Rahal Tops Warm-Up at Long Beach

Photo: Richard Dowdy

Ahead of the start of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in the afternoon, the teams of the Verizon IndyCar Series had one final chance to take to the 1.968-mile temporary street circuit to perfect their cars in Sunday morning’s warm-up session.

The majority of the field wasted no time in heading out of pit lane for the short session. After earning pole on Saturday, Helio Castroneves was the early pace setter with a 1:10.8084.

As the session continued, a handful of teams turned to practicing their pit stops, with Josef Newgarden taking to the top of the timesheet followed by Team Penske stablemates Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves.

Halfway through the 30-minute session, Takuma Sato led the field followed by Chip Ganassi Racing driver Tony Kanaan and fellow Brazilian Castroneves, with Marco Andretti and Newgarden completing the top five.

Around the halfway mark of the warm-up session, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe found himself in the runoff at Turn 8, marking one of only a few off-track excursions that occurred in the session.

With 10 minutes remaining, Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay reached the top of the timesheet in his Honda-powered entry before spinning the car at Turn 1 a lap later.

Marking another of the session’s incidents, the Dale Coyne Racing car driven by Luca Filippi suffered a brake fire in the pits similar to that of Charlie Kimball’s from earlier in the weekend. The crew of the No. 18 car was able to get the fire under control and the Italian driver was able to finish the session.

When the checkered flag flew to end the session, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal was on top with a best time of 1:07.3319.

Pole-sitter Helio Castroneves remained near the top of the timesheet, ending the short warm-up outing in second, followed by his teammate Montoya, Hinchcliffe and Scott Dixon respectively.

Five cars each from Chevy and Honda filled the top 10 at the close of the session.

Coverage of the third round of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season will begin at 4:00 p.m. EDT on NBCSN, with the green flag set to fly at 4:45 p.m. EDT.