NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship leader Pato O’Ward in the No.5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet led the way in the opening practice session ahead of Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in California. O’Ward ended the session just ahead of six-time series champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC BANK Chip Ganassi Racing Honda after setting a fastest time of 01:06.6999s.
Speaking to Paddock Eye following the session, Pato O’Ward said that while it was good to be P1 on Friday, the need to make sure that they have a good car for qualifying and the race and that they execute everything well because he says you can have the best car in the world but if you don’t execute well than that gets you nowhere.
Scott Dixon was just ahead of Colton Herta as the newly inducted hall of fame jumped into the top two in the closing stages of the session. Colton Herta put on a great showing for Andretti Autosport in the No.26 Gainbridge Honda.
Marcus Ericsson, who won the opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, was fourth in the No.8 Huski Chocolate Honda.just ahead of Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi and Romain Grosjean. Alex Palou was seventh for Chip Ganassi Racing. At the same time, Callum Ilott put on a great display for Juncos Hollinger Racing as he ended the session in eighth place, just ahead of Felix Rosenqvist, while Christian Lundgaard rounded out the top ten.
Kyle Kirkwood in the No.27 AutoNation Honda was 11th, just ahead of Jack Harvey. Scott McLaughlin was the leading Team Penske car in P13, while Josef Newgarden in the No.3 Hitachi Chevrolet was 14th, having suffered damage to the floor of his car while Will Power was P15.
Graham Rahal was 16th despite spinning and ended the session just ahead of David Malukas. Simon Pagenaud was P18 just ahead of Marcus Armstrong and Conor Daly, who started his 100th INDYCAR weekend by rounding out the top 20. Devlin DeFrancesco was 21st, just ahead of Rinus VeeKay and Agustin Canapino who brought out the only red flag of the session when he stalled his car.
Helio Castroneves was 24th just ahead of Sting Ray Ribb while AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci and Benjamin Pedersen rounded out the order.