Will Power marked his final appearance in the No. 3 Penske Dallara-Honda by setting the pace in second practice for the IndyCar Series event in Long Beach.
Just hours after Penske announced that the exonerated Helio Castroneves was travelling to the track to reclaim his car from Power following the end of his tax evasion trial, Power beat reigning champion Scott Dixon to the top spot in the closing seconds of the afternoon session.
The Australian will now move to a third Penske car for the rest of the weekend. After Long Beach - which he won last year in the Champ Car finale - Power's only other confirmed appearance in the car is at the Indianapolis 500.
Dixon had a quiet start to the afternoon, languishing outside the top ten and taking a trip down the Turn 9 escape road. But the Ganassi driver surged forward in the final minutes, exchanging first place with Power twice before the Penske man claimed the position by 0.1192 seconds.
Raphael Matos jumped to third for Luczo Dragon with his final lap of the day, again denying Dreyer & Reinbold's Mike Conway the honour of being top rookie, although the Briton still took fifth place, with Dan Wheldon (Panther Racing) splitting the two newcomers.
Morning pace-setter Dario Franchitti completed the top six for Ganassi, ahead of Vision's Ryan Hunter-Reay and Andretti Green's Tony Kanaan.
Power's teammate Ryan Briscoe had a less-successful time in the second Penske entry. The St. Petersburg winner crashed at Turn 6 on only his sixth lap, and had to return to the paddock for front wing and suspension repairs. He eventually rejoined near the end of the hour to take ninth place.
KV Racing's Mario Moraes was quickest for most of the first half of the session, but was ultimately pushed right back to 15th place as others improved.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Will Power Penske 1m10.5486s
2. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1m10.6678s + 0.1192s
3. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon 1m10.8247s + 0.2761s
4. Dan Wheldon Panther 1m10.9033s + 0.3547s
5. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 1m10.9981s + 0.4495s
6. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1m11.0218s + 0.4732s
7. Ryan Hunter-Reay Vision 1m11.0263s + 0.4777s
8. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 1m11.1238s + 0.5752s
9. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1m11.1416s + 0.5930s
10. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1m11.1768s + 0.6282s
11. EJ Viso HVM 1m11.2220s + 0.6734s
12. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne 1m11.2319s + 0.6833s
13. Darren Manning Dreyer & Reinbold 1m11.2441s + 0.6955s
14. Robert Doornbos Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1m11.2545s + 0.7059s
15. Mario Moraes KV 1m11.2702s + 0.7216s
16. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 1m11.5538s + 1.0052s
17. Alex Tagliani Conquest 1m11.5771s + 1.0285s
18. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 1m11.7980s + 1.2494s
19. Vitor Meira Foyt 1m12.1896s + 1.6410s
20. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 1m12.2254s + 1.6768s
21. Ed Carpenter Vision 1m12.5171s + 1.9685s
22. Stanton Barrett 3G 1m14.0743s + 3.5257s