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Dixon, Hunter-Reay, Rossi fastest in first IndyCar practice at Long Beach

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Scott Dixon was fastest in the first of two practice sessions Friday in preparation for Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Dixon, of Chip Ganassi Racing, covered the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street course along the Long Beach oceanfront in a time of 1:08.4112.

Second quickest was Ryan Hunter-Reay at 1:08.4285, followed by Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi (1:08.6077), Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud (1:08.7790) and defending race winner from last year at Long Beach, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe (1:08.9133).

Sixth through 10th quickest in the 24 cars in the field were former Long Beach winner Takuma Sato (1:08.9295) of Rahal Letterman and Lanigan Racing, Team Penske’s Will Power (1:08.9481), Team Penske’s and Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden (1:08.9600), A.J. Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan (1:08.9675) and St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (1:09.1270) of Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser/Sullivan.

While the conditions were excellent, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s, there still were several incidents during the 45-minute practice session:

* About 15 minutes into practice, the red flag came out when Gabby Chaves stopped on the racetrack.

* Alexander Rossi went into the run-off area when he missed a turn with about seven minutes left in the session, but backed up and got going again.

* Kyle Kaiser coming into Turn 1 and locked up on the brakes and ended up in the run-off area in the closing minutes of practice.

* Just a minute or so later, Charlie Kimball spun into a run-off area in Turn 8 and had to be towed back to the pits.

Today’s second practice session will begin at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT and run for one hour.

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Christopher Bell wins third straight Chili Bowl

@cbnationals, Twitter
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Christopher Bell passed Kyle Larson on the final lap of the 55-lap A-Feature to win the 33rd Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. Bell is only the second driver in event history to win three consecutive Golden Drillers, joining Kevin Swindell who holds the record with four.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to win the Chili Bowl,” Bell said at ChiliBowl.com. “To do it three straight times is just unbelievable, but man, I don’t even care about three straight. What about that race? I don’t think I’ve ever really been a part of a last lap race like that, so I’m just glad that thing came out in the end.”

As the white flag waved on his eighth appearance in Saturday’s main event, it seemed Larson was finally going to walk away with his first Golden Driller. This was closest he’s been to the win.

Larson took the lead from Logan Seavey on Lap 21 after a five-lap hot pursuit. Bell moved into second for the first time on Lap 27 but a caution forced him back to third as the field realigned to the last completed lap.

On Lap 33, Bell passed Seavey again for second before another caution reset the field. On the next restart Bell road the rim diving to the hub in Turns 3 and 4. With Larson in sight, Bell started to think about where he was going to put his third trophy.

The final caution flag of the night waved with 20 to go to set up the Bell vs. Larson shootout fans had been waiting for since Larson retired early from the race last year. Larson pulled away on the highline in Turns 1 and 2. He switched to the low in 3 and 4.

With five laps to go Larson hit traffic. That gave Bell the opportunity to close the gap. With two to go Bell was on top of Larson and challenging for the lead. On the final lap Bell passed Larson in Turn 2 as they bumped tires. Glued together through the final pair of turns, they touched twice more before Bell pulled away on the final stretch.

The action wasn’t over, however. Bell wound up on his lid following the win. His donuts got a little out of control and he rolled his midget.

Justin Grant took third by passing Brady Bacon on Lap 36. Bacon followed for fourth with Zach Daum in tow to complete the top five.

Tyler Courtney was the hard charger of the night finishing sixth after starting in 22nd. Brad Sweet and CJ Leary finished seventh and eighth.

Seavey was able to hold onto third until late in the race but ultimately the pole sitter who led the first 20 laps faded to ninth.

Tanner Thorson rounded out the top ten.

Friday’s Main Event

1. Christopher Bell
2. Kyle Larson
3. Justin Grant
4. Brady Bacon
5. Zach Daum
6. Tyler Courtney
7. Brad Sweet
8. CJ Leary
9. Logan Seavey
10. Tanner Thorson
11. Danny Stratton
12. Jonathan Beason
13. Tucker Klaasmeyer
14. Colby Copeland
15. Rico Abreu
16. Michael Faccinto
17. Chad Boat
18. David Gravel
19. Cole Bodine
20. Robert Dalby
21. Jake Neuman
22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
23. Shane Golobic
24. Sean McClelland