INDYCAR Qualifying Report | Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

Source: Team PR

  • Colton Herta advanced to the second round after finishing third in the first group of qualifying. 
  • Early in the second round of qualifying, Herta received a drive-through penalty for causing a local yellow. 
  • After a red flag came out with 53 seconds to go in the second round of qualifying, all 12 cars were given the opportunity for one timed lap to finish out the second round. Unfortunately, Herta and the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda just missed out on the Firestone Fast 6 after getting bumped to seventh by six-hundredths of a second with a fast lap time of 1:06.6431.  

“It seems like we probably should have put on the new Firestone tires in the second round, but we wanted to save it for the Firestone Fast 6 to try to have a shot at the pole. We thought since we only did one lap on the tires, we could get another fast lap in there and hopefully improve a little bit. Unfortunately, we just overcooked the tires on Lap 1 and they just weren’t the same even after that long break going into the second run. Seventh isn’t a bad spot to start for the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda and with the extra set of tires, we have a little bit of an advantage for tomorrow if alternate tires end up being the way to go.”

  • Kyle Kirkwood scored his first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole and best starting position on the Streets of Long Beach. Today’s pole is Andretti Autosport’s fifth pole position in Long Beach (Hunter-Reay – 2014, Rossi 2018 + 2019, C. Herta – 2021, Kirkwood – 2023).
  • Kirkwood topped the first group of the first round of qualifying with a fast lap time of 1:06.5993, securing his spot in the second round of qualifying. 
  • Kirkwood easily made his way into his second career Firestone Fast 6 (2023 – St. Petersburg) with a fast lap time of 1:06.4568 before ultimately taking pole with a fast lap time of 1:06.2878. 

“I’m just ecstatic. We knew were going to be really quick and we knew we needed to get that second lap in the second round. I’m really glad that we transferred into the Firestone Fast 6 because that was crucial for us. Then we were able to come home with the pole with a new set of Firestones – we were the only ones with a new set. I’m just so excited for Andretti Autosport. The No. 27 AutoNation Honda is just on rails this weekend. We’re constantly progressing, which is something we always want to do in a race weekend. It got to a point where I didn’t need to touch anything in qualifying because we were that fast and I’m confident we’ll do the same in the race tomorrow.”

  • Romain Grosjean joined teammates Kirkwood and Herta in the second round of qualifying after finishing fifth in his first-round group with a fast lap time of 1:06.6780. 
  • Despite a brush with the wall in the closing seconds of the second round of qualifying that called for a quick toe link repair in pit lane, Grosjean topped the speed charts advancing to the Firestone Fast 6 with a fast lap of 1:06.3246. 
  • Grosjean made his third appearance in the Firestone Fast 6 at Long Beach in as many years, coming away with his highest starting position of third with a fast lap time of 1:06.5347. 

“I’m really happy for Kyle and the whole Andretti team. I felt like we had it, but I messed up in the hairpin. I think I lost like three-tenths, so it’s my fault. I just braked too late and the rear locked up. I had to pull the clutch in the middle of the corner to try to make it go in. We didn’t have an easy qualifying session overall. We got blocked in the second round and then we had the red flag and had to use the extra set of new tires to make it into the Firestone Fast 6. I knew we had something good. The No. 28 DHL Honda has been driving well all weekend, but I just couldn’t put it together.” 

  • POSITION: 20
  • Devlin DeFrancesco missed out on advancing to the second round of qualifying by three-tenths of a second with a fast lap time of 1:07.0294. 

“We had a bit of a fuel issue that set us back in qualifying today. This one really hurts – we just need to catch a break. This Capstone crew has really put a lot of effort in and Honda gave us great power for the weekend. It just hurts. It hurts for me, it hurts for the team and it hurts for everyone at Capstone. We were there. We had a lap coming that was quite easily going to put us through, but that’s just the name of the game sometimes. Thankfully, we have more options in the race to move forward because we’re faster than the cars starting around us.”