Romain Grosjean Fastest in Lightning-Fast Long Beach Second Practice

3 Mins read
(Photo Credit: Chris Owens / Penske Entertainment / Courtesy of IndyCar)

Andretti Autosport dominated practice once again at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, putting four Andretti-affiliated cars in the top five. But it was Romain Grosjean who went fastest, with a 1:05.652 lap time well below the qualifying track record.

The session was much cooler than practice one, and it lent itself to ultra-fast laps, with the entire top five below the one minute, five second mark.

Much like in practice one, Andretti cars found themselves at the top of the session early as times began to fall. After ten minutes, defending Long Beach winner Colton Herta led the field, the first driver to dip into the one minute and six second mark. With thirty minutes remaining, Herta spun at the exit of turn six, gently backing into the wall. He sustained minor rear wing damage.

This didn’t set the young American back much at all, as he continued to find more and more time as the session went on. With thirteen minutes remaining, Grosjean managed to go two tenths faster than his teammate Herta to take the top spot with a 1:06.00 briefly before Simon Pagenaud became the first driver to dip into the one minute five second range.

The first red flag of the session came out for Jimmie Johnson, carrying too much speed through turn six and locking up, going nose-first into the barriers. Following an accident in practice one where he didn’t take his hands off the wheel, Johnson sustained a fracture on his right hand. As Johnson shared in a video on Twitter before practice, he is wearing a carbon-fiber splint and was cleared by IndyCar medical staff to compete in the session. Thankfully, Johnson said on the radio that he was okay following the crash, and managed to get his hands off the wheel quickly.

The session was quickly red flagged once again for rookie David Malukas, as he came into the fountain section a little hot and ended up in the tyre barriers. Jack Harvey also locked up and nearly went into the barriers, but came away relatively unscathed.

With just under ten minutes to go, the session went green again, as teams began running on the new compound of Firestone alternate tyres. Before anyone could get runs in, the track became a traffic jam of cars trying to find a gap. Like his teammate Harvey, Graham Rahal found himself in the tyres in the fountain section to bring out yet another red flag.

This time things stayed green, and inside the final two minutes the timing sheets lit up, as the lead was traded multiple times before the end of the session.

Behind Grosjean was his teammate Herta in second, who continues to show incredible pace around Long Beach dating back to last season’s finale, and Will Power in third, the highest-placed Team Penske car.

Alexander Rossi backed up his strong first practice with a fourth place finish, once again finding himself in the top five, with yesterday’s fastest driver Pagenaud rounding out the top five.

Marcus Ericsson continues to impress this weekend with the sixth fastest lap, spending time at the top of the timing charts early in the session. He was followed by his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Alex Palou, who finished seventh.

Scott McLaughlin finished the session in eighth place, but found himself in the top three at times during the session which should be a good indicator of his pace for qualifying. Despite a contactless spin in turn four in the middle of the session, Scott Dixon finished ninth in the No. 9 car.

Rounding out the top ten was rookie Kyle Kirkwood, once again leading the rookie pack and showing the talent that has many across the paddock excited.

Felix Rosenqvist of Arrow McLaren SP was second fastest for a large portion of the session, but at the end wasn’t able to get a clean lap together and finished fourteenth. Despite that finish, the Swede showed fantastic pace that could translate well to qualifying. His teammate Pato O’Ward, on the other hand, continued to struggle with a twenty-first place finish.

Once again, Kirkwood and Callum Ilott were the only rookies to find themselves in the top fifteen, with Ilott fifteenth, as the legendary streets of Long Beach continue to stump the rookie field. Malukas finished sixteenth after his early crash, followed by Christian Lundgaard in seventeenth, Devlin DeFrancesco in twenty-fourth, and Tatiana Calderon in twenty-fifth.

Qualifying for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will take place in just a few hours, getting under way at 1200 PT / 1500 ET / 1900 GMT.

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach – Practice 2 Results

128Romain GrosjeanFRAAndretti Autosport01:05.6520
226Colton HertaUSAAndretti Autosport01:05.6971
312Will PowerAUSTeam Penske01:05.9383
427Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Autosport01:05.9424
560Simon PagenaudFRAMeyer Shank Racing01:05.9989
68Marcus EricssonSWEChip Ganassi Racing01:06.0444
710Alex PalouESPChip Ganassi Racing01:06.0594
83Scott McLaughlinNZLTeam Penske01:06.1744
99Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing01:06.2161
1014Kyle Kirkwood (R)USAA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:06.2486
1106Helio CastronevesBRAMeyer Shank Racing01:06.2548
1221Rinus VeeKayNEDEd Carpenter Racing01:06.2797
132Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske01:06.4853
147Felix RosenqvistSWEArrow McLaren SP01:06.4958
1577Callum Ilott (R)GBRJuncos Hollinger Racing01:06.5033
1618David Malukas (R)USADale Coyne Racing w/ HMD Motorsports01:06.5471
1730Christian Lundgaard (R)DENRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:06.7207
1815Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:06.7609
1920Conor DalyUSAEd Carpenter Racing01:06.8409
2045Jack HarveyGBRRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:06.8473
215Pato O’WardMEXArrow McLaren SP01:06.9508
2251Takuma SatoJPNDale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing01:07.1938
234Dalton KellettCANA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:07.2729
2429Devlin DeFrancesco (R)CANAndretti Steinbrenner Autosport01:07.4344
2511Tatiana Calderon (R)COLA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:07.9507
2648Jimmie JohnsonUSAChip Ganassi Racing01:08.3899
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Lifelong sports junkie, currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Hofstra University. Lead writer for Indycar at The Checkered Flag.
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