LONG BEACH, California – Alexander Rossi wasn’t to be denied in his quest to claim the Verizon P1 Award in today’s qualifying for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The Andretti Autosport driver was fastest in each round of knockout qualifications on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street course, climaxed by his pole-winning lap in the Firestone Fast Six. Rossi whipped around the circuit in 1 minute., 6.5528 seconds (106.454 mph) to earn the second pole position of his young Verizon IndyCar Series career.
TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH: Unofficial qualifying results
Rossi, in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda, wound up more than three-tenths of a second quicker than the second-best qualifier – two-time Long Beach race winner Will Power. Piloting the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Power’s best lap in the Firestone Fast Six was 1:06.9054 (105.893 mph).
Team Penske filled half of the Firestone Fast Six spots, with Simon Pagenaud qualifying third (1:06.9107, 105.884 mph) in the No. 22 DXC Technology Chevrolet and 2018 points leader Josef Newgarden sixth (1:07.1922, 105.441 mph) in the No. 1 Verizon Chevrolet.
Newgarden’s effort in the Firestone Fast Six was abbreviated when he brushed the wall exiting Turn 8 and sustained damage to the left rear suspension of his car.
Scott Dixon qualified fourth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda (1:07.0483, 105.667 mph). The Chip Ganassi Racing driver won the Long Beach race in 2015 but has never sat on the pole in 12 tries at the track.
Graham Rahal qualified fifth in the No. 15 Total Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (1:07.1275, 105.542 mph).
Ryan Hunter-Reay, one of Rossi’s Andretti Autosport teammates who also ran up front throughout practice, was penalized for an improper pit exit in Round 2 of qualifying and failed to advance to the Firestone Fast Six by five-hundredths of a second.
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is hosting Indy cars for the 35th straight year. Sunday’s 85-lap race airs live on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network at 4 p.m. ET. It is the second of 17 races on the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.