Herta Leads First Practice Session at Long Beach

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(Photo Credit: Chris Jones / Courtesy of IndyCar)

Colton Herta continued his momentum from his Laguna Seca victory over to the Streets of Long Beach, going fastest in the first practice session ahead of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Championship leader Alex Palou led all of the title contenders, as he finished third.

Drivers found themselves testing the limits of the track throughout the session, but after a couple of taps with the wall, Oliver Askew brought out the first red flag of the day with 20 minutes remaining as he broke the rear tow link.

Another red flag came out just inside 10 minute remaining as Scott Dixon who went wide in turn one, locking up his left front. Dalton Kellett had a moment on the other end of the track with turn nine as a bump on the outside of the corner upset his car.

Cars got out with five minutes remaining to complete the final laps of their practice runs.

Simon Pagenaud too had an off moment in turn nine, but by the end of the session found himself as the top Team Penske car going second fastest. Palou looked comfortable finishing in third on his Long Beach debut, and Arrow McLaren SP showed pace with a car in fourth place, but it was that of Felix Rosenqvist.

Patricio O’Ward, who is competing for the championship, struggled with a sixteenth place finish and said post-session that his struggles today were reminiscent of those last weekend at Laguna Seca.

Though it was announced earlier today that Romain Grosjean will take the seat currently occupied by Ryan Hunter-Reay next season, “Captain America” let everyone know he wasn’t finished yet with a fifth place practice finish to start the weekend off right. Grosjean, still with Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing, finished eleventh after spending time in the top five during the session.

Helio Castroneves finished the session sixth for Meyer Shank Racing, with Rookie of the Year contender Scott McLaughlin finishing seventh in his first session at the track.

James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi finished eighth and ninth respectively, ensuring that all four Andretti cars were represented inside the top ten. Within the last ten minutes of the session, Andretti cars sat in the top four positions before others set their fast laps.

Josef Newgarden, the underdog title contender this year, was another victim of the bump in turn nine. About halfway through the session, the two-time series champion found himself backwards as he locked up entering the corner. After a long drift, he was able to keep it out of the barriers and carry on to finish tenth fastest in practice.

Charlie Kimball makes his return to the series this weekend with A.J. Foyt Enterprises, finishing the session twenty-fourth.

Second practice for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will take place on 25 September at 1200 EST / 0900 PST / 1700 BST.

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Practice 1 Results

126Colton HertaUSAAndretti Autosport01:09.268 sec.
222Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske01:09.433 sec.
310Alex PalouESPChip Ganassi Racing01:09.455 sec.
47Felix RosenqvistSWEArrow McLaren SP01:09.487 sec.
528Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport01:09.515 sec.
606Helio CastronevesBRAMeyer Shank Racing01:09.570 sec.
73Scott McLaughlin (R)NZLTeam Penske01:09.621 sec.
829James HinchcliffeCANAndretti Steinbrenner Autosport01:09.627 sec.
927Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Autosport01:09.794 sec.
102Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske01:09.855 sec.
1151Romain Grosjean (R)FRADale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing01:09.880 sec.
1212Will PowerAUSTeam Penske01:09.991 sec.
139Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing01:10.053 sec.
1418Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan01:10.114 sec.
1560Jack HarveyGBRMeyer Shank Racing01:10.175 sec.
165Pato O’WardMEXArrow McLaren SP01:10.245 sec.
178Marcus EricssonSWEChip Ganassi Racing01:10.315 sec.
1814Sebastien BourdaisFRAA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:10.378 sec.
1915Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:10.511 sec.
2021Rinus VeeKayNEDEd Carpenter Racing01:10.737 sec.
2130Takuma SatoJPNRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:10.767 sec.
2259Max ChiltonGBRCarlin01:10.784 sec.
2320Conor DalyUSAEd Carpenter Racing01:10.903 sec.
2411Charlie KimballUSAA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:11.061 sec.
2577Callum Ilott (R)GBRJuncos Hollinger Racing01:11.118 sec.
2645Oliver AskewUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:11.225 sec.
2748Jimmie Johnson (R)USAChip Ganassi Racing01:11.437 sec.
284Dalton KellettCANA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:11.796 sec.
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