Recap: Rossi Tops Practice 2 in Long Beach

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Practice 2 from the Grand Prix of Long Beach saw lap times slip a little overall in the warmer afternoon temperatures. Alexander Rossi from Andretti Autosport with his Honda-powered No. 27  topped the time sheets with a lap time of 1:08.556s.

In second place for the second session a row, Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay finished the session with a time of 1:08.708s. Defending series champion Josef Newgarden gave Chevrolet their highest result of the day in third place as his Team Penske machine crossed the line with a time of 1:08.930s.

Takuma Sato, despite causing a session-ending red flag when the rear of his No. 30 machine made contact with the wall at Turn 1, finished the session in fourth place with a time of 1:09.054s. In fifth was Scott Dixon, who ended the morning practice session on top, with a time of 1:09.104s.

The Hondas appear to be slightly quicker through two sessions so far, but there is still time for the Chevrolet-powered teams to make changes before tomorrow’s qualifying session. All top five finishers set their times on the red-sidewalled Firestone soft tires. 

The rookies continued to find the streets of Long Beach challenging as Zach Veach again placed himself in 13th with a time of 1:09.690s. Behind him, just like practice 1, was Robert Wickens with a time of 1:09.724s. Jack Harvey finished the session in 16th with a time of 1:09.843 and appeared to encounter some mechanical gremlins.

Jordan King placed 18th with a time of 1:09:906, and hasn’t taken to the streets of Long Beach as well as he did the streets of St. Petersburg. Kyle Kaiser, before stalling at Turn 8, set a time of 1:10.320s while Matheus Leist finished in 22nd with a time of 1:10.507.  Zachary Claman De Melo rounded out the rookie times in 23rd with a 1:10.544s. 

The second practice session of the day ran relatively incident free, however a few local yellows caused drivers to abort flying laps at various times throughout.  Simon Pagenaud’s No. 22 Penske flew into the run off at Turn 8 and Scott Dixon stalled briefly at one point in the practice before continuing on without issue.

Rookie Zachary Claman De Melo ran wide into the run off at Turn 7 at around the halfway mark of the session. His stalled No. 19 machine was re-fired and he continued on. Additionally, Jack Harvey did take the escape road at Turn 10 into pit lane with an issue, however his No. 60 machine was still running.

With just over 6 minutes to go in the session, rookie Kyle Kaiser stalled his car after running into the run off at Turn 8. He was eventually re-fired and rejoined for the end of Practice 2. In the closing seconds, Practice 2 was red flagged as Takuma Sato oversteered into Turn 1 and hit the tire barrier with the rear of his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing No. 30.

The hit was significant so it will be interesting to see if Sato will face a gearbox change. 

Last year’s winner James Hinchcliffe finished the session in 7th with a time of 1:09.268s in his Honda-powered machine for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. The always speedy Will Power was the top Penske machine placed outside of the top five, finishing in 6th with a time of 1:09.195s.

His teammate, Simon Pagenaud finished the session in 10th with a time of 1:09.368. Graham Rahal in the spectacularly liveried No. 15 RLL machine set the 8th best time of the afternoon with a 1:09.272. The winner of the last street race for the series, Sebastien Bourdais, finished 9th with a time of 1:09.355. 

IndyCar returns to the track tomorrow with Practice 3 at 10:45AM PDT, 1:45PM EDT. Qualifying follows the IMSA race tomorrow afternoon at 3:30PM Pacific, 6:30 Eastern. Stay tuned to Open-Wheels.com for continuing coverage.

Photo credit INDYCAR Media

Justin Reschke

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