IndyCar

Texas IndyCar: Newgarden leads final practice, Harvey crashes

Harvey, who has qualified only 24th yet was fastest of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Hondas in a strangely poor event for the team so far, was on his 26th lap of the 1.5-mile track in final practice when his car understeered in the middle of Turn 2.

Harvey downchanged, his car started oversteering, and its right-rear wheel appeared barely to kiss the wall, but it was enough to unsettle the car and wrench it out of Harvey’s control.

It looped around and across the track to make heavy contact with the inside wall and then slid along the back straight to Turn 3.

Thankfully, Harvey – who struck a wall in St. Petersburg, too – was able to step from the car unaided, and the RLL team started to build up the spare tub for Sunday’s race.

By contrast, Harvey’s team-mates had a somewhat reassuring session, their cars clearly quick in the draft, with rookie Christian Lundgaard fourth and Graham Rahal seventh, but coming from the back of the field will be difficult without taking major strategy risks, given the difficulty of passing here.

Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

That said, before this final practice, seven drivers did endeavour to open up a second lane through the turns with a 30-minute session that involved Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Takuma Sato, Rahal, Ed Carpenter, Pato O’Ward and polesitter Felix Rosenqvist running the high line – exceptionally high line in the case of Castroneves.

The results appeared somewhat inconclusive, in that the drivers could keep their cars away from the wall, but were still having to feather the throttle in order to make it through, thus ensuring the high line was slower.

Come FP2 proper, Team Penske’s two-time IndyCar champion Newgarden went to the top of the speed charts on his 23rd of 73 laps, whereas his closest pursuer Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing set his best time in the draft on his 60th of 65 laps.

Polesitter Felix Rosenqvist proved his car was stable in the draft with third fastest ahead of Lundgaard, while Colton Herta led the Andretti Autosport contingent in fifth.

Takuma Sato of Dale Coyne Racing with RWR proved his quali pace could be backed up by race pace with sixth fastest.

As well as Lundgaard, two other drivers relatively unfamiliar with Texas Motor Speedway – aside from testing – Romain Grosjean and Devlin De Francesco, crept into the top 10, the latter surviving an alarming tail-happy moment out of Turn 4 to draft past his new team-mate.

Jimmie Johnson, who will be making his oval IndyCar debut, was a commendable 13th on a track where he won seven times in a NASCAR Cup car. He was also the busiest driver this afternoon, turning 100 laps.

Practice result

P

Name

FTime

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Team

1

Josef Newgarden

23.2354

23

73

223.108

Chevy

Team Penske

2

Scott Dixon

23.2752

60

65

222.726

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

3

Felix Rosenqvist

23.2819

57

93

222.662

Chevy

Arrow McLaren SP

4

Christian Lundgaard

23.3730

82

89

221.794

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

5

Colton Herta

23.3776

43

74

221.751

Honda

Andretti Autosport

6

Takuma Sato

23.3829

47

89

221.700

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing w/RWR

7

Graham Rahal

23.3916

32

63

221.618

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

8

Helio Castroneves

23.4041

38

71

221.500

Honda

Meyer Shank Racing

9

Romain Grosjean

23.4219

38

84

221.331

Honda

Andretti Autosport

10

Devlin DeFrancesco

23.4341

47

81

221.216

Honda

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

11

Alex Palou

23.4511

19

55

221.056

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

12

Pato O’Ward

23.4749

15

75

220.832

Chevy

Arrow McLaren SP

13

Jimmie Johnson

23.4850

63

100

220.737

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

14

Marcus Ericsson

23.5096

72

76

220.506

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

15

Kyle Kirkwood

23.5776

32

68

219.870

Chevy

AJ Foyt Enterprises

16

Scott McLaughlin

23.5975

8

76

219.684

Chevy

Team Penske

17

Alexander Rossi

23.6282

4

75

219.399

Honda

Andretti Autosport

18

Rinus VeeKay

23.6347

5

88

219.339

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

19

Will Power

23.6438

40

83

219.254

Chevy

Team Penske

20

Simon Pagenaud

23.6674

33

55

219.035

Honda

Meyer Shank Racing

21

Conor Daly

23.6841

10

56

218.881

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

22

Callum Ilott

23.7242

7

76

218.511

Chevy

Juncos Hollinger Racing

23

Ed Carpenter

23.7555

3

57

218.223

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

24

David Malukas

23.7736

28

89

218.057

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing with HMD

25

Jack Harvey

23.8260

6

25

217.577

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

26

Dalton Kellett

23.9263

2

41

216.665

Chevy

AJ Foyt Enterprises

27

JR Hildebrand

24.0716

4

44

215.358

Chevy

AJ Foyt Enterprises

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