Pato O’Ward leads opening practice at Long Beach

By: Spencer Neff
April 14, 2023

Practice 1 Results

After starting the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season with consecutive runner-up finishes, Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward is looking for his first win of the season in this weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The current points leader started off his weekeend on an ideal note. Friday afternoon, the No. 5 posted a best lap of 1m06.6999 (106.219 mph) on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit in California. In three previous Long Beach starts, O’Ward has a best start of ninth in 2019 with Carlin Racing, his first of three starts at this venue. Last year, he finished fifth, a career-best of his three starts there.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon celebrated his induction to the Motorsports Hall of Fame by ending practice as the fastest Honda driver. The 2015 Long Beach winner ended the 75-minute session .265 of a second back from O”Ward. Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanaian’s Colton Herta along with Dixon’s teammates Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou sandwiched Herta’s teammate Roman Grosjean to complete the Top Six.

O”Ward’s teammate Alexander Rossi, pole and race winner in 2018 and 2019, bookended the Top 7 for Arrow McLaren.

Of the four drivers making their Long Beach debut, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Armstrong was fastest in 19th. Despite brushing the wall in Turn 5 and sustaining side pod damage, 2022 Long Beach winner Josef Newgarden posted the 14th-best time.

Newgarden will look to make it two races in a row after winning at Texas Motor Speedway on April 2. If he is victorious in Sunday’s 85-lap race, he will be the seventh driver to score consecutive Long Beach wins.

The first red flag of the afternoon would be displayed with less than 29 minutes remaining when the Meyer Shank Racing No. 06 of 2001 Long Beach winner Helio Castroneves stalled in Turn 11. During the red flag period, the No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing entry of Agustin Canapino went off course in Turn 8 and needed a push to return to the track.

Fortunately, the red flag was lifted after less than five minutes of stoppage and the remainder of the session

Up Next

Here is the remaining on-track schedule for this weekend. All times listed are local track times (Pacific). Continue with IndyCar1909 and all our platforms for the latest on the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Saturday, April 15

8:45-9:45 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 2 (45-minute session), Peacock (live)

12:05 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock (live)

Sunday, April 16

9-9:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock (live)

Noon – Driver introductions

Noon – NBC on air

12:38 p.m. – Start engines command

12:45 p.m. – Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (85 laps/167.28 miles), NBC and Peacock (live)

Header Image By INDYCAR


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