Rossi Untouchable In IndyCar Qualifications At Long Beach

Alexander Rossi scores the pole position in qualifying for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the Streets of Long Beach. [credit Dan Bathie / Spacesuit Media]

By Joe Jennings

Alexander Rossi was untouchable in Verizon IndyCar Series qualifications on the streets of Long Beach on Saturday afternoon. The congenial Californian waited until the end of Firestone Fast Six runs to make his mark at a blistering speed of 106.454 miles per hour to claim his second Verizon P1 award. And he did so .35 seconds faster than his closest challenger.

The pole winner drove the NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda.

“My Honda has been so strong since we rolled off,” Rossi stated. “And I think we will be a force to be reckoned with tomorrow.”

Asked if he is hoping to make redemption for last year’s dismal results, he added, “We saw last year that you can have a fast race car and be in the position, but it doesn’t quite work out. The whole Andretti Autosport and NAPA team has done such a great job, and Honda has continued their development and their push in the off-season, so it’s a huge result for us, and I think that we’ve been — we were close in St. Pete, had we not had the penalty on the qualifying. So to get it here was good, good start for tomorrow, but this sport has a way of humbling you pretty quick, so we have to execute against tomorrow.”

Starting alongside Rossi for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be Will Power in a Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

Said the Australian, “We definitely had good speed but not quite good enough in the Fast Six.”

Simon Pagenaud timed third fastest with Scott Dixon fourth.

Row three qualifiers were Graham Rahal and 2017 series champion Josef Newgarden.

As the qualifying session wore on, wall skimming became almost commonplace with Newgarden faring the worst.

24 drivers qualified for Sunday’s 85-lap race around the 11-turn temporary street course.

Sunday’s Grand Prix will be telecast live by NBCSN at 4 p.m. ET.

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach qualifying results
LONG BEACH, California – Qualifying Saturday for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 1.968-mile Streets of Long Beach circuit, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed in mph in parentheses:
1. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 1:06.5528 (106.454)
2. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 1:06.9054 (105.893)
3. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 1:06.9107 (105.884)
4. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 1:07.0483 (105.667)
5. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 1:07.1275 (105.542)
6. (1) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 1:07.1922 (105.441)
7. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 1:07.1415 (105.520)
8. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 1:07.1899 (105.444)
9. (18) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 1:07.1943 (105.438)
10. (6) Robert Wickens, Honda, 1:07.2289 (105.383)
11. (14) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 1:07.3478 (105.197)
12. (20) Jordan King, Chevrolet, 1:07.6427 (104.739)
13. (10) Ed Jones, Honda, 1:08.3844 (103.603)
14. (4) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 1:08.1622 (103.940)
15. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 1:08.7167 (103.102)
16. (26) Zach Veach, Honda, 1:08.1763 (103.919)
17. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 1:08.8207 (102.946)
18. (21) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 1:08.2739 (103.770)
19. (88) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 1:08.8623 (102.884)
20. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, 1:08.5294 (103.383)
21. (19) Zachary Claman De Melo, Honda, 1:09.1429 (102.466)
22. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 1:08.6340 (103.226)
23. (23) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 1:09.7481 (101.577)
24. (32) Kyle Kaiser, Chevrolet, No Time (No Speed)

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