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IndyCar: Newgarden tops Long Beach warm-up

Josef Newgarden put CFH Racing at the top of the timesheets after a half-up warm-up session on Sunday morning in Long Beach.
Chevrolet continued their sweep of all track sessions in Long Beach this weekend, with Josef Newgarden the latest from the bow tie brigade to head the timesheets on Sunday morning.

The CFH Racing driver put in a best lap of 1:07.8940s (104.351mph) on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course in the half-hour morning warm-up, the last time the drivers have a chance to get behind the wheel before the green flag for this afternoon's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the third round of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series.

CLICK: Full Sunday morning warm-up times from Long Beach

Newgarden will be starting from sixth place in the race meaning that he will line-up on the third row alongside Penske's Simon Pagenaud who starts from fifth and who coincidentally was also the second-fastest driver in today's final practice opportunity, just seven hundreds of a second off Newgarden's pace.

"Sixth is not as high up as we wanted to be, but we're right in the thick of it," insisted Newgarden. "We've got a strong chance to challenge; we've just got keep our nose clean for once around this place and we should definitely be primed for a good result."

Gabby Chaves was the highest of the Honda runners, the Bryan Herta Autosport #98 up in an unexpected third place just ahead of Ganassi's Charlie Kimball.

Kimball's team mate Scott Dixon was fifth fastest on Sunday. The Kiwi paced the first practice session on Friday but who has since been playing second fiddle to an assortment of Penske drivers in the sessions that followed, including qualifying in which Helio Castroneves clinched pole with a new track record time.

Castroneves was taking Sunday morning in a relaxed frame of mind and clocked in with the ninth fastest time. That was still two places higher than his team mate Will Power, who was frustrated by an ill-time red flag in qualifying that left him unable to put in a proper timed lap. The reigning series champion will have to fight his way forward from a less than promising 18th place on the grid in the race.

Sebastian Saavedra was 16th fastest in the warm-up ahead of his first race with the Chip Ganassi Racing team, having taken over the #8 car from Sage Karam this weekend. The Colombian was three hundredths faster than Jack Hawksworth in the #41 AJ Foyt Racing Honda.

Among the GP2 graduates on parade at Long Beach this weekend, Stefano Coletti was 18th fastest for KV Racing Technology and Conor Daly was 20th in his unexpected last-minute call-up by Dale Coyne Racing to replace the injured Rocky Moran Jr., who had himself been a late substitute for the team's regular driver Carlos Huerta who is absent this weekend "for business reasons" according to team owner Dale Coyne.

Daly was within a second of Newgarden's target time at the top, while Luca Filippi just slipped outside that milestone and was 21st fastest, 1.0184s slower than his CFH team mate when the chequered flag came out. Filippi will start today's race from 14th place, while Daly is due to get underway from 21st.

The warm-up session proceeded without interruption, although Simon Pagenaud blotted his copybook right at the end when he ended up in the tyre wall as the chequered flags came out, leaving him to be retrieved by the safety workers and make his way somewhat sheepishly back to pit lane, no harm done.

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is scheduled to get the green flag just after 1.30pm (9.30pm BST). Unlike last weekend at NOLA Motorsport Park - or indeed, current conditions at Bristol Motor Speedway on the East Coast for today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race - there is no threat of any sort of disruption from inclement weather in the area, with blue skies and temperatures heading into the 70s make for a perfect day to go racing.

See full Sunday morning warm-up times from Long Beach

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Josef Newgarden heads down the frontstretch during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden in his pit stand. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) celebrates at Laguna Seca
Kyle Kaiser - Juncos Racing
Ed Carpenter Racing crew working on the boss` car   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Will Power - Team Penske
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Ed Jones - Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Simon Penske - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar media/Bret Kelley]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Josef Newgarden - Ed Carpenter Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Shawn Gritzmacher]

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