By: Spencer Neff
August 23, 2019 | 9:45 PM
In Friday night’s final practice, Conor Daly concluded an eventful day on a positive note. With a best lap of 181.931 mph (24.7346 seconds) around the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, the Carlin Racing driver led the 60-minute session.
Making it a 1-2 for the Chevrolet brigade, pole-sitter Josef Newgarden ended u in second.
Looking for his fifth win of 2019 and second at the track, the Team Penske driver was just .0845 seconds off of Daly’s best lap. In third, Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach headed up the Honda contingent.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist rounded out the Top Five. Looking to rebound from his violent crash at Pocono, Rosenqvist was fastest among the field’s four rookies.
A busy session saw the 22-car field combine to run 1,365 laps. While placing 18th on the speed charts, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot ran a session-high 76 laps. While placing 12th in the session, A.J. Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan ran 46 laps, fewest of any driver.
Practice concludes with late-session drama
Aside from a few drivers navigating through oil-dry during qualifying, today’s on-track activity had been incident-free. In the waning minutes of final practice, that all changed.
For Newgarden, a near-perfect day ended with some engine trouble. Unfortunately for he and Team Penske, they were unable to diagnose the matter.
With less than five minutes remaining, Carlin Racing’s Charlie Kimball smacked the Turn 4 wall.
Fortunately, he was able to climb from his car and was promptly checked, cleared and released from the infield care center. Aside from Newgarden and Kimball, several other drivers made things interesting during final practice.
Drivers breaking in high groove
Prior to qualifying, Will Power discussed the lack of a second groove with NBCSN’s Robin Miller. During their conversation, the Team Penske driver noted that drivers were going to need to make it work.
In the final practice session, Power backed up his talk. From early on, lasts year’s race winner began running the second groove, despite apparent struggles.
For Dale Coyne Racing’s Santino Ferrucci, utilizing additional track space has been a major part of his rookie campaign. In contrast with Power, tomorrow night’s sixth-place starter radioed to his team that he felt fairly comfortable running on the high side of the race track.
During Saturday night’s race, the possible development of a second racing groove will be worth watching.
For Saturday night’s race, NBCSN again has television coverage at 7:00 pm local time. At 7:40, the command to start engines will be given, with an expected green flag time of 7:45 pm for the 248-lap event.
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Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR