Rossi, Newgarden and Power lead the way in final IndyCar practice at Long Beach

Photo courtesy IndyCar

Alexander Rossi was quickest in the third and final practice of the weekend Saturday morning in preparation for Sunday’s 44th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner led the field with a speed of 1:06.6105, followed by Phoenix winner and defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden (1:06.6523), Will Power (1:06.8279), Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:06 8767) and Simon Pagenaud (1:07.0293).

Sixth through 10th were Graham Rahal (1:07.0432), Spencer Pigot (1:07.2565), Scott Dixon (1:07.3490), Tony Kanaan (1:07.3661) and Ed Jones (1:07.3863).

After crashing at the end of Friday’s second practice, Takuma Sato was back on-track but was unable to be quicker than 15th (1:07.8120).

Also of note, Robert Wickens, who had strong runs at both St. Petersburg and Phoenix (finished runner-up), was 14th quickest (1:07.6474).

Qualifying takes place later today at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.

There were a few incidents in the final practice session:

* Zack Veach spun about six minutes into the session but was able to get going under his own power. Veach also almost hit the Turn 6 wall in the final minute and a half.

* With about 33 minutes remaining in the session, Zachary Claman De Melo stopped on the track with an apparent electrical system, bringing out a red flag.

* With about three minutes left in the session, Tony Kanaan got loose coming out of Turn 5 and just barely missed sliding into the wall. He was able to continue.

* Matheus Leist went into the run-off area in Turn 9 in the final minute of the session.

* With just about 40 seconds remaining, Jordan King plowed into the tire wall in Turn 8. He was uninjured, but the left front of his car suffered moderate damage.

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IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change