Watkins Glen, NY – The Verizon IndyCar Series had two practice sessions on Friday from the scenic Watkins Glen International road course. The first one was a chilly one with ambient temperatures in the 50’s. The day warmed up as the hours got later though with the afternoon session being much more comparable to what we will see for Sunday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Glen (1 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network).
In the first session, Honda’s led the charge with the top five speeds being all the same manufacturer, including seven of the top eight on the overall speed chart. Graham Rahal was quickest of all the 21 drivers, turning a lap of 1:23.2626-seconds in his No. 15 Honda. Rahal, set that lap in the closing minutes, besting second place Alexander Rossi’s lap of 1:23.4686-seconds in his No. 98 Honda.
Third and fourth quick were two Chip Ganassi Racing drivers of Max Chilton (1:23.5151-seconds) in his No. 8 Honda and Scott Dixon (1:23.5485-seconds) in his No. 9 Honda.
James Hinchcliffe rounded out the top five in the initial session with a lap around the road course of 1:23.7734-seconds in his No. 5 Honda. The quickest Chevrolet powered car wasn’t a Team Penske one either, as it was Spencer Pigot. The Ed Carpenter Racing driver sped around the track with a lap of 1:23.8425-seconds in his No. 20 Chevrolet.
The Penske drivers were ninth (Josef Newgarden), 10th (Helio Castroneves), 11th (Simon Pagenaud) and 16th (Will Power).
Charlie Kimball had a mechanical issue in that first session as he only completed two laps in his No. 83 Honda. The only other issue came when Ryan Hunter-Reay spun his No. 28 Honda in Turn 8. He didn’t make any contact with anything and was able to continue on.
In the final session today, Dixon jumped to the top this time with a time of 1:22.6187-seconds. That was the quick time of the day. Will Power improved from 16th in session No. 1 to second in session No. 2 with a lap of 1:22.7129-seconds.
Rahal, was strong again, this time being third quick with a lap of 1;22.9716-seconds, while Simon Pagenaud (1;23.0915-seconds) and Rossi (1:23.1124-seconds) rounded out the top five.
The only problem in final practice was when Max Chilton got loose and hit the Turn 5 armco barrier. He would miss the remaining time of the session saying his car was great this morning then terrible this afternoon. He wasn’t sure why.
The series will have one more practice session tomorrow morning from 10:30-11:15 a.m. ET, then set the field for Sunday’s race at 3 p.m. ET.