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Dario Franchitti to lead Long Beach Grand Prix

April 14, 2012|By Jim Peltz
  • Driver Dario Franchitti takes his No. 10 Target car through one of the 11 turns on the Grand Prix of Long Beach course during practice Saturday.
Driver Dario Franchitti takes his No. 10 Target car through one of the 11… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

Ryan Briscoe was the fastest qualifier Saturday but, thanks to an unusual rules call, reigning IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti will start first in Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Briscoe, who drives for Chevrolet-powered Team Penske, turned a lap of 103.264 mph on the 1.97-mile, 11-turn course on the city's seaside streets.

His teammate Will Power was second, and 2010 Long Beach winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, another Chevrolet driver, was third.

But the three will start 11th-13th because all the Chevrolet drivers incurred a penalty of 10 starting spots due to unapproved engine changes by Chevrolet. Chevy opted to change engines for all 11 of its drivers after one of its cars suffered engine failure in a test earlier this week.

"You've got to trust Chevrolet's judgment," Briscoe said. "I 100% support them in it."

As a result, Franchitti -- the 2009 Long Beach winner who drives for Honda-powered Target Chip Ganassi Racing -- will lead the field because he qualified fourth. Rookie Josef Newgarden will start second.

Earlier in the day, comedian Adam Carolla won the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race on the Long Beach circuit.

MORE:

Rain disrupts practice at Long Beach Grand Prix

Chevrolet drivers penalized at Long Beach

Graphic: The course of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Dario Franchitti to lead Long Beach Grand Prix

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