Team Chevy Takes Charge: A Strong Start at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

Written by Adrian Beecher

Chevrolet has kicked off the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach with a formidable show of speed, making a strong statement on the streets that wind through this iconic Californian city. In a display of both team strategy and individual driver skill, six Chevrolet drivers finished among the top-10 in the first practice session, echoing their earlier success in the season.

A Stellar Start for Team Chevy

Leading the pack, Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren Chevrolet demonstrated why he’s considered a serious contender this season. Clocking a fastest lap of 1:06.6875 seconds, O’Ward placed first, setting a competitive pace for the weekend. Not far behind, Team Penske’s trio—Will Power, Scott McLaughlin, and Josef Newgarden—showcased their prowess by securing three of the top five positions, with Power finishing a close second.

Christian Rasmussen, making his Long Beach debut, also made headlines by rounding out the top-10. His successful run in the practice session was a testament to his rapid adaptation to the circuit and his effective use of the Chevrolet simulator prep work.

Team Dynamics and Competitive Spirit

Josef Newgarden shared his thoughts on the day’s performance, stating, “It was a good first session. I felt like we had good speed right away, which is positive for a Friday. But the track is going to change a lot tomorrow. It’s going to build a lot of grip, but feeling in the mix in qualifying, which is going to be critical for the race. Qualifying up front here is always critical. I got a lot of confidence in the Hitachi crew, and Team Chevy has really brought us something good to work with. All around, I think we’re really encouraged for the weekend.”

Scott McLaughlin also reflected on the strengths brought forward from their off-season preparations: “Pretty good day for the No. 3 Odyssey Battery Chevy team. We rolled out of the truck really strong and that makes the whole day heaps easier. We are in a really good spot for the weekend. Obviously, we showed a lot of pace at St. Pete to start the year. Street circuits were a big focus of ours in the off season so it’s nice to see that work paying off. The goal is to continue building on that, qualify well tomorrow and be up front on Sunday when it matters.”

Will Power discussed his satisfaction with the session and his focus on the upcoming challenges: “It was a good Friday at Long Beach. Very happy with the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet. We certainly can improve in some areas, driving-wise. I think we are right in the window. Now we have to take that base that we had in practice and apply it in qualifying because that has been an issue. We are really focused on that.”

Looking Ahead

As Team Chevy prepares for the upcoming qualifying sessions and the race itself, the focus remains on refining their strategies and optimizing performance. With a promising start in the first practice, the team is well-positioned to capitalize on their momentum.

Long Beach continues to be a race that rewards precision, strategy, and adaptability. Chevrolet’s strong opening act has set a high bar for the weekend, promising an exciting showdown as drivers vie for the top positions on this storied street circuit. With Team Chevy’s drivers showing strength across the board, the stage is set for a thrilling continuation of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

Team Chevy’s Next Steps

The team is slated to return to the track for a second practice session followed by the crucial qualifying rounds. The results of these next sessions will be pivotal in setting the stage for Sunday’s race, where track position can be as crucial as raw speed.

In a sport where every second and every decision counts, Chevrolet’s performance in Long Beach serves as a clear indicator of their commitment to excellence and competition at the highest levels of motorsport. As the engines cool down from today’s practice, anticipation builds for what promises to be a spectacular race day on the Streets of Long Beach.

Image Credit: Chevy Racing Communications

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