Alexander Rossi

LONG BEACH, California – Alexander Rossi kept up his challenge to be a contender for victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach by leading this afternoon’s practice on the famous temporary street course in Southern California.

Rossi, driving the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda, set the pace in the second practice session of the day with a lap of 1 minute, 8.5567 seconds (103.342 mph). It was a tick faster than the Andretti Autosport driver ran in the morning and put the 26-year-old Californian third on the combined speed chart for the day behind Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH: Practice 2 results; Combined practice results

Kyle KaiserHunter-Reay, Rossi’s teammate in the No. 28 DHL Honda, was second this afternoon with a lap of 1:08.7083 (103.114 mph). Josef Newgarden, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and current points leader, was third this afternoon despite sitting out the final 10 minutes of the session as a penalty for being late to the mandatory driver weigh-in following the morning practice. Driving the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Newgarden posted a best lap of 1:08.9307 (102.781 mph).

The second practice took place in warmer, slicker conditions and was evident in several drivers nearly sliding into the concrete barriers around the 11-turn, 1.968-mile circuit that has hosted Indy cars annually since 1984.

Rossi and Sebastien Bourdais of Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan were two drivers who barely missed crashing during the session, but Takuma Sato wasn’t as lucky. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver contacted the Turn 1 wall in the No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda that brought out the red and checkered flags to end the session. Sato was uninjured.

The final 45-minute practice before qualifying starts at 1:45 p.m. ET Saturday and streams live on The battle for the Verizon P1 Award, featuring three rounds of progressive knockout qualifications, begins at 6:30 p.m. and airs live on NBCSN.

Live coverage of the 85-lap race commences at 4 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.