Alexander Rossi wins pole for Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

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Alexander Rossi will start tomorrow’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in P1 for the second consecutive year, as the California native looks to make it back-to-back victories from the pole on the famed street circuit.

The 2018 race winner set the fastest time in the Firestone Fast 6, with a time of 1 minute, 6.4811 seconds coming in his final lap of the session.

“I’m a little bit at loss for words, to be honest,” Rossi said following his pole run. “That was way harder than last year.  These NAPA Andretti Honda boys did such a good job. We had a tough Friday, and then the work we did overnight was awesome. To lead P3 and to go and do this against the most competitive field we’ve ever had is a huge testament to the team. This one’s big. I wasn’t expecting it to be honest”.

“I think we’ve had a good car, but we haven’t had the best car yet this year, so we knew coming here we had to execute. Josef [Newgarden] has a pretty big lead on us in the championship and he’s done an awesome job, so we needed to do a good job, so this is step one. We know how to win from pole here, so hopefully we can do so tomorrow”.

Watch the race on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN or at NBCSports.com or the NBC Sports app

Scott Dixon will start the race on the front row alongside Rossi, qualifying second with a time of 1 minute, 6.7479 seconds.

Team Penske drivers Will Power and Josef Newgarden will share the second row, qualifying third and fourth, respectively, with teammate Simon Pagenaud right behind them in the fifth position.

The exciting qualifying session had several on-track incidents as well. Group 1 qualifying ended under the red flag after Tony Kanaan ran into the tire barrier in turn 6. Kanaan will start tomorrow’s race from 21st.

James Hinchcliffe was unable to advance to the second round of qualifying as the red flag came out while he was on his fast lap. Hinchcliffe will start tomorrow’s race in 15th.

“It’s such a kick in the nuts,” Hinchcliffe told NBCSN. “That has such a huge affect on the championship”.

In round two of qualifying, Felix Rosenqvist was set to move into the Firestone Fast 6, but the rookie driver locked up the brakes and went straight into the tire barriers in turn 9 with seconds remaining.

The incident triggered a red flag, costing Rosenqvist his two fastest laps and sending him to a 12th-place starting position.

“That was a shame,” Rosenqvist told NBCSN. “I think we had a really good speed on the [Firestone] reds”.

Coverage of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach begins at 4 p.m. E.T. Sunday on NBCSN.

Full qualifying results

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Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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