Chevrolet’s Front Row Start Signals High Stakes at Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

Written by Adrian Beecher

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, set amidst the bustling streets of this iconic California city, is poised for a dramatic showdown with Team Penske’s Will Power starting on the front row, just 0.0039 seconds off the pole position, marking one of the tightest qualifications in NTT INDYCAR SERIES history. The veteran driver, alongside his teammate Josef Newgarden, showcased the formidable pace of Chevrolet in one of the most anticipated street races of the season.

Will Power, in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, expressed satisfaction with his qualifying efforts, stating, “Just getting back into the Fast Six again is a big deal for me. I’ve been quick all year in practice, so super stoked to transfer. It’s cool to get the Verizon car on the front row again.” His close finish behind the pole position underscores the intense competition and high precision of INDYCAR racing.

Josef Newgarden, driving the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet, will start from the third position, just behind Power. Reflecting on his performance, Newgarden said, “The Hitachi Chevy was exactly where I needed it to be. It absolutely had pole-winning potential. I just did not nail the lap completely. Still, it’s a great effort by Chevy and everyone on this No. 2 team.”

Scott McLaughlin, another Team Penske stalwart, shared his strategic outlook for the race: “As the race approaches, I’m focused on finding the right strategy to stay at the front. I’ll be sending the Odyssey Battery Chevrolet toward the front on the first lap and making sure we have good stops and in-and-out laps, make the right strategic moves at the right times.”

The weekend also marks a significant milestone for Newgarden, who celebrates his 200th NTT INDYCAR SERIES event, further emphasizing the experience and caliber at Team Penske. The weekend’s activities are set to culminate in Sunday’s race, with Team Chevy drivers ready to navigate the demanding 85-lap, 167.28-mile event.

Rookie Théo Pourchaire, in his first INDYCAR qualifying session, was introspective about his debut, stating, “It was my first ever INDYCAR qualifying session. It was really fun. I pushed the limits. Not so far from Pato [O’Ward], and he’s a really good driver.” Pourchaire’s goal for the race is clear: “I will just try to complete the race, learn as much as possible on the strategy, on the tire degradation, on the fuel saving.”

Alexander Rossi, facing challenges with his car, remains focused on improvement: “We’ve had some moments where it was okay but struggling for grip. Not much we could do. It’s not there yet… We need to keep at it and see what we can do to make it better.”

As Chevrolet’s drivers line up for the start, the tension and excitement promise a thrilling race at the Long Beach Grand Prix, highlighting the speed, strategy, and skill that define the pinnacle of street racing in the INDYCAR series.

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