With the 2012 rendition of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach set to begin at 12:30 PDT (live on NBC Sports Network), it's time to look at the favorites for today's race. Ryan Briscoe took pole position in yesterday's qualifying, with teammate Will Power right behind him. However, with a 10 spot grid penalty assessed to all Chevrolet engines, they'll have some ground to cover. Darlo Franchitti's Honda powered #10 car will start in the first grid position today.
Still, there are others that could be considered front runners. Helio Castroneves, also on Team Penske with Power and Briscoe, currently leads the Izod IndyCar Series point standings. He's had podium finishes in each of the first two races this year, ending more than a year long win drought taking first at St. Petersburg to kick off the season. Castroneves won Long Beach from pole position in 2001.
Just behind Castroneves in the point standings is Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Dixon finished 12th in yesterday's qualifying, but by virtue of his Honda engine will start in the fifth spot today. Trailing Castoneves by two points, he's finished second in each race this season. He has also led for the most laps in each race this year.
Rounding out the favorites is another Honda engine driver, Mike Conway. Conway won his first IndyCar race at Long Beach last year, passing Briscoe with 15 laps to go. Conway managed a top ten finish at Alabama, he would join a prestigious list of drivers that won back to back at Long Beach if he could pull it off.
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