Alexander Rossi put his NAPA Auto Parts Honda in an qualifying procession which set the grid for this year & rsquo; s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach atop the NTT IndyCar Series field.
Scott Dixon laid down a 1:06.7479 lap, vaulting his PNC Bank Honda to the top of the Firestone Fast Six, which featured all three Team Penske entries plus Honda drivers Rossi, Dixon and Graham Rahal.
Dixon, the only Chip Ganassi Racing representative at the final qualifying round after a crash for Felix Rosenqvist at Round 2, was tracking more than two-tenths of a second faster on another flying lap but abandoned the attempt at Turn 10 with half a minute remaining on the clock.
Seconds before Dixon exited the racetrack and entered pit lane, Rossi exited the hairpin turn to begin a perfect flying lap that ultimately relegated Dixon to a disappointing second.
Rossi was through the hairpin again in 1:06.4811, securing back-to-back Long Beach poles and the first for Andretti Autosport since last year’s Sonoma Raceway finale.
Set to begin first for his very first time since the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio in July 2018, Rossi will have Dixon beside him as the field hurtles toward Turn 1 to begin the 85-lap fourth round of the year after the Ganassi leader equaled his best previous Long Beach start.
Will Power and Josef Newgarden will utilize an all-Penske second row as a potential springboard to success at the Southern California road circuit having come within 0.3937 and 0.4285 seconds of Rossi’s pole time in the Quick Six.
After coming together in the first turn at Long Beach Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud qualified fifth and sixth and will take the green flag with each Sunday.
Sebastien Bourdais and ryan Hunter-Reay were absences from the final round of qualifying and will start 14th and seventh, respectively. Hunter-Reay came one place short of punching a ticket while coming up short in Round 1 limited Bourdais.
A warm-up outing at 9 a.m. PDT Sunday will begin the fourth IndyCar race day of 2019. NBCSN’s live race telecast will open at 4 p.m. EDT, 42 minutes prior to the scheduled green flag period.