By: Spencer Neff
May 31, 2019 | 3:44 PM
In the Friday afternoon practice for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader, Alexander Rossi led the way. During the 45-minute session, the Andretti Autosport driver posted a fastest lap of 1m15.367s, more than a half-second ahead of the pack.
As was the case in the opening session this morning, Team Penske ran second. This time, Josef Newgarden would represent Roger Penske’s outfit in his de-facto home race.
When all was said and done, the 2017 Series champion clocked a best lap of 1m15.6641s. Later on, he ran a session-high 19 laps during the 30-minute warm-up/pit stop practice.
Backing up his fastest time from Practice 1 would be two-time Belle Isle winner Scott Dixon in third. Following Dixon were fellow two-time race winners Will Power and Graham Rahal to complete the top five.
After a frustrating two weeks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Marcus Ericsson began to rebound solidly in the Friday afternoon session.
By placing 11th in Practice 2, Ericsson was the fastest of the five rookies participating in this weekend’s race.
With a total of 652 laps completed, teams nearly doubled their activity from earlier in the day. Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Felix Rosenqvist has been taking advantage of the track time, as he logged 44 laps.
Conversely, a few of the veteran drivers opted for less track time. The trio of Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan), Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) and Max Chilton all turned just 24 laps – the fewest in the field.
Shortly after the session, teams took part in a 30-minute warmup and pit stop practice session. Once again, Andretti Autosport led the way around the 2.35-mile, 14-turn road course.
Ultimately, 2018 Race 2 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay topped the warmup chart with a lap at 1m15.9896s. Completing a 1-2 finish and a dominant afternoon for the team, Zach Veach slotted in second, despite logging just 10 laps, fewest of the session.
During the first session of the day, Dixon posted a fastest lap 1m16.7418s. With teams opting for the alternate (red wall) Firestone tires and preparing for qualifying setups, speeds climbed considerably.
In addition to the top four running laps within the 1m15s range, 13 of the 22 drivers bested Dixon’s top time from this morning.
Late in the session, Indianapolis 500 winner and points leader Simon Pagenaud made contact with the Turn 12 wall. Due to the contact, Pagenaud’s car suffered a broken toe link. The resulting red flag also saw the session come to an early end.
With practices now complete, the focus will now shift to qualifying and the race for each of the next two days.
At 10:45 on Saturday morning, two 12-minute sessions will be run to determine the starting lineup for that day’s 70-lap race. For this weekend’s qualifying, Group 1 will determine the inside of the grid. Meanwhile, Group 2 will determine the outside of the grid.
Saturday will conclude with the opening race of the doubleheader. The green flag for Race 1 is set for 3:50 p.m. and the race will be shown live on NBC.
For Sunday’s race, the same schedule will be followed for qualifying and racing. As with each IndyCar Series on-track session, the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network will also provide commentary via RaceControl.IndyCar.com – where you can also find timing and scoring.
Stayed tuned to Open-Wheels.com and our social media platforms for the latest on this weekend’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.
Header Image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.