Friday’s IndyCar Practice Report From Barber Motorsports Park

LEEDS, Ala – For the third straight week, the Verizon IndyCar Series teams and drivers are back at it. This weekend, it’s at the beautiful Barber Motorsports Park. On Friday, the 23 drivers took to the 2.3-mile Alabama facility for two practice sessions. They were very eventful to say the least.

Practice 1 Recap

Josef Newgarden gets into the gravel sand traps during practice at the Barber Motorsports Park on Friday – INDYCAR Media Site

It was a Penske and Ganassi show in the opening practice session of the weekend. Five of the top six speeds went to the two camps. Will Power topped the speed charts with a time of 1:07.598-seconds in his No. 12 Chevrolet. Power, won the pole last year and has five straight front row starting spots at the track. In fact, he’s started on the front row in seven of his eight tries at Barber.

His teammate Josef Newgarden was P2 with a lap of 1:07.914-seconds in his No. 1 Chevrolet. Newgarden, is the defending race winner at Barber, as he won when Power had a tire go down with 14 laps left in the 2017 race.

Scott Dixon was third in his No. 9 Honda with a time of 1:08.262-seconds. Dixon, has seven top five finishes in eight tries at Barber, five of which are runner-up efforts.

Ed Jones (1:08.308-seconds) and Simon Pagenaud (1:08.312-seconds) were fifth and sixth respectively to put all three Penske cars and both Ganassi entries in the top six.

Max Chilton, a former Ganassi driver, was fourth overall with a lap of 1:08.288-seconds in his No. 59 Chevrolet.

The session was interrupted by two red flags. Both coming for the winners of the last two series races. First off, Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi spun on course in his No. 27 Honda. He didn’t hit anything and would be able to continue on. Later, Phoenix winner Newgarden got into the sand traps. He was able to continue on after clean up of his car as well.

Josef Newgarden practicing on Friday at the Barber Motorsports Park – INDYCAR Media Site

Practice 2 Recap

Chevrolet drivers were quick again, with taking the top two spots and three of the top four. This session was led by Josef Newgarden as he backed up is second quickest lap in the first session with leading the charge in practice No. 2. The Tennessee native turned a lap of 1:07.4345-seconds, best among the 23 drivers.

Spencer Pigot was P2 with a time of 1:07.5372-seconds in his No. 21 Chevrolet. Pigot’s teammate was seventh in the opening session.

Sebastien Bourdais was third quick with a lap of 1;07.7971-seconds in his No. 18 Honda. He was ninth in the first session. Power (1:07.8092-seconds) and Rossi (1:07.8326-seconds) rounded out the top five.

This session was like the first in that several incidents took place. Tony Kanaan, Zach Veach, Simon Pagenaud, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Bourdais all got off course, most in Turn 5. Rene Binder crashed in Turn 16 and actually made contact.

The drivers will get back to practice on Saturday morning at 11:50 a.m. ET/10:50 a.m. CT. Qualifying will take place at 4 p.m. ET on CNBC/3 p.m. locally.

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