2023 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach
Streets of Long Beach
Long Beach, California
Team Chevy Practice One Recap
April 14, 2023
PATO O’WARD ON POINT IN PRACTICE ONE FOR CHEVROLET
LONG BEACH, Calif (April 14, 2023) NTT INDYCAR Series points leader Pato O’Ward set the pace for the 27-car field in the first practice for the 48th running of the Grand Prix of Long Beach-the 39th for INDYCAR. O’Ward bested the field with a lap of one minute, 06.6999 seconds behind the wheel of his No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, just over two and a half tenths faster than second place.
“Yeah, we just kept chipping away at it,” said O’Ward. “We rolled off strong, but we’ve been definitely making adjustments to kind of get it a little bit more in the window. A bit more to this tracks characteristics and, to what I like. So far it’s good we’re, we’re gonna look into it and see where we can make improvements but I think we’re in some good shape for tomorrow and it just all about executing. It’s such a tight field. Long Beach always is just such an intense qualifying.
“I mean, I couldn’t get off of the brakes when I flat spotted the tire. If I did, I was gonna go into the tires. It was the last run of the day and when you’re gonna try something like that, that’s usually when you should because you know qualifying definitely not the not the place to be getting experimental. So now we know what we want we don’t want to do but the tracks gonna keep evolving. It’s going to keep creeping up. There’s it’s really quick. It’s a very, very quick section after turn six is really nice now, a lot a lot more smooth. But turn eight reminds me a little bit of what the changes felt like in turn three at St. Pete with a new asphalt that meets the older one meet was a massive bump. That makes consistency a little bit more challenging. But yeah, so far it’s a good start.”
Three additional Chevrolet powered drivers joined O’Ward in the top-nine of the final order. Teammate Alexander Rossi in his No. 7 Chevrolet posted the seventh quickest time with third of the Arrow McLaren drivers, Felix Rosenqvist, posting ninth quickest in the No. 6. Wedged in eighth is Callum Ilott, No, 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet.
Remaining Team Chevy drivers finished practice as follows:
- 13th No.3 Scott McLaughlin
- 14th No. 2 Josef Newgarden
- 15th No. 12 Will Power
- 20th No. 20 Conor Daly
- 22nd No, 21 Rinus VeeKay
- 23rd No. 78 Agustin Canapino
- 26th No. 14 Santino Ferrucci
- 27th No. 55 Benjamin Pedersen
On Saturday demanding 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit on the Streets of Long Beach hosts NTT INDYCAR Series Practice Two at 8:45 a.m. local. Firestone Fast Six Qualifying will start at 12:05 p.m. PT on Saturday. A final warm up will start race day on Sunday at 9 a.m. PT. All practice and qualifying will be live on Peacock, INDYCAR Radio and SiriusXM Channel 160. The 85-lap, 167.28-mile race Sunday, April 16 will take the green flag at 3:45 p.m. ET/12:45 p.m. PT live on NBC.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES News Conference
Friday, April 14, 2023
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Wrapping up day one with NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice. Pato O’Ward, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES points leader, quickest.
Pato, we heard you talking about the new pavement. You like it, feels pretty good?
PATO O’WARD: It’s a lot better. I think what’s made it a little bit trickier is where the new asphalt meets the old one in turn eight, it reminds you of turn three in St. Pete. It’s smooth moving in, but it’s a smaller scale, not as quick, but there’s definitely a bump there. I think that will be something to watch just throughout the weekend.
Yeah, I’m happy with it. We got into the window. It’s tight, man. I think qualifying is going to be as tight as it’s probably ever been. I think it puts a lot of emphasis on just the little mistakes you can make.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll open it up for questions.
Q. Pato, you said it’s super tight. You’re a quarter of a second quicker than P2. That’s a lot in this series. Where did that last bit of speed come from?
PATO O’WARD: I guess I nailed down the lap. Yeah, it felt good. The little changes that got done to the track maybe not completely changed the setup, but I think it allows you to do a couple different things. You can get away with a couple more things that you couldn’t years past.
But where did it come from? I don’t know. I guess, yeah, I was just driving (smiling).
Q. Pato, it’s usually in the 70s here in Long Beach around this time. Today it was 62. Did the weather have any effect at all on what happened out there today in the session?
PATO O’WARD: Beautiful day. I haven’t really seen what tomorrow’s going to be like. Is it going to be similar?
PATO O’WARD: I thought today was beautiful. The track is definitely quicker than what it was last year. There’s not as much rubber down, but the track is fast. I think the more cars laying down rubber, it’s just probably going to gain and gain and gain.
Yeah, the tires and the engines like the colder temperatures rather than it being really hot.
Q. Pato, it’s only Friday, but how much confidence does that give you going into the rest of the weekend?
PATO O’WARD: Things can change really quick in INDYCAR. It’s so competitive. So I think what we’ll do now is just try and make it better. There’s always things you can improve on. Come tomorrow, go out there and just execute. I think that’s the most important part.
You can have the quickest car, but if you don’t get the lap together, you’re looking yourself at a harder Sunday than what it should, I guess.
Yeah, I think tomorrow will just be about getting the laps down and not making the silly mistakes that can put you back.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for coming by. Appreciate it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports