James Hinchcliffe is trying to put a tough season-opening weekend at St. Petersburg behind him, and he’s started strong so far by leading this afternoon’s opening practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Hinchcliffe, who also led Practice 1 at St. Pete before crashing in qualifying and suffering mechanical issues en route to a 19th place finish in the race, logged a lap of 1:09.8110 at 101.485 miles per hour in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda.
Helio Castroneves, a past winner at Long Beach back in his CART days, was second-fastest in the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet at 1:09.9905 (101.225 mph). He and Hinchcliffe were the only two drivers to break the 1 minute, 10 second mark.
Justin Wilson was third (1:10.0080/101.200 mph), followed by another former Long Beach winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay, in fourth (1:10.0340/101.162 mph).
Josef Newgarden went P5 in the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda (1:10.0648/101.118 mph) but also damaged his car after going into the tire barriers at Turn 8 midway through the session.
He had been the fastest driver in practice prior to the incident.
St. Pete winner and current Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Will Power was sixth on the sheets (1:10.1677/100.970 mph). Bryan Herta Autosport’s Jack Hawksworth was the fastest rookie, with his time of 1:10.1970 (100.927 mph) good enough for seventh; he also ran the most laps in the session with 21 circuits to his credit.
Other notables include defending Long Beach champion Takuma Sato in 12th (1:10.2518/100.849 mph) and Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Oriol Servia, who began his first race weekend of 2014 by logging the 15th-fastest lap (1:10.5054/100.486 mph) in the session.
The IndyCars will have another practice session later on at 5 p.m. ET.