Recap: Rossi Holds off Penske Assault in Final Practice from Long Beach

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In the final practice before qualifying later today, the IndyCar grid took to the streets of Long Beach. After slower lap times yesterday, there is a chance after this morning’s session that Hèlio Castroneves’ track record of 1:06.225 could fall later this afternoon in qualifying as Alexander Rossi posted a fast lap of 1:06.610. The Penske duo of series champion Josef Newgarden and Will Power finished just behind Rossi with times of 1:06.652 and 1:06.828 respectively. Rossi’s teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay posted a 1:06.877. Rounding out the top 5 was Simon Pagenaud in his #22 Penske with a time of 1:07.029. The Chevrolet powered Penskes have stormed back after lackluster results yesterday, by their standards anyway, and could be in contention for pole. Andretti Autosport with aces Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay will look to keep them at bay later this afternoon. All times were set on the black side-walled primary Firestone tires. 

The rookie class saw similar results to yesterday. This time however Jordan King led all rookies in 13th with a time 1:07.513. Wickens held down the 14th spot in the order once again with a time of 1:07.647. American Zach Veach posted a time of 1:07.863. Jack Harvey wrapped up final practice with a 1:07.978. Kyle Kaiser posted his best result of the weekend finishing the session in 19th with a time of 1:08.013. Matheus Leist posted a 1:08.238, good enough for 23rd. Zachary Claman De Melo posted only 11 laps in the session due to an electrical issue and finished in 24th with a time of 1:08.926. 

Zachary Claman De Melo brought out the red flag early in the session when his #19 machine came to a stop at Turn 5 with an electrical issue. His car needed to be hauled back on the hook before the session resumed. He would rejoin the session after a brief stay in pitlane. Spencer Pigot locked up and speared the tire barrier at Turn 7 to bring out the red and consequently the checkered flag at the end of the session. 

The IndyCar drivers will be back on track at 3:30 PDT, 6:30 EDT for qualifying. Will it be Andretti, Penske, or a dark horse on pole? Stay tuned to Open-Wheels.com for continuing coverage all weekend. 

Photo credit INDYCAR media 

Justin Reschke

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