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The NTT IndyCar Series’ Long Beach Grand Prix was held over the weekend and former USC star and current Fox Sports analyst Matt Leinart was on hand.
He didn’t just check one of IndyCar’s marquee events, he did some hot laps in both the pace and a two-seater IndyCar.
The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner jumped in the Acura pace car with IndyCar regular David Malukas for a couple of laps around the circuit.
Malukas — in his second full-time season behind the wheel of the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda — didn’t hold back. He wheeled the Acura NSX Type S pace car out of the pits and gunned it upon hitting the start/finish line. Despite being his first time in the car, Malukas had it up to 115 mph by the first breaking zone.
And Leinart was a little horrified.
“I’m sweatin’ dude; I’m sweatin’,” Leinart said as Malukas took them on to the backstretch. Of course, this amounted to a sighter lap. After guiding the pace car out of the tightest corner on the IndyCar calendar, Malukas took advantage of the long front straight to hit a top speed of around 130 mph.
Again, Leinart was horrified — as any of us would probably be — but still managed to refrain from dropping a fleeting expletive.
That’s a TV professional, kids.
Leinart Hopped In The Fastest Seat In Sports
IndyCar has some two-seater cars that they use to give fans, celebrities, and handsome dudes who put words on the internet for a living (just throwing this out there in case my editors want me to go for a ride in one of these on assignment) a taste of the IndyCar experience.
Leinart got to hop in the backseat with Davey Hamilton Jr. — Stadium Super Trucks driver and son of former IndyCar driver Davey Hamilton — at the wheel.
As Leinart soon found out, the two-seater was a bit faster than the pace car…
Leinart noted that it wasn’t as scary as the pace car laps with Malukas. That makes sense. Having a five-point harness and a brain bucket will feel a lot safer.
As for the race, Andretti Autosport had a heck of an afternoon. Kyle Kirkwood won the first race of his career in just his second full-time season. Under a second behind him in P2 was his teammate, ex-F1 driver Romain Grosjean. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericcson came in P3 to maintain his championship lead.
The 2022 Indianapolis 500 has a 15-point lead over McLaren’s Pato O’Ward in the standings.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle