NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Power, Montoya Lead the Way in Opening Long Beach Practices

A few days after the announcement that Roger Penske will drive the pace car in May’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, the Captain’s drivers stole the show in Friday’s opening two practice sessions for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power combined to top the two Friday practice sessions for Sunday’s GP on the famed streets of Long Beach, California.

Power set the quick time for the day – a 1:07.599 scorcher – early on in the second practice to top the session. The result ended a consistent day for Power, a two-time victor at Long Beach (2007, 2012). The Briton ran no worse than second in either session.

James Hinchcliffe rattled off a 1:07.822 to take second on the final session and lead the way for Honda. The Canadian’s run was the highlight of a promising day for the manufacturer, which is looking for momentum after struggling out of the gate to begin 2016. Five Honda teams cracked the top 10 in the day’s opening session, with four more drivers joining the top half of the grid in the day’s final practice.

Graham Rahal, Simon Pagenaud and Juan Pablo Montoya rounded out the top five in the final session, with Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Jack Hawksworth and Carlos Muñoz completing the top 10.

Friday’s second session ran without a red flag, though the flag nearly fell as Mikhail Aleshin locked up his brakes and was forced to spin around in the runoff area in Turn 1.

Practice 2 Results

In an early 10 a.m. P.T. practice to begin the day, it was Montoya that paced the field. The 2000 Long Beach winner led the way with a 1:08.381, followed by teammate Power.

A.J. Foyt Racing’s Hawksworth and Sato topped the charts for much of the session, but were bumped to third and fifth, respectively, by flying laps from Montoya and Power late in the going. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Newgarden slotted in fourth to complete the top five.

Hinchliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay,, Castroneves, Muñoz and Dixon finished out the top 10.

The red flag flew twice on the 45-minute morning session, first for rookie Alexander Rossi, who placed his Andretti Autosport Honda into the tire barrier in Turn 8, and later for Charlie Kimball, who slid into the runoff area with brake fires on his front wheels.

Practice 1 Results

 The Verizon IndyCar Series will return to Long Beach at 10:00 a.m. PT (1:00 p.m. ET) on Saturday for final practice. The session can be viewed live on the series YouTube account.

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