Colton Herta claimed the final bragging rights ahead of today’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach by posting the fastest lap in the morning warm-up.
Herta’s 1m07.1053s represented a 0.2s improvement on the benchmark set by Marco Andretti, although the latter wasn’t too fazed by seeing his time beaten.
“We confirmed that we’re as fast as we thought we were yesterday,” said Andretti, who will start from 11th on the grid. “It’s a double-edged sword, because you’re bummed because you should be starting from the front. But I think we can drive up there.”
It’s this speed, rather than a gamble on strategy, that he’ll be relying on this afternoon.
“I think our pace is good enough to pass cars,” he said. “You don’t want to go to a three-stopper. I think we have pace, so hopefully we get some clear track when we need it.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay was next in line, leaving RLL to take care of the top five with Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato finishing fourth and fifth fastest respectively.
“We should have a good shot [in the race], Rahal said. “I don’t know how our pace looked over the entire run. We were able to get fuel mileage pretty easy while still doing a pretty good pace. We’re going to take some chances today. Hopefully have a good clean start, and just take it from there.”
A long line of Hondas was finally interrupted by early session leader Spencer Pigot, whose Chevy-powered ECR car claimed the final spot in the top 10. The Penskes, which spent several laps running in a three-car block, wound up 13th (Will Power), 15th (Simon Pagenaud) and 20th (Josef Newgarden) on the timing sheets.
Tony Kanaan, nursing a sore knee and back from yesterday’s qualifying crash, had another heart-in-mouth moment courtesy of Felix Rosenqvist, whose slow-moving Ganassi provided a surprise obstacle for the Foyt car as it was rounding a corner. Fortunately Kanaan was able to squeak through unscathed, and went on to end the session just behind Rosenqvist at 17th fastest.