Saturday, September 23, 2023

Herta Paces Warm-up Session at Long Beach; Mechanical Issue Finds Championship Leader McLaughlin

Colton Herta led the morning warmup for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Colton Herta went fastest in the warmup session on the Streets of Long Beach. Image courtesy of Chris Jones / Penske Entertainment

After winning the pole yesterday, Colton Herta kept the momentum rolling by leading the warm-up on Sunday morning ahead of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The 22-year-old California native waited until the end of the 30-minute session to showcase the strength of his No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda and put down a flying lap of 1m05.8645s to go top of the leaderboard.

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Six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon led the majority of the way, but was relegated to second after Herta’s late pace. Dixon ended up 0.3278s behind.

Marcus Ericsson, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power completed the rest of the top five.

The most crucial drama came courtesy of championship leader Scott McLaughlin, who was on track briefly before encountering an apparent mechanical issue. The No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet was pushed back to the paddock with engineering representatives from Chevrolet seen joining the team and taking off the engine cover while navigating the problem.

The only red flag came out with just under nine minutes remaining after Graham Rahal ended up stalled on track following a half spin exiting Turn 4, with the veteran hit with an apparent bent left rear toe-link. He returned to the pits and was able to return to the track before the end of the session.

The session restarted with roughly five minutes to go and remained fairly straightforward until Herta’s flyer in the final minute.


Up Next: The 85-lap race at 3:30 p.m. ET, with coverage on NBC and the IndyCar Radio Network.

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