By: Tanner Watkins
July 26, 2019 | 3:00 PM
Friday’s second practice in preparation for this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 had a little more intrigue than the morning session provided. In the end, Colton Herta led the way while a championship contender ran into trouble and a rookie stirred up some emotion.
The practice started somewhat calmly as the majority of this 23-car field didn’t take to the track until the midpoint of the session. Through the first fifteen minutes (of an alotted 45) only 10 drivers had posted times.
Action began to pick up in the practice’s second half, which included many drivers testing out the Firestone alternate compound tire for the first time this weekend. The times tightened, and by the end of practice, the first 15 drivers were separated by less than a second.
In this morning’s session, only the first 12 drivers were spaced by 1 second or less.
By the session’s end, the rookie Herta was quickest with a lap at 1m5.7292s – two-tenths of a second quicker than the next driver. Simon Pagenaud was runner-up with a lap at 1m5.9313s, and his Team Penske teammate Will Power was P3 with a best lap of 1m5.9935s.
Rounding out the top ten were Felix Rosenqvist (P5, 1m6.0218s), Ryan Hunter-Reay (P6, 1m6.0286s), James Hinchcliffe (P7, 1m6.0318s), Matheus Leist (P8, 1m6.1267s), part-timer Jack Harvey (P9, 1m6.2480s) and Spencer Pigot (P10, 1m6.3491s).
While the first practice faced very little in the way of off-track incidents and stoppages, the drivers pushed the envelope a bit more in the afternoon.
Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi and Herta all found their way off-track at some point in the session, and five-time champion Scott Dixon had a moment of his own when he did a half-spin without making any wall or car contact.
Finally, Josef Newgarden brought out the only red flag of the session when he backed his blue and white No. 2 Chevrolet into the tire barrier with about five minutes left in practice. The Tennessee native’s car sustained rear wing damage and did not return to practice.
Out of the five drivers with notable incidents, only Herta was able to finish inside the top ten positions on the time chart.
Following Newgarden’s red flag, INDYCAR race control allowed the remaining 22 drivers one complete lap before signaling the end of practice. While many drivers slowly rolled away from pit road to try and build a gap, rookie RC Enerson took that opportunity to pass both Tony Kanaan and the aforementioned Herta – which the two drivers took exception to after practice.
Kanaan and Herta both visited Enerson’s pit box upon the completion of that one final lap and voiced their displeasure, before Kanaan later explained his frustrations to Robin Miller and the NBC Sports Gold audience.
That will be all for on-track IndyCar action today from Mid-Ohio. The teams will be back at it in the morning in preparation for Saturday afternoon’s qualifications session, with one final 45-minute practice going green at 10:30 AM Eastern.
Qualifying for the Honda Indy 200 is tomorrow at 2:30 PM Eastern on NBCSN, and all sessions can be streamed via the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network by visiting RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
Stay tuned for continued coverage of IndyCar on Open-Wheels.com!
Header image by Matt Fraver/INDYCAR.