LONG BEACH, California – Taco fans had their hopes raised in Sunday morning’s warmup practice for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach when Colton Herta set the fast lap of the 30-minute session.
Herta, who became the youngest winner in Indy car history three weeks ago at Circuit of The Americas, turned a lap of 1 minute, 7.1053 seconds (105.577 mph) to lead the 23-car field in the final on-track session before Sunday afternoon’s race on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street course synonymous with INDYCAR racing.
ACURA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH: Warmup results I Combined practice results
Herta’s No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda sports sponsorship this weekend from King Taco, the West Coast fast-food franchise that is offering a free taco through April 30 for any ticket holder should Herta win the race. The 19-year-old will need to come from the 10th starting position to do so Sunday afternoon.
Marco Andretti ran second in the warmup with a lap of 1:07.3466 (105.199 mph) in the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda for Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco and Curb-Agajanian. With Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi starting on pole and teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay starting seventh, the third-generation Indy car driver believes he can make some noise in the race.
“We confirmed that we were as fast as we were (Saturday),” said Andretti, who qualified 11th. “It’s a double-edged sword, right? You’re bummed because we should be starting closer to the front, but at the same time, I think we can drive there.
“The guys are doing a great job with the pit stops, Bryan (Herta, race strategist) will do his thing and I’ll try to do my thing and stay out of trouble. That’s what this race takes a lot of times, too. Really, happy, really comfortable with the U.S. Concrete car right now. I think our pace is good enough to pass cars, that’s the plan.”
The entire Andretti Autosport squad showed strong in the warmup. Hunter-Reay was third in the No. 28 DHL Honda (1:07.4017, 105.113 mph), pole sitter Rossi seventh in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda (1:07.9051, 104.334 mph) and Zach Veach eighth in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda (1:08.3183, 103.703 mph).
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammates Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato finished fourth and fifth, respectively, on timesheet. Rahal was clocked at 1:07.5769 (104.841 mph) in the No. 15 TOTAL Honda, with Sato, fresh off a win last week at Barber Motorsports Park, next at 1:07.7021 (104.647 mph) in the No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda.
Live coverage of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach begins at 4 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.