Alexander Rossi fastest in third Long Beach practice

John Cote / IndyCar

Defending Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach champion Alexander Rossi was the fastest driver in Saturday morning’s IndyCar Series practice session on the Southern California street course.

The driver of the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda topped the speed charts with seconds remaining in the third practice session of the weekend, with an elapsed time of 1 minute, 7.0588 seconds.

Fellow Honda driver Graham Rahal was second fastest, 0.1278 seconds behind, in a practice session that saw 21 of the 23 competitors separated by less than a second.

Scott Dixon was third fastest with a time of 1 minute, 7.2257 seconds, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who has shown speed all weekend. Simon Pagenaud’s Team Penske machine was the fastest Chevrolet-powered entry of the session, finishing fifth-fastest.

The 45-minute practice session saw several drivers lock up the brakes and stall in the runoff areas of the track, with drivers such as Will Power, Matheus Leist and Takuma Sato finding their way off course.

NTT Pole award qualifying is up next for the IndyCar Series, with qualifying scheduled to begin at 3:10 pm E.T. and will be broadcast live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold.

Full practice 3 results 

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Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”