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Rossi, Dixon, Hunter-Reay fastest in final warmup for today’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

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Polesitter Alexander Rossi continued to have the car to beat in Sunday morning’s final practice for the 44th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Rossi led the 30-minute warmup with a time of 1:07.5366 at 104.903 mph. He covered 16 laps on the 1.968-mile temporary street course.

Scott Dixon was one of only a few drivers that took the most laps, 19, but it proved worth it for him as he was second-quickest (1:07.6270) at 104.763 mph.

Third was Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:07.8040 at 104.489 mph), followed by Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden (1:07.9952 at 104.225 mph) and Simon Pagenaud (1:08.0198 and 104.188 mph).

Sixth through 10th were outside pole sitter for today’s race Will Power (1:08.1903/103.927), James Hinchcliffe (1:08.2528/103.832), St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (1:08.3490/103.686), Spencer Pigot (1:08.4049/103.601) and Max Chilton (1:08.4152/103.585).

There was two incidents of note in the 30-minute practice:

* Gabby Chaves ran into a run-off area in Turn 9 with about six minutes remaining, bringing out a brief red flag practice stoppage.

* With about one minute left, Zachary Clemen De Melo also carried into the same run-off area in Turn 9, bringing out the red flag and ending the session.

Also of note for today’s race, which airs live on NBCSN starting with the pre-race show at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT and then takes the green flag at 4:30 p.m. ET:

* Al Unser Jr. is the all-time leader in wins at Long Beach with six visits to victory lane.

* From a team perspective, three organizations are tied for most wins at Long Beach, with six each: Chip Ganassi Racing, Team Penske and the former Newman-Haas Racing.

* But with Rossi and Andretti Autosport looking so strong this weekend, including Rossi starting today’s race on the pole, will Ganassi or Penske finally be able to break that record — or will they have to wait again until next year?

Follow @JerryBonkowski

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