As expected from his performance yesterday, Josef Newgarden took an early lead in Saturday’s practice session, although ultimately finished the session in twelfth position.
The top of the charts was quickly claimed by Alexander Rossi, later joined by Ryan Hunter-Reay. Even Scott Dixon was four-tenths of a second behind Rossi and could not quite catch up.
And they were all focused on holding off Graham Rahal, who pushed hard for the front.
Which means no one saw Robert Wickens coming for the lead … maybe because immediately after he set the fastest lap and crested the Turn 6 hill, he went wide and barely saved the car from a spin.
With just minutes remaining in the practice session, Zach Veach touched grass on both sides of the track coming out of Thunder Valley at Turn 13. He managed to get himself back on track and pull a U-turn, narrowly missing Hunter-Reay’s machine before stalling it on track.
Simon Pagenaud, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Will Power and Takuma Sato filled in the rest of the top ten.
The four-plus mile track of Road America in Elkhart Lake means that a lot can change in just one lap … much less in a 45 minute practice session. The leader in Canada Corner might not be the leader by the time they get around to Hurry Downs.
Saturday’s track conditions were very different from Friday’s practice session. Although ambient temperatures were the same, Friday’s overcast skies meant the track was in cloud cover all day. The sun refused to stop shining Saturday morning, giving drivers the heat to consider in addition to the elevation changes as they adjusted to the new aero kit.
The IndyCar field will qualify for Sunday’s race Saturday afternoon, using the Firestone Fast Six format. The session will go live at 4:00 p.m. Eastern and can be viewed on RaceControl.IndyCar.com with commentary from our friends at the IndyCar Radio Network.
Image courtesy of Chris Jones/INDYCAR Media.