After three weekends off following the photo-finish at Texas Motor Speedway, IndyCar is ready to hit the track once again. Drivers are taking to the historic streets of Long Beach as they try to add their name to the list of winners for this iconic event. Sunday’s race will be the 47th running of the Grand Prix.

The first step came today with a wild, one-hour practice session around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit.

Simon Pagenaud paced the lone practice session today with a best lap time of 67.199 seconds. The driver of the No. 60 Honda for Meyer Shank Racing has always performed well here, no matter what team he is with. The Frenchman finished 2nd in his first race with SPM and won here in 2016 with Team Penske. His 6.7 average finishing position is easily the best among all of the drivers here this weekend.

“A lot of it is how the tires will suit the track and how hot the track is,” Pagenaud said. “When it’s colder, the tire doesn’t overheat and produces more grip for you. The downforce also works better. The worst cars tomorrow are going to get better, and it’s going to level up the field, basically. The fastest car is still going to be fast, but the margin will not be as much. With the temperature change, we know what aerodynamical change we need to make on the front wing versus the rear wing. Simulation programs these days really help for these conditions. It’s amazing the technology that goes into it and how much we can trust it.”

Finishing just behind Simon in today's practice was two-time Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi. Both of his wins here came when starting from pole position, a feat that he would like to accomplish again this weekend. The Andretti Autosport driver desperately needs a good result, and this just might be the place where he finally gets back on track.

Team Penske drivers Scott McLaughlin and Josef Newgarden were 3rd and 4th fastest. These two have won the first two races of the season, which includes the incredible photo finish at Texas. The last time Penske won the first three races of a season came in 2012 when Castroneves and Power won the first four races on the calendar. That is their goal on Sunday but there will be plenty of competition standing in their way.

Marcus Ericsson was 5th fastest on Friday, leading the way for Chip Ganassi Racing. His teammate and reigning series champion Alex Palou was 7th with defending Long Beach race winner Colton Herta sandwiched in between them in 6th. Will Power was 8th while a pair of rookies rounded out the top ten in Callum Ilott and Kyle Kirkwood.

There were several incidents during the session, beginning with a wall slap by Pato O'Ward. The Arrow McLaren SP driver has had a rough start to the season, and this weekend has not gotten off to a good start for the two-car team. Scott Dixon's car stalled at one point and teammate Jimmie Johnson ended up in the Turn 5 tire barrier.

Both Ganassi drivers were given time penalties by race control, but the bigger issue was the health of Johnson after he got his hand stuck on the steering wheel on impact. The driver of the No. 48 Honda machine was in a hand splint after practice and informed everyone that he was going to get a second opinion to see what his options are. Should Johnson not be able to get back into the car, it is likely that Ganassi would turn to Sebastien Bourdais to fill in, as he is contracted by the team and is in Long Beach for the IMSA race this weekend.

Dixon should be good to go for tomorrow, and has performed very well here. The six-time champion won this race in 2015 and his finishes here since then are 2nd, 4th, 11th, 3rd, and 3rd. Newgarden is another driver to keep an eye on. He has yet to win here but his last four finishes in this event are 3rd, 7th, 2nd, and 2nd.

Andretti has not had a great start to the season, but that could change this weekend. The team has performed very well at Long Beach in recent years. They have won the last three races here, and five of the last 11 with four different drivers. Herta took the checkered flag last year and Rossi won the previous two races.

Helio Castroneves returns to the streets of Long Beach looking to add to his legacy. The Brazilian won here from pole position in 2001 after a runner-up finish the year before. He recorded two more podium finishes in 2015 and 2016, and his last four qualifying results at Long Beach are 1st, 1st, 1st, and 3rd.

Jack Harvey is returning to action after missing the race at Texas when he suffered a concussion in a crash in practice. The 28-year old returns to his No. 45 RLL Racing Honda with plenty of motivation following his extended absence after a disappointing 13th place result in the season-opener.

"There’s a huge amount of optimism within the team, and certainly, no one’s panicking. It’s fair to say that the first two rounds haven’t gone exactly how we hoped, but it’s not like they’ve been without any promise. There’s still a huge amount of optimism and hopefulness from me that things are going to go well."

There will be another one-hour practice tomorrow starting at 11:45 AM ET. Qualifying will begin at 3 PM to set the 26-car field for Sunday. Starting near the front will be key on race day. Of the 46 races at Long Beach, 37 of them have been won by a driver starting inside the first two rows.

Oddly enough, only five drivers in history have won this race from pole position. Those legendary drivers are Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr, Castroneves, Bourdais, and Rossi. There are six rookies entered in the event. Rossi will be making his 100th career start this weekend while Dixon will make his 291st consecutive start, which is the second-longest streak in series history.