Simona de Silvestro at Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. – On this date in 2008, Simona de Silvestro won the Champ Car Atlantic race on the streets of Long Beach for Newman/Wachs Racing.

On April 21, she’ll compete in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for the fourth time and the first for KV Racing Technology in the No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva car.

“It was a pretty exciting day,” de Silvestro said of the sunny April day. “It was my first-ever win in Atlantics and also the first time I ever drove the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car. We got the win together and we’re still together today.”

She’ll start 19th in the 80-lap race on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn course.

“Hopefully, we can get a strong result. Winning at Long Beach is special because there is so much history here.”

Also on this date five years ago, Danica Patrick became the first female to win a major closed-course open-wheel race. It was at Twin Ring Motegi with then-Andretti Autosport. She was transported overnight to Long Beach to kick off a media tour.

De Ferran joins Honda Performance Development

Gil de Ferran, the 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time CART champion, will join Honda Performance Development, the racing arm of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. as a technical consultant and advisor.

In addition to his success as a driver and American Le Mans Series team owner, de Ferran also served as Sporting Director for the Honda Formula One team from 2005-07.

He said it

“I think it’s pretty cool because it gives an excitement for the fans. It’s not just that car going out there and everybody falling into place wherever they qualify. You’ve got to go out there and the biggest thing really is the fact that it seems like if you’re fast in the first group it’s not that you’re going to go into the top 12 and make it easy. It just makes every time you go out that to get that one critical lap, so I have fun with it.”
- AJ Allmendinger, who participated in his second knockout qualifying

Ed Carpenter carries Boston Strong messageOf note

The No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car of Ed Carpenter Racing will carry a "Boston Strong" decal during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The blue and yellow ribbon decal salutes the victims of the April 13 bombing in Boston. ... On the 1.968-mile, 11-turn Long Beach street course, IZOD IndyCar Series drivers brake nine times (19.7 percent of the lap), according to official brake supplier Brembo. … Rutledge Wood won the celebrity division and Adam Carolla won the pro division of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. “It’s nice to be called a ‘pro’ for at least a little while,” Carolla said. ... Five different teams were represented in the Firestone Fast Six and eight different teams were in Round 2 (12 cars).  ... Rookie Tristan Vautier didn't advance to the Fast Six for the first time in the three races.