Alexander Rossi

Alexander Rossi knows a thing or two about speeding around the 1.968-mile Long Beach street circuit. The two-time Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race winner said the 11-turn track has a couple suitable corners where drivers can make a noticeable difference.

“The slower-speed corners are the more places to make up time,” said Rossi, driver of the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. “A lot of people think it's high-speed corners, but the higher the rate of speed, the slower the time delta is. The lower the time delta is, the better.”

SEE: Long Beach Track Map

Rossi singled out two notable corners that are among two of the slowest turns on the 15 tracks that make up the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES points-paying schedule.

One is the fountain area between Turns 2 and 3. Rossi said it’s an aesthetically pleasing corner but isn’t forgiving for the Firestone Firehawk tires to grip the track surface.

Turns 2 and 3 are both slow-speed turns. Whichever of the 27 drivers in the field can find grip and sustain corner speed in this section can make up ground on the competition.

The other spot to gain the most ground over the course of a Long Beach lap is the final corner, an infamous, tight, right-handed hairpin leading to the long, curved blast down Shoreline Drive.

“It’s a hugely important exit,” Rossi said.

The Long Beach front stretch is among the longest on the schedule, so carrying the most speed off the hairpin exit can make or break that section.

Rossi said there isn’t much a driver can do to hustle the car through Turn 11.

“All drivers do the same thing in Turn 11,” he said. “That one really comes down to car setup and engine.”

Where the advantage is back in the drivers’ hands is making sure they avoid wheelspin when mashing the gas pedal on corner exit in Turn 11 and staring down a high-speed Shoreline Drive front stretch.

A potentially troublesome area at Long Beach is Turn 5. Rossi said it’s the easiest corner to crash.

“It's an off-camber exit,” Rossi said. “It's really important to get to power early. You're over some bumps over the curve because the track falls away from you, and the grip is going away.”

INDYCAR SERIES officials said improvements have been made to the Turn 5 curbing this weekend. Work has been done to allow for longer bolts that are attached to the curbs to withstand the pounding from sports cars, which are also racing this weekend at Long Beach.

Another area that’s been updated is the painted curb (not raised, painted only) at Turn 8. That curbing has been moved back to the apex of the turn vs the previous location of being 10 feet from the wall.

Also, asphalt grinding has taken place in Turn 8 to smooth the surface.

“That'll be a big win for everyone,” said Rossi about Turn 8.

The final change is the covering of all forward-facing tire barriers with belting. This safety feature, also introduced at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding, reduces the chance of a car getting stuck in the barriers after a crash.

Sunday’s 85-lap race comes on the air at 3 p.m. ET on USA, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network, with audio available on SiriusXM Channel 218 and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.