Pato O'Ward - Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach - By: Joe Skibinski
O’Ward Leads Long Beach PracticeTo Keep Good Times Rolling LONG BEACH, Calif. (Friday, April 14, 2023) – It’s only fitting that in Southern California, PatoO’Ward continues to ride a wave. O’Ward led the opening practice Friday for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, turning a top lap of 1 minute, 6.6999 seconds in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street circuit.
Here is your list of awesome competitors: HERE
Starting right now, America is in the territory of the greatest spectacles in racing- in the entire world, and this is the perfect time to jump in and get your head around American racing with the NTT IndyCar series.
Sunday will be a street course, the Long Beach Grand Prix, which will dump into an incredible new reality series called 100 Days of Indy, which will culminate in the historic running of the Indianapolis 500 on an oval.
There will be a race on April 30 as well- don't forget:
So the next 6 weeks of racing are sure to ignite even the most hesitant race fan., with top competitors, thrilling races, great personalities, behind-the-scenes drama, and pro-American sports.
The time to get into racing- for some of the most exciting, thrilling sports you have ever seen - is NOW.
We covered the details of the Long Beach race a few days ago; check it out for where to watch and drivers' expectations:
Here are the details for Sunday's race so you have a front-row seat:
“It’s a tight field,” O’Ward said. “Long Beach is always such an intense qualifying. We just keptchipping at it today. We rolled off strong, but we’ve been definitely making adjustments to get it alittle more in the window, a bit more to this track’s characteristics and to what I like. So far, it’sgood.”The top time continued a roll for NTT INDYCAR SERIES points leader O’Ward, who opened the season with second-place finishes in March on the temporary street circuit at St. Petersburg and earlier this month on the high-banked oval at Texas. Less than half a second separated the top seven drivers in the 27-driver field under sunny Southern California skies.
But O’Ward still managed to build a gap of .2650 of a second over his closest pursuer, six-time series champion Scott Dixon, who ended up second at 1:06.9649 in the. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.“We’re going to look into it and see where we can make improvements, but I think we’re in good shape for tomorrow,” O’Ward said. “It’s all about executing, man. It’s going to be really, really tough.”Practice resumes at 11:45 a.m. ET Saturday, followed by NTT P1 Award qualifying at 3:05 p.m.(both sessions live on Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network). Live coverage of the 85-lap race starts at 3 p.m. Sunday on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network. Southern California native Colton Herta led two Andretti Autosport cars in the top five of the 75-minute practice, ending up third at 1:06.9808 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda. 2022 Indianapolis500, presented by Gainbridge winner Marcus Ericsson, who won the season-opening street race in St. Petersburg, was the second Chip Ganassi Racing car in the top four after ending up fourth at 1:06.9859 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
Romain Grosjean rounded out the top five at 1:07:1049 in the No. 28 DHL Honda, the second Andretti Autosport car in the top five. Reigning Long Beach winner Josef Newgarden ended up 14th at 1:07.4273 in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet after scraping the wall exiting Turn 5 about 35 minutes into the session. The floor of his car was damaged, as was his first set of tires. Newgarden returned to the pits for repairs and returned to the track but ended his session about 10 minutes early to save wear on his second set of Firestones.“This place is like a gnarly afternoon on the 405 (freeway) with hella traffic,” Newgarden said.“It’s Long Beach.
I about did that (hit wall) four or five times. Some of the settings we started with were probably aggressive, and I was trying to make the most of it.“But it’s good vibes here. I love this place, and the Hitachi car is quick.”
O'Ward is off to a great year so far:
LA Times was excited to report that the Long Beach Grand Prix will be showcased in the new reality show- "100 Days to Indy"
This is going to be fun. Race on friends!