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Long Beach roars today with the 2011 Grand Prix

Will Power of Australia, driver of the #12 Team Penske Dallara Honda, practices for the IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 15, 2011 on the streets of Long Beach, California.
Will Power of Australia, driver of the #12 Team Penske Dallara Honda, practices for the IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 15, 2011 on the streets of Long Beach, California.
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

For a third year in a row, Australian Will Power will be in the pole position for today's Izod IndyCar race as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

"It's one of my favorite tracks," he told the Los Angeles Times Saturday. "I love it around here."

Practice laps on the 1.97-mile circuit around downtown Long Beach start about 8 a.m. today, and the Firestone Indy Lights Race gets under way at 11:05 a.m.

The big race gets under way at 1:15 p.m., wrapping up the the three-race Izod series.

The team drifting challenge is set for 3:30 p.m., and the Pirelli World Challenge Championships start at 4:15 p.m.

Actor William Fichtner won yesterday's pro/celebrity race, which is expected to raise about $100,000 for childrens hospitals in Southern California. Both pros and celebrities competed in Scion Tcs, and Frankie Muniz, competing as a pro, came in fourth. Last year's winner Brian Austin Green, also racing as a pro, came in eighth.

Power, driving for Team Penske, won the pole position with a qualifing lap of 102.582 mph Saturday.

Ryan Hunter-Reay of the Andretti Autosport team, who won the Long Beach Grand Prix last year, was second at 102.469 mph.

Mike Conway qualified third in the 27-car field and Oriol Servia was fourth. Helio Castroneves was sixth, Ryan Briscoe was 12th and Danica Patrick qualified 20th. Charlie Kimball, a rookie from Camarillo, was 24th.

Reigning IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti, who won the Long Beach race in 2009, qualified seventh.