Alexander Rossi Bests IndyCar Long Beach Qualifying, Will Start on Pole

The 26-year-old sophomore cleared his nearest competitor by 0.3526 seconds.

© 2018 Rip Shaub. All Rights Reserved

Alexander Rossi has continued his red-hot weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach by nabbing pole position for Sunday's Verizon IndyCar competition. His 01:06.5528 performance earned him the second P1 start of his career, his first coming at Watkins Glen in 2017, and he will be joined by Team Penske's Will Power on the front row.

Rossi roared into Saturday's qualifying round after finishing fastest in the morning's final practice session. His Honda-powered Andretti Autosport machine has been a clear favorite over the weekend, gapping second-place starter Power by nearly four-tenths of a second around the tight city circuit. Power's teammate Simon Pagenaud will start in third which ties his career-best qualifying round at Long Beach.

© 2018 Rip Shaub. All Rights Reserved

Will Power's Chevrolet-powered racer will have a tall task in taking down Rossi's Honda.

© 2018 Rip Shaub. All Rights Reserved

Simon Pagenaud looks to win his second career Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday.

Joining Rossi, Power, and Pagenaud in the "Fast Six" group of qualifiers is Scott Dixon. The Chip Ganassi Racing veteran displayed proper form on Friday and continued that pace in quali, boasting P4 for Sunday's starting grid. Dixon is promptly followed by Team RLL-Honda's Graham Rahal who managed a best time of 01:07.1275. Penske driver and 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden completes the elite group in sixth. 

Each driver admitted the challenges brought on by the series' new spec, low-drag body kit. Despite the added difficulty, they all claimed a significant uptick in speed that should make Sunday's race especially entertaining.

Last year's winner James Hinchcliffe will start in eighth-position with his Schmidt-Peterson Honda.

The 2018 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach starts at 1:40 p.m. PT and will span 85 laps around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn circuit.