MSR Hondas to start 10th and 14th on Sunday
Long Beach, Calif. (9 April 2022) – Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) got off to a fast start at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend in the build up to Sunday’s 85-lap event (NBC, 3:00pm ET). The early weekend pace unfortunately did not translate into qualifying with Simon Pagenaud qualifying 10th and Helio Castroneves 14th.
Pagenaud (No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda) posted the fastest lap of the day in Friday’s opening practice, and then set the fifth quickest time in Saturday’s pre-qualifying practice session. Both sides of the MSR tent showed promising pace, with Castroneves (No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda) 12th quick on Friday and then 11th fastest in Saturday’s practice.
The qualifying session also saw both MSR cars deliver strong pace on the tricky 1.968-mile street circuit. With both entries in the same qualifying group, Castroneves set the 7th fastest time to just miss out on the Fast 12 by less than one-tenth of a second.
Pagenaud was able to move into the second round of qualifying confident that he had a car for the pole position. But unfortunately traffic hindered Pagenaud’s fast lap which saw the 2016 Long Beach race winner settle for a 10th place starting position.
“I’m extremely disappointed today because we had a car to put on the pole,” said Pagenaud. “I felt so good all weekend but unfortunately in the beginning of Q2 I got interfered with McLoughlin and Ericsson, so I couldn’t even finish that lap. And we start the second lap at the hairpin, so my second lap was impaired also – I did the lap behind McLoughlin and I stayed in his gearbox, but it was not enough to transfer. It’s very disappointing when you know you have something for the pole. Now we are going to put that behind us and move forward and try and race through the field tomorrow.”
After starting third in last year’s Long Beach event, Castroneves will be looking to charge through the field on Sunday.
“The AutoNation / SiriusXM machine was actually very good,” said Castroneves. “I dropped the ball a tiny bit, I made a couple of mistakes on the second part of the circuit. I ended up pushing a little too hard and got into the marbles. I’m frustrated because not only do I love this place but I knew we had a fast car to be in front. It’s not where you start, but where you finish, so now we have to go for it tomorrow.”
The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will air on NBC on Sunday starting at 3:00pm ET.