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Pagenaud paces Saturday morning Long Beach practice

Apr 20, 2013, 2:31 PM EDT

Simon Pagenaud AP

Simon Pagenaud led IndyCar’s final practice session before qualifying at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Frenchman lapped the 1.968-mile street circuit in 1:08.0960, more than 1.4 seconds quicker than the fastest times on Friday and still on the Firestone black tires.

Pole time should be in the low 1:07s, perhaps high 1:06 range, once teams have the option to run the softer, alternate, Firestone reds.

Times tumbled at the end of the session as Will Power, Mike Conway, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal all posted their fastest laps at the end of the session to complete the top five.

The session was interrupted for two red flags, both involving Team Penske drivers. Power made contact in Turn 1 and damaged his rear wing, while Helio Castroneves had slight mechanical issues and dropped back. He returned to the track but also had a lazy spin at the end of practice.

Qualifying begins at 5 p.m. EST with TV coverage on at 6 p.m. EST on the NBC Sports Network. Live streaming for Sunday’s race will be available online at http://stream.nbcsports.com/liveextra/.

Qualifying groups for the three rounds of knockout qualifying are below, via INDYCAR:

Group 1                  Group 2
#17 Mike Conway          #1 Ryan Hunter-Reay
#55 Tristan Vautier (R)  #12 Will Power
#16 James Jakes          #3 Helio Castroneves
#10 Dario Franchitti     #98 Alex Tagliani
#14 Takuma Sato          #27 James Hinchcliffe
#19 Justin Wilson        #78 Simona de Silvestro
#15 Graham Rahal         #9 Scott Dixon
#77 Simon Pagenaud       #67 Josef Newgarden
#7 Sebastien Bourdais    #25 Marco Andretti
#11 Tony Kanaan          #4 JR Hildebrand
#5 E.J. Viso             #2 AJ Allmendinger
#18 Ana Beatriz          #83 Charlie Kimball
#6 Sebastian Saavedra    #22 Oriol Servia
                         #20 Ed Carpenter

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