Dixon leads final warm-up for INDYCAR Grand Prix

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Under mild and overcast conditions, Verizon IndyCar Series teams went through one final dress rehearsal before Saturday afternoon’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Rebounding from a difficult day of practice and qualifying on Friday, Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon finished the 30-minute session on the top of the time sheets while he was followed closely by today’s pole sitter Will Power.

Dixon’s quick lap of 1:10.815s just edged Power’s lap of 1:10.837s.

The session wasn’t without excitement, though, as Marco Andretti exited early with what appeared to be an engine issue on his No. 98 U.S. Concrete Honda.  The team hurriedly rushed his machine back to the garage area and will have about three hours to get it back in working condition.

Following Andretti’s misfortune, the session was halted once again as geese set up camp in the final left-right complex of the IMS road course.  After about five minutes track safety crews were able to usher the wildlife to safety.

Other incidents included Graham Rahal spinning his No. 15 United Rentals Honda about midway through the session as well as Ryan Hunter-Reay requiring a tow after stalling his No. 28 DHL Honda at the conclusion of the session.

Returning to his first Verizon IndyCar Series event since Sonoma in September, Helio Castroneves got to sit out the final five minutes of the session after taking the checkered flag twice in qualifications yesterday attempting to get one extra hot lap.  The penalty was served without appeal.

Running through the time sheet, the Fast Six were composed of Dixon, Power, Hunter-Reay, Jordan King, Max Chilton and Tony Kanaan.

King continues his consistent pace inside the top-10 this weekend by running a lap just 0.09s off of Dixon’s hot lap and will serve as a candidate to pick up his first career win if things fall a bit in his favor.

Other notables include Zachary Claman de Melo placing 7th – a great showing thus far for him while subbing in for Pietro Fittipaldi in that Dale Coyne Racing No. 19 machine.  Josef Newgarden with 8th quickest with Sebastien Bourdais right behind him in 9th.

Team Penske teammates Simon Pagenaud (10th) and Helio Castroneves (11th) practiced around the same 10th place position they have hovered around all weekend.

Outside front row starter Robert Wickens was 13th quick while his teammate James Hinchcliffe was 21st on the leaderboard.

Separate of Hunter-Reay, the Andretti stable was not as quick with Alexander Rossi placing 18th, rookie Zach Veach in 19th and Marco Andretti without a valid time with his engine issue.

The INDYCAR Grand Prix will hit the airwaves at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on ABC with the command to start engines occurring at 3:43 p.m. Eastern.  85 laps of action are on tap and you can find timing and scoring information as well as the IMS Radio Network broadcast live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

Stay to Open-Wheels for updates through the day, live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Tanner Watkins

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