All Four Championship Contenders in Top 5 of Practice 3 from Sonoma

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SONOMA, Calif. – Practice 3 kicked off go-fast day for the Verizon IndyCar Series from Sonoma Raceway. Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi found themselves separated by roughly a tenth and a half on the timesheets, setting up what is becoming an increasingly important qualifying session later this afternoon.

All four championship contenders finished the session in the top 5. Scott Dixon led the way in his Honda powered #9 with a time of 1:17.9697. He was followed by Penske man Will Power in the #12 car with a time of 1:17.9793. Andretti drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi set times of 1:18.1238 and 1:18.1256 respectively.

Rossi’s time was his best of the weekend to this point. Rounding out the top 5 was the Penske car of Josef Newgarden with a time of 1:18.1269. Dixon, Power, Rossi, and Newgarden are all still mathematically alive in the championship, with Rossi having the clearest path to unseating Scott Dixon at the top of the standings as the checkered flag falls tomorrow afternoon.

The dirt at Turn 9 ended up on more Firestone tires this morning. Santino Ferrucci wasted no time checking out the dirt at Turn 9 once again early in the session. Will Power, Zach Veach, and Takuma Sato also tested the rally configuration at Turn 9 at various other points throughout the morning.

The cars appear to get loose on the entry to Turn 9 in cooler conditions. Carlos Munoz brought out the red flag to end the session after spinning the #6 through the tricky Turn 9. Sebastien Bourdais sat out most of the session after running just four laps with a clutch issue. The team anticipates having the #18 Sealmaster car repaired in plenty of time for qualifying.

Qualifying begins at 3 PM local time, 6 Eastern, with the Firestone Fast Six on track at 4 PM, 7 Eastern. Coverage of qualifying can be seen on NBCSN beginning at 8 PM Eastern. Stay tuned to Open-Wheels.com for continuing coverage from Sonoma and be sure to follow @OpenWheels on Instagram for exclusive photos and videos from the IndyCar paddock and pitlane.

Image courtesy of INDYCAR Media.

Justin Reschke

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