By: Spencer Neff
August 31, 2019 | 2:16 PM
Yesterday, Colton Herta opened the Grand Prix of Portland weekend as the fastest driver in opening practice.
This morning, he repeated his Friday performance at the 12-turn, 1.964-mile Portland International Raceway. With a best lap of 57.9939 (121.916 mph), the Harding Steinbrenner Racing rookie again led the way.
Right behind Herta’s Honda-powered machine were the Team Penske Chevrolet entries of points leader Josef Newgarden and 2018 Portland pole winner Will Power.
Completing the Top Five were Honda drivers Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) and Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport). After finishes outside the Top 10 last Saturday night, the two championship contenders will look to regain momentum.
Also looking to rebound will be Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan’s Sebastien Bourdais. Moments after setting the fastest lap in yesterday’s second practice, the 2007 Portland winner crashed into the Turn 12 tire barriers. Late in this morning’s practice, teammate Santino Ferrucci also brought out a red flag for an on-track incident.
During the NBC Sports Gold practice telecast, Bourdais told NBCSN’s Kevin Lee his hand was still a little swollen. In the session, he notched the tenth-fastest time in the 23-car field.
At 3:00 pm local time, three-round “knockout-style” qualifying will begin. During this practice, just .965 seconds separated Herta from Ed Jones (Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa), setting the stage for what should be a competitive battle for the pole.
Tire Strategies Unfolding
During each road and street course race, teams are tasked with developing strategies for tire usage. On these circuits, they are give a primary (black-wall) and alternate (red-wall) Firestone tire.
As the weekend progresses, how teams choose to handle their allotment becomes a focal point, especially during qualifying and the race.
This weekend at Portland is no different. During the July 28 race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, drivers often found the primary tires to be the optimal set. Although the primary Firestone tires do not have as much grip and speed, the durability is greater.
During this afternoon’s qualifying and tomorrow’s 105-lap race, tire strategies will be at play, particularly with the championship still hanging in the balance.
Up Next: Here’s the remaining on-track schedule for this weekend’s Grand Prix of Portland. All streaming and/or television broadcast options are listed as well.
All NTT IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 98, XM 205, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA.
Live coverage of NTT IndyCar Series qualifying is available on Sirius 98, XM 205, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app. All times are local (PDT).
Saturday, Aug. 31
11 – 11:45 a.m. – NTT IndyCar Series practice #3, NBC Sports Gold (live)
3 p.m. – Firestone Fast Six Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), NBCSN (live)
Sunday, Sept. 1
11:58 a.m. – Driver introductions
12:35 p.m. – Command to start engines
12:42 p.m. – Grand Prix of Portland (105 laps/206.22 miles), NBC (live)
Note: After practice, IndyCar held a moment of silence for FIA F2 driver Anthoine Hubert. This morning, Hubert was fatally injured during the F2 Sprint Race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Open-Wheels would like to offer our condolences to his family and friends.
Header Image By Stephen King/INDYCAR