Championship Contenders Strong In Thursday’s INDYCAR Test At Portland

PORTLAND, Ore – This weekend is a little bit different for the Verizon IndyCar Series. Instead of two practice sessions on Friday, one on Saturday and a qualifying session on Saturday afternoon, the series gave their drivers an extra day of on track activity at the Portland International Raceway.

It was only right to do so, as the last time we saw an Indy Car on the 1.964-mile road course was in 2007. Most of the 25 drivers in attendance this weekend had never races on the Pacific Northwest track.

So, with this being the penultimate race of the season, it was only right to give the series two test sessions on Thursday. 

In those sessions, Andretti Autosport looked stout. They had all four cars in the top 10 in both sessions. That shouldn’t be too surprising as they’ve won four races this season already. The only organization with more is Team Penske (6).

Marco Andretti was tops of the team in both sessions as he was second and fourth respectively in his No. 98 Honda. The third generation driver has raced at Portland before as he ran some Formula Renault races on the Oregon road course. He even won a couple of those races too.

So, for Andretti to be so strong on Thursday shouldn’t come as too much of a shock. He’s also finished 10th, 13th, 11th and 11th respectively on the four natural road courses in 2018.

Alexander Rossi had a good day himself. Rossi, enters this weekend 26 points behind Scott Dixon in the standings for the lead as he was third and ninth respectively on Thursday in his No. 27 Honda.

Rookie Zach Veach hopes to continue his new found momentum as he brings four straight top 10 finishes with him to Portland. He was fast in his No. 26 Honda too. The Ohio native was sixth and fifth respectively.

Ryan Hunter-Reay is technically still alive for the title too and he was eighth and seventh respectively in his No. 28 Honda.

While Andretti didn’t have a driver lead either of the two speed charts, they were the strongest overall.

Team Penske was right there too. Will Power (58.9540-seconds) was quickest in session No. 1 and second fast (58.3928-seconds) in the final session of the day on Thursday evening. Josef Newgarden (59.1537-seconds) was P5 in the first session but improved to third (58.4637-seconds) in session No. 2.

Simon Pagenaud got off course at the end of the first session and was 16th quick while being 18th fastest in the final session of the day on Thursday. Pagenaud though was on a completely different program than his other two teammates as he was working on developmental items in his No. 22 Chevrolet.

Penske in general has won three of the four natural road course races in 2018 with Newgarden dominating at Barber and Road America and Power being so dominant on the Indy road course back in May.

Scott Dixon was quietly good in his No. 9 Honda with being seventh and first respectively on the speed charts. He turned the fastest lap of the day (58.3593-seconds).

Overall, all five of the championship contenders still eligible for this year’s title were in the top 10 in both sessions. That’s not shocking though as these five drivers have combined to win 13 of the 15 races this season.

The top 22 were separated by less than a second in the first session and the top 20 were less than a second a part from the top to 20th in the second one.

Session 1 Results

  1. 12 Power 58.9540
  2. 98 Andretti 59.0204
  3. 27 Rossi 59.0642
  4. 20 King R 59.1327
  5.  1 Newgarden 59.1537
  6. 26 Veach R 59.2022
  7.  9 Dixon 59.2356
  8. 28 Hunter-Reay 59.2688
  9. 30 Sato 59.2802
  10. 21 Pigot 59.3761
  11. 18 Bourdais 59.3864
  12.  5 Hinchcliffe 59.3988
  13.  4 Leist R 59.4473
  14. 14 Kanaan 59.4786
  15. 10 Jones 59.5261
  16. 22 Pagenaud 59.5753
  17. 88 Chaves 59.5758
  18. 15 Rahal 59.5979
  19.  6 Munoz 59.6366
  20. 19 Fittipaldi R 59.6513
  21. 59 Chilton 59.7359
  22. 23 Kimball 59.8958
  23. 60 Harvey R 1:001315
  24. 32 Celis Jr. R 1:00.1824
  25. 39 Ferrucci R 1:00.2326

Session 2 Results

  1. 9 Dixon 58.3593
  2. 12 Power 58.3928
  3.  1 Newgarden 58.4637
  4. 98 Andretti 58.6123
  5. 26 Veach R 58.6625
  6. 18 Bourdais 58.7031
  7. 28 Hunter-Reay 58.7217
  8. 10 Jones 58.7278
  9. 27 Rossi 58.7401
  10. 60 Harvey R 58.7886
  11. 20 King R 58.8241
  12.  4 Leist R 58.8971
  13. 30 Sato 58.9552
  14. 88 Chaves 58.9719
  15.  5 Hinchcliffe 58.9813
  16. 19 Fittipaldi R 58.9823
  17. 15 Rahal 59.0364
  18. 22 Pagenaud 59.116
  19.  6 Munoz 59.1622
  20. 21 Pigot 59.2628
  21. 39 Ferrucci R 59.2909
  22. 23 Kimball 59.5157
  23. 14 Kanaan 59.5405
  24. 59 Chilton 59.6427
  25. 32 Celis Jr. R 59.6515

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