Texas IndyCar: Dixon leads practice, three incidents for rivals

Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda’s five-time champion Scott Dixon led opening practice for the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, the opening round of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series, but there were accidents for one rookie and two veterans.

Texas IndyCar: Dixon leads practice, three incidents for rivals
 

In the half-hour designated for Texas first-timers and rookies, Rinus VeeKay was on his 12th lap when he spun his Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet through Turn 4 and smacked the wall, damaging his left-side suspension and his gearbox. He missed the rest of the session.

Later his oval-track teammate and car owner Ed Carpenter had a very strange looking incident on the exit of Turn 4, having just reported major push (understeer) and perhaps too abruptly came off the throttle. The car spun, which caused two of its Firestones to puncture, but the car only kissed the wall with a rear tire and appeared otherwise undamaged.

The session had just gotten started again when 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay went too high out of Turn 2 and smacked his right-side tires into the wall, bounced off and then lost control.

 

In the qualifying sims that came thick and fast at the end of the session, Dixon emerged quickest with a 215.995mph lap, 1.5mph faster than his closest pursuer, the Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport-Honda of Colton Herta.

"We were trying to run through lots of things," said Dixon who has won three times at Texas Motor Speedway. "We were on a bit of a time crunch for doing qual sims and race-running stuff. Probably didn’t get to accomplish as much as we would have liked on the longer run. We had a bit of a dash issue where the ducts pop open, so we had to fix that.

"The car felt pretty good, but it’s hard to tell. Seems like there was a lot of separation between quick cars and slow cars, and it took quite a bit of time for some people to get up to speed which was interesting as well. And then we worked on pitstop practice to try and make sure we were covering all bases. There was a lot to get through in really not a lot of time."

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Herta’s former Indy Lights teammate Pato O’Ward was fastest Chevrolet runner in third with his final lap in the Arrow McLaren SP entry nudging him ahead of the Andretti cars of Zach Veach and Marco Andretti, and last year’s Texas polesitter, Takuma Sato in the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda.

Team Penske-Chevrolet’s reigning Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud and reigning IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden were seventh and eighth ahead of the second RLLR car of Graham Rahal, the second Ganassi car of Felix Rosenqvist, current TMS lap record holder Charlie Kimball of AJ Foyt Racing, and the third Penske of Will Power.

Alex Palou was quickest of the rookies in the Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh entry, in 14th.

Teams also got to practice tear-off removal in simulated pitstops.

 

Qualifying begins at 4pm local/Central Time.

Practice results:

Pos. Driver Time Gap Mph Engine Team
1 Scott Dixon 24.001 --.---- 215.995 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
2 Colton Herta 24.169 0.1683 214.491 Honda Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport
3 Patricio O'Ward 24.188 0.1869 214.326 Chevy Arrow McLaren SP
4 Zach Veach 24.191 0.1900 214.298 Honda Andretti Autosport
5 Marco Andretti 24.194 0.1939 214.264 Honda Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian
6 Takuma Sato 24.244 0.2431 213.829 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
7 Josef Newgarden 24.303 0.3023 213.308 Chevy Team Penske
8 Simon Pagenaud 24.313 0.3122 213.221 Chevy Team Penske
9 Graham Rahal 24.318 0.3173 213.176 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
10 Felix Rosenqvist 24.397 0.3968 212.482 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
11 Charlie Kimball 24.418 0.4178 212.299 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
12 Will Power 24.428 0.4275 212.215 Chevy Team Penske
13 Marcus Ericsson 24.441 0.4402 212.104 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
14 Alex Palou 24.445 0.4440 212.071 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh
15 Oliver Askew 24.484 0.4836 211.728 Chevy Arrow McLaren SP
16 Alexander Rossi 24.485 0.4847 211.719 Honda Andretti Autosport
17 James Hinchcliffe 24.498 0.4973 211.610 Honda Andretti Autosport
18 Ed Carpenter 24.551 0.5502 211.154 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
19 Tony Kanaan 24.552 0.5515 211.143 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
20 Conor Daly 24.556 0.5555 211.108 Chevy Carlin
21 Ryan Hunter-Reay 24.609 0.6088 210.651 Honda Andretti Autosport
22 Santino Ferrucci 24.613 0.6128 210.617 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan
23 Rinus VeeKay 25.056 1.0558 206.893 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
24 Jack Harvey 25.260 1.2593 205.226 Honda Meyer Shank Racing

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