Long Beach IndyCar: Herta tops practice again, beats Penskes

Colton Herta turned the fastest lap of the weekend to top second practice, as all the drivers tried out the Firestone alternate compound for the first time.

Long Beach IndyCar: Herta tops practice again, beats Penskes

Andretti Autosport-Honda’s James Hinchcliffe turned the first 69.0 lap of the 45min session, less than 10mins in, with an average of 102.587mph around the 1.968-mile course at which he won in 2017.

At that point in proceedings, that was a quarter second clear of the chasing pack, led by Long Beach first-timer and championship leader Alex Palou, who had a near miss with the Turn 1 exit wall.

Then Pato O’Ward turned a 69.0486sec lap to go top, the #5 Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet apparently far more to his taste after being a depressed 16th in yesterday’s practice. Then Josef Newgarden moved his Team Penske-Chevrolet to the top of the times with 69.0343sec, while yesterday’s fastest driver Colton Herta brushed the wall with his left-front on the exit of the fountain turn.

With 25mins left to go, Alexander Rossi sat in fourth, behind Newgarden, O’Ward and Hinchcliffe, 0.2sec off the top, but ahead of Jack Harvey’s Meyer Shank Racing-Honda.

Herta then ducked into the 68s – a 1min08.9704sec – before outbraking himself into Turn 1 and having to take to the run-off zone. Simon Pagenaud, in what we believe will be his final IndyCar race weekend for Team Penske, moved up to fifth, while Romain Grosjean, after investigating runoffs on three occasions, moved his Dale Coyne Racing with RWR-Honda into sixth, swiftly followed by Ed Jones in the Coyne-Vasser Sullivan car clocking seventh.

Herta moved the bar still lower, with a 68.6859sec – the first 103mph lap of the weekend – with Will Power jumping into second place but three-tenths behind.

Alexander Rossi, who won the last two GPs of Long Beach, moved into second, less than a tenth off his young teammate.

On his first attempt on reds, Ryan Hunter-Reay clipped the inside wall at Turn 8, bouncing him out into the exit wall, so he had to saunter back to pits with his damaged car.

Then the Penske-Chevrolets sprang to prominence, with Power producing a 68.1277sec (103.993mph) on his alternate tires, with Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin completing a Penske 1-2-3… but only briefly, as Hinchcliffe moved into third.

And then Herta scorched around the track with a stunning 67.9783sec (104.221mph), 0.15sec ahead of Power.

Palou’s first attempt at a qualifying sim on the reds were stymied by traffic, while Pagenaud ensured all four Penskes were in the top six.

Then out came the red flag, as Scott Dixon skittered into the Turn 1 tire-wall and stalled.

Felix Rosenqvist ended up a hair quicker than AMSP teammate O’Ward who ended the session in the Turn 9 run-off, while Grosjean and Harvey completed the Top 10.

Qualifying will start at 12.05pm local (Pacific) time.

P

Name

FTime

Diff

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Colton Herta

1:07.9783

1:07.9783

19

21

104.221

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

2

Will Power

1:08.1277

0.1494

19

24

103.993

Chevy

A

Team Penske

3

James Hinchcliffe

1:08.2250

0.2467

20

21

103.845

Honda

A

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

4

Josef Newgarden

1:08.2922

0.3139

18

21

103.742

Chevy

A

Team Penske

5

Simon Pagenaud

1:08.4297

0.4514

22

23

103.534

Chevy

A

Team Penske

6

Scott McLaughlin

1:08.4771

0.4988

19

23

103.462

Chevy

A

Team Penske

7

Felix Rosenqvist

1:08.4887

0.5104

21

22

103.445

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

8

Pato O'Ward

1:08.5105

0.5322

19

21

103.412

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

9

Romain Grosjean

1:08.5438

0.5655

18

21

103.362

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing w/RWR

10

Jack Harvey

1:08.5499

0.5716

17

20

103.352

Honda

A

Meyer Shank Racing

11

Ed Jones

1:08.5905

0.6122

17

18

103.291

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan

12

Graham Rahal

1:08.6812

0.7029

22

24

103.155

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

13

Helio Castroneves

1:08.6873

0.7090

17

19

103.146

Honda

A

Meyer Shank Racing

14

Alexander Rossi

1:08.7806

0.8023

14

20

103.006

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

15

Takuma Sato

1:08.8163

0.8380

21

23

102.952

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

16

Alex Palou

1:08.8234

0.8451

23

24

102.942

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

17

Rinus VeeKay

1:09.1359

1.1576

16

19

102.476

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

18

Ryan Hunter-Reay

1:09.1630

1.1847

12

14

102.436

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

19

Charlie Kimball

1:09.2189

1.2406

15

19

102.354

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

20

Scott Dixon

1:09.2486

1.2703

21

23

102.310

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

21

Oliver Askew

1:09.3257

1.3474

18

21

102.196

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

22

Marcus Ericsson

1:09.3618

1.3835

9

23

102.143

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

23

Callum Ilott

1:09.4052

1.4269

18

21

102.079

Chevy

A

Juncos Hollinger Racing

24

Max Chilton

1:09.4357

1.4574

22

23

102.034

Chevy

A

Carlin

25

Sebastien Bourdais

1:09.5250

1.5467

13

19

101.903

Chevy

P

AJ Foyt Enterprises

26

Conor Daly

1:09.5382

1.5599

18

21

101.884

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

27

Dalton Kellett

1:09.8651

1.8868

19

22

101.407

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

28

Jimmie Johnson

1:10.2446

2.2663

16

22

100.859

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

 

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