugee Danica Patrick. Hincliffe, though, has provided better results than Patrick has thus far.
In the first three races last season, at St. Petersburg, Barber Motorsports Park and Long Beach, Patrick finished 12th, 17th and seventh; her successor this season has finished fourth, sixth and third with as many top six finishes as Patrick had in 16 races.
Head-to-head last season, Patrick finished 10th in the standings, 12 points better than the rookie Hinchcliffe, who finished 12th for Newman Haas Racing but competed in one fewer race.
Guerrieri wins Indy Lights race
Esteban Guerrieri scored a wire-to-wire victory in the Firestone Indy Lights race. Guerrieri held off Sebastian Saavedra by 1.59 seconds in the 45-lap race around the 11-turn, 1.698-mile layout. Tristan Vautier, who came into the race leading in the championship, moved to third place after Gustavo Yacaman was assessed a time penalty. Vautier had finished two-tenths of a second behind Yacaman.
After three of 12 races, Vautier and Saavedra are tied at the top of the standings with 128 points, and three points back is Guerrieri.
Big day for Southern Californians
SoCal turned in a strong performance in the Pirelli World Challenge GT/GT3 race that closed the weekend festivities. The 31-lap race was the third in the series.
Andy Pilgrim won the GT class, but three of the top seven finishers hailed from the Southland: fourth-place James Sofronas of Newport Beach, sixth-place Tomy Drissi of Hollywood and seventh-place Dino Crescentini of Manhattan Beach; all were driving Porsche 911s.
In the GTS class, Los Angeles' Justin Bell drove his Mustang to a second-place finish. The winner was Jack Baldwin of Marrietta GA.
See video of highlights attached to this article.