Hunter-Reay leads first Long Beach practice

Image by Gavin Baker/LAT

Hunter-Reay leads first Long Beach practice

Ryan Hunter-Reay led a Honda-heavy opening practice session for this weekend’s NTT IndyCar Series race on the streets of Long Beach.

Hunter-Reay was already sitting at the top of the timing screens when he posted a 1m17.9335s in the final minutes, making him the sole member of the morning’s sub-1m18s club.

“We started here with a good baseline,” Hunter-Reay said. “It’s going to change every session — as more rubber goes down, everyone will continue to progress. But we’re in the window, and we can work from there.”

Hunter-Reay led a Honda 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 for the session, coming in just over a tenth quicker than Scott Dixon and Colton Herta. Graham Rahal survived the lightest of brushes with the wall to sit fourth fastest at the checker ahead of Alexander Rossi, who held on to fifth-fastest time despite watching the final 20 minutes of the session from pitwall after suffering a cut left-front tire.

Chevrolet had to keep looking down the list, past James Hinchcliffe and Felix Rosenqvist, before it found Simon Pagenaud in the first of the Bowtie-powered entries. Josef Newgarden and Will Power were immediately behind to form a Team Penske block at the tail end of the top 10. Despite the order being heavily skewed toward one manufacturer though, the margins were relatively tight: the top nine were covered by just 0.6s.

Elsewhere, the weekend started on an encouraging footing for A.J. Foyt Racing, which had both of its cars inside the top 10 until the final few minutes, and finished up with Matheus Leist and Tony Kanaan 11th- and 13th-fastest respectively.