The Long Beach track changes attracted rave reviews after the first practice

The city of Long Beach received nothing but praise from IndyCar's two fastest drivers on Friday.

“Turn eight. That's the turn,” said Mayer Shank Racing's Felix Rosenqvist, who finished second in the No. 60 Honda. The off-season grind of bump-laden corners that feed into the long back straight made blasting through Turn 8 a fast and fun experience as Rosenqvist and former teammate Pato Oward found in his No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevy.

“There was a bump there last year,” Oward said after taking first place with a lap of 1:06.6874 seconds. “You had to wait after the hump, and then come to power. Now that the hump is gone, it's a lot faster. This is definitely a place where I found a significant amount of lap time compared to last year.

An interesting note to combine with O'Ward's comments is the almost identical lap he put in in 2023 of 1m06.6999s in the same Friday session. Although the improvement to Turn 8 certainly helped reduce the time spent getting to Turn 9, the track was visibly dirty, which likely conspired to hide the full potential of the circuit.

“Turn eight was a big difference,” Rosenqvist added. “You can carry a lot of speed…I think they did a good job.”

Turn 5, a site that saw many issues last year, also received some improvements from the city which pleased the Swede.

“They adjusted the curve which seems to be working well for us,” he said. “So yeah, it's all good.”

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