Texas IndyCar: Herta leads, Rossi and Dixon looking strong in FP2

Colton Herta in the Harding Steinbrenner Racing-Honda topped the second practice session for tomorrow’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, but the no-tow laps of Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi suggest they are prime contenders for pole position this evening.

Texas IndyCar: Herta leads, Rossi and Dixon looking strong in FP2

Herta lapped the 1.5-mile oval in 23.304sec, an average speed of 222.451mph to lead Takuma Sato’s best effort for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda by 1.5mph.

However, Herta admitted he was aided by a tow, despite running qualifying-simulation low-drag setup, so he’s not expecting his speed to be meaningful. His fastest no-tow lap was 216.132mph, putting him 13th fastest.

However, Honda have reasons to be cheerful in that they owned the top eight speeds, with Alex Rossi (third overall) and Scott Dixon (sixth overall), the only drivers to break the 219mph barrier without drafting anyone.

Takuma Sato was third fastest, while Team Penske’s Will Power was fastest Chevy driver overall (fourth) and also in the no-tow laps (ninth, some 2.4mph slower than Dixon).

Marcus Ericsson was fifth overall (seventh no-tow) for Arrow Schmidt Peterson-Honda, with Graham Rahal (sixth no-tow) making it two RLLR cars in the top 10.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti), Josef Newgarden (Penske) and Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan) complete the top 10.

Power appeared to have a strong race setup, able to set 212mph speeds even after 35 laps on a stint. He also turned more laps than anyone else in the session.

The tire blistering problem appears to have been cured for all but a couple of drivers, so Firestone has elected to not use the back-up compound it brought should the newer softer right-side tires not hold up. Track temperatures were an average of 118degF.

Qualifying begins at 5.45pm local (Central) time with cars going out according to reverse entrant points.

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 United States Colton Herta
Harding Racing 71 23.3040 222.451
2 Japan Takuma Sato
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 62 23.4598 0.1558 0.1558 220.974
3 United States Alexander Rossi
Andretti Autosport 77 23.4853 0.1813 0.0255 220.734
4 Australia Will Power
Team Penske 106 23.5196 0.2156 0.0343 220.412
5 Sweden Marcus Ericsson
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 73 23.5277 0.2237 0.0081 220.336
6 New Zealand Scott Dixon
Chip Ganassi Racing 103 23.5662 0.2622 0.0385 219.976
7 United States Graham Rahal
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 70 23.5710 0.2670 0.0048 219.931
8 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay
Andretti Autosport 55 23.5737 0.2697 0.0027 219.906
9 United States Josef Newgarden
Team Penske 86 23.6042 0.3002 0.0305 219.622
10 France Sébastien Bourdais
Dale Coyne Racing 74 23.6172 0.3132 0.0130 219.501
11 United States Santino Ferrucci
Dale Coyne Racing 76 23.6196 0.3156 0.0024 219.479
12 United States Zach Veach
Andretti Autosport 74 23.6492 0.3452 0.0296 219.204
13 France Simon Pagenaud
Team Penske 76 23.6807 0.3767 0.0315 218.912
14 United States Charlie Kimball
Carlin 74 23.7074 0.4034 0.0267 218.666
15 United States Spencer Pigot
Ed Carpenter Racing 75 23.7174 0.4134 0.0100 218.574
16 Brazil Tony Kanaan
A.J. Foyt Enterprises 70 23.7178 0.4138 0.0004 218.570
17 United States Ed Carpenter
Ed Carpenter Racing 67 23.7302 0.4262 0.0124 218.456
18 Canada James Hinchcliffe
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 68 23.7459 0.4419 0.0157 218.311
19 United States Marco Andretti
Andretti Autosport 65 23.7503 0.4463 0.0044 218.271
20 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist
Chip Ganassi Racing 94 23.8282 0.5242 0.0779 217.557
21 United States Conor Daly
Carlin 91 23.8920 0.5880 0.0638 216.976
22 Brazil Matheus Leist
A.J. Foyt Enterprises 74 23.9017 0.5977 0.0097 216.888
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