LEEDS, Ala – If Friday’s Verizon IndyCar Series practice session at the Barber Motorsports Park on Friday is any indication on how the rest of the weekend is going to go at the Barber Motorsports Park, then it appears that both Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing are going to be the ones to beat in Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (3 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network).
In session No. 1, all five of their combined cars were in the top six of the overall speed charts. Will Power and Josef Newgarden of Penske were 1-2 with Simon Pagenaud being sixth. The two Ganassi cars were third (Scott Dixon) and fifth (Ed Jones).
In the second and final session of the day, they were first (Newgarden), fourth (Power) and 13th (Pagenaud). The only reason Pagenaud wasn’t higher was because he got off course in Turn 5 and had to have his No. 22 Chevrolet repaired.
Dixon, was sixth in session No. 2 himself in his No. 9 Honda.
This isn’t too surprising though.
Penske has won five of the eight times the series has visited the 2.3-mile Alabama track. Power, has two wins (2011, 2012) and should have had a third last year. The Australian started on the pole and led a race-high 60 laps. But, with 14 laps-to-go, he developed a flat tire and pitted. That gave the win to his teammate Newgarden. It was Newgarden’s second Barber win too, as he also won in 2015 with Ed Carpenter Racing.
Power, has five straight top front row starting spots at Barber and seven in his eight tries. Newgarden, has three straight podium finishes himself.
Pagenaud, won the race in 2016 and has two straight podiums including three straight top three starting spots.
Dixon, has yet to win at Barber but has five runner-up finishes and seven top five finishes in eight career starts. Ed Jones is coming off of a podium finish at Long Beach and an eighth place run in St. Pete. If not for a crash with 21 to go in Phoenix, he was running second at the time, he would have had three straight top 10 finishes to start the year off with.