LONG BEACH, California – The Verizon IndyCar Series field continues to chase Alexander Rossi, who led this morning’s final practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Rossi guided his No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda around the 1.968-mile temporary street course in 1 minute, 7.5366 seconds (104.903 mph) to pace the 24-car field. The pole sitter for this afternoon’s race, Rossi has been atop the leaderboard in every session this weekend except one – when he was third.
TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH: Warmup practice results; Driver tire selection
Scott Dixon, who will start fourth in today’s race in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, was second in the warmup with a lap of 1:07.6270 (104.763 mph). The 2015 Long Beach winner and 2016 runner-up hasn’t conceded anything to Rossi in the 85-lap race.
“I think ideally the car has got some good speed,” Dixon said. “I think we're in a good starting spot there with fourth, and hopefully we can make up three spots.”
Rossi is painfully aware that having a fast car at Long Beach doesn’t guarantee success. He was running third in the 2017 race when – just like the rest of his Andretti Autosport teammates that day – saw his race end prematurely with a mechanical failure.
“We saw last year that you can have a fast race car and be in the position, but it doesn't quite work out,” Rossi said. “The whole Andretti Autosport and NAPA team has done such a great job, and Honda has continued their development and their push in the offseason.
“Hopefully, we can get that redemption we're talking about.”
Rossi’s teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay is seeking redemption as well. He, too, was contending for the Long Beach win, running in second and chasing down James Hinchcliffe, when an electrical malfunction parked him six laps from the finish. Hunter-Reay is also still unsure why he was penalized for a pit lane exit infraction during Saturday’s qualifying that prevented him reaching the Firestone Fast Six.
Hunter-Reay will start seventh today in the No. 28 DHL Honda. He was third in today’s warmup with a lap of 1:07.8040 (104.489 mph). Team Penske’s trio of drivers trailed closely, with Josef Newgarden fourth, Simon Pagenaud fifth and Will Power sixth.
Defending Long Beach winner James Hinchcliffe was seventh in the warmup.
Live coverage of the race begins at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. The green flag is expected at approximately 4:42 p.m.