IndyCar points leader Will Power leads 3rd Long Beach practice

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Team Penske’s Will Power was the fastest driver in the final practice session before qualifying later today on the streets of Long Beach, California.

Power, who won the Verizon IndyCar Series season opener two weeks ago at St. Petersburg and is your early championship leader, turned in a lap of 1:08.1696 at 103.929 miles per hour in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet.

That was just ahead of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden and his best lap of 1:08.1718 at 103.926 mph. Driving the No. 67 Honda, the American driver has been steady so far this weekend with showings of fifth and sixth in the previous two practice sessions.

Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe, fastest in the opening practice yesterday, was third this afternoon in his No. 27 United Fiber and Data Honda, posting a time of 1:08.4309 at 103.532 mph.

Sebastien Bourdais also appears to be finding his stride at Long Beach, where he won three consecutive times (2005-2007) in Champ Car. The KVSH Racing pilot was fourth-fastest in today’s practice (1:08.446 at 103.511 mph) with his No. 11 Mistic Electronic Cigarettes/Circle K Chevrolet.

Completing the Top 5 was another Andretti man in Ryan Hunter-Reay. He logged a 1:08.5296 at 103.383 mph in his No. 28 DHL Honda.

Justin Wilson, Simon Pagenaud (who topped yesterday’s second practice), Juan Pablo Montoya, rookie Jack Hawksworth and Mike Conway rounded out the Top 10 times, which were separated by less than half a second. Conway ran the most laps this session with 24 trips around the 1.9-mile course.

Today’s qualifying session will be shown this evening on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra at 6 p.m. ET.

TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH – PRACTICE 3 TIMES

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”