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

Report: Spencer Pigot out at Ed Carpenter Racing

Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
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Spencer Pigot will not return to Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020, according to a story Thursday by RACER.com.

The 26-year-old Floridian, who won the 2015 Indy Lights championship, is expected to be replaced in the No. 21 Chevrolet by 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity ECR gave me,” Pigot told RACER.com. “I understand the reasons they had to go in a different direction, and wish them all the best.”

In 56 NTT IndyCar Series starts, Pigot has 15 top 10 finishes, with a best finish of second at Iowa in 2018. He finished 14th in the 2019 point standings.

VeeKay, who tested in an Indy car twice for ECR in 2019, has six wins in 18 Indy Lights starts, including a weekend sweep of the final two rounds of the season at Laguna Seca in September.

A representative from ECR told NBC Sports Thursday that the team currently could not comment on any driver rumors as the team currently does not have any drivers under contract for the 2020 season, although it is presumed that owner/driver Carpenter will return to the No. 20 entry for the oval rounds.

NBC Sports will provide updates on the story once more information becomes available.