Cars hit the streets of Long Beach at 10:00 AM local time for the first on-track session of what promises to be another beautiful Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The 44th installment of the famed race marks just the second weekend for the new aerokits on a street course.
Leading the way in the first practice session was Scott Dixon for Chip Ganassi Racing, taking his Honda powered machine to the top of the time sheets with a time of 1:08.411s. Ryan Hunter-Reay finished P2 with a time of 1:08.428s in his Honda powered Andretti Autosport machine. P3 belonged to Hunter-Reay’s teammate Alexander Rossi with a time of 1:08.608s.
Rounding out the top 5 were Simon Pagenaud, with the only Chevrolet powered car in the top 5, with a time of 1:08.779s and last year’s Grand Prix of Long Beach winner James Hinchcliffe with a time of 1:08.913s.
So far this season has been an exciting one in the ranks of the IndyCar rookie class. Leading the way for rookies was Zach Veach in 13th, driving for Andretti Autosport with a time of 1:09.276s. Robert Wickens was 14th, coming off of a challenge for the win in St. Petersburg and a second place finish in Phoenix. The Canadian ended the session with a time of 1:09.280s. Jordan King posted a time of 1:09.359 for 15th in his Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet while Zachary Claman de Melo was 19th with a time of 1:09.748, Matheus Leist 23rd with a time of 1:10.197, and Kyle Kaiser in 24th with a time of 1:10.748.
The session was not incident free as Gabby Chaves spun his Harding Racing machine at the hairpin. The spin caused his car to stall, red flagging the session briefly while the AMR safety team re-fired Chaves. The red flag came just as drivers were beginning to push and set representative lap times.
Chaves would go on to set a time of 1:09.8182s. Additionally, Alexander Rossi missed the braking point at Turn 9 and flew into the run off before reversing out. Rookie Kyle Kaiser took the run off into Turn 1 and stalled before being pushed behind the wall. Charlie Kimball sat out the middle part of the session when his Chevrolet powered Carlin machine came coasting through Turns 9 and 10 before taking the escape road to pit lane with what appeared to be a mechanical issue.
Kimball rejoined toward the end of the session before nosing his car into the barrier at Turn 8, bringing out a local yellow.
Other notables included defending series champion Josef Newgarden for Team Penske with a time of 1:08.960s, good enough for 8th. His teammate Will Power finished the session in 7th with a time of 1:08.948s. Former Long Beach and 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato finished the session in 6th with a time of 1:08.929s. Marco Andretti was 20th quick.
IndyCar Practice 2 from Long Beach gets underway at 5:00 PM EDT, 2:00 PM PDT this afternoon. Stay tuned to Open-Wheels.com for more updates.