Kyle Kirkwood races around Long Beach. (Al Steinberg Photo)

Power Endures Trouble As Kirkwood Paces Long Beach Practice

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Two-time Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach winner Will Power spent most of his time in Saturday morning’s practice session in the pits.

Power was involved in a scrape against the Turn 8 wall early in the session that required his Team Penske crew to repair the damage. Once he returned to the track, later in the session he brushed the wall after spinning in turn eight and hit nose-first into the barrier with about 10 minutes remaining in the session.

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Power, who won the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2008 and 2012, brought out the red flag to stop the session with 8:49 left. That froze the clock as IndyCar provides 45 minutes of green flag time in a one-hour practice window.

After a brief delay, the green flag flew, but Power was out of his car with the helmet off talking to his crew about what happened.

“The bump is gone and when you get to the top, it keeps catching me out,” Power said. “I did it twice. I didn’t expect that. That’s on me.

“I didn’t need to have a session like this. It just snaps. That is the nature of that corner now.

“I feel good with the car, I just need to look at turn eight and maybe back it up a little (entering the turn.)”

Tom Blomqvist of Meyer Shank Racing pulled his car off the track after brushing the wall in turn four in the final minute.

Reigning Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach winner Kyle Kirkwood of Andretti Global as the fastest driver in the session at 1:06.4731 seconds around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street course that makes up North America’s greatest street race.

“When you have 20 cars out there, you can see anything, so you don’t know if you are coming up on anybody,” Kirkwood said. “It’s a mess, but we expected it. There is only room for 2-1/2 seconds between each car and everybody wants 5 or 6 seconds.

“It’s frustrating, but we were able to get a good lap in there any way.”

Andretti Global teammate Colton Herta was second at 1:06.4886 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda. Christian Lundgaard of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was third at 1:06.5831 in the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda followed by Meyer-Shank Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist’s 1:06.6518 in the No. 60 SiriusXM Honda.

The top four cars were Hondas. Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin had the fastest Chevrolet and was fifth at 1:06.7359.

Qualifications for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach begin at 2:25 p.m. Eastern Time.