Newgarden Ahead of Dixon in Practice 2 at Sonoma

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Practice 2 for the Verizon IndyCar Series from Sonoma went green this afternoon. Warmer temperatures meant that lap times on the black side-walled Firestone primary tires were a tick or two slower than in the morning session as teams continued to improve their setups.

Josef Newgarden in the #1 Verizon machine took P1 with a time of 1:17.82 after sitting out the morning session with electrical issues. Championship leader Scott Dixon put his #9 PNC car in P2 with a time of 1:17.89.

Rookie Patricio O’Ward put the #8 Harding entry third with a time of 1:18.01. Rounding out the top 5 were Will Power in the #12 with a time of 1:18.03 and James Hinchcliffe who set a 1:18.24 in the #5.

All top 5 times were set on the red side-walled Firestone option tires, except for Pato O’Ward’s whose time was set with the primary tire. Championship contender Alexander Rossi continued to try and find speed from his #27 Andretti Honda as he posted a 1:18.39, good enough for sixth position.

The top 10 was rounded by Ed Jones with a 1:18.49, rookie Santino Ferrucci with a 1:18.60, rookie Pietro Fittipaldi with a 1:18.60, and this morning’s leader Ryan Hunter-Reay who posted a 1:18.61. The story so far looks to be Alexander Rossi’s team working to make setup changes that work around the eleven tricky turns at Sonoma while Scott Dixon becomes more and more comfortable in the #9.

The session was not free of incident. Santino Ferrucci had two off-track excursions at Turn 9 early in the session. Turn 9 is quickly proving to be a challenge for both rookies and veterans as Tony Kanaan had two offs at the same turn in the morning session.

Josef Newgarden also went off on his out lap at Turn 4 as he struggled to get the car slowed down as it came down the hill. The session was red flagged with 18 minutes remaining as the #10 Chip Ganassi car driven by Ed Jones went off at Turn 7 and briefly stalled. Jones was able to get re-fired and resume. Tony Kanaan found the dirt again, this time at Turn 3.

The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to the track tomorrow at 11 AM local time, 2 PM Eastern for Practice 3 followed up qualifying at 3 local, 6 Eastern. Stay up to date at Open-Wheels.com and catch qualifying on NBCSN at 8 PM Eastern. Follow @OpenWheels on Instagram for photos and videos from behind the scenes here at Sonoma!

Image courtesy of INDYCAR Media.

Justin Reschke

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