The Verizon IndyCar Series took to the track Friday afternoon, as a one-hour practice marked the first on-track time of the weekend at the 1.022-mile ISM Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.
Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud was fastest in the session,with a best speed of 182.375 MPH. the 2017 race winner was followed on the charts by A.J. Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan, giving Chevrolet a 1-2 finish in the first session. Kanaan won at the track in 2003 and 2004.
Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan’s Sebastien Bourdais, the winner of the season opener in St. Petersburg, was third. Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi followed their Honda stablemate to round out the top five.
Kanaan’s teammate Matheus Leist was the fastest rookie in the session in ninth, posting a best speed of 180.604 MPH.
The session was completed without incident.
10 cars finished practice with a best lap speed of over 180 MPH and the 23-car field was separated by 1.2457 seconds.
The change to the UAK18 (Universal Aero Kit) has changed speeds dramatically on track. Practice speeds are more than 10 MPH off of what they had been last year. The new aero kit has reduced downforce significantly and moved the topside downforce to the underside of the Dallara DW 12 chassis.
Next up today will be qualifying at 8:00 Eastern time. The session will see all 23 cars run two solo laps each and the driver who posts the fastest average speed will win the Verizon P1 Award for tomorrow night’s 250-lap race.
At 11:00 Eastern tonight, the cars will again take to the track for a one-hour final practice session. The Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix will start at 9:40 Eastern on Saturday night.
Stick with Open-Wheels.com throughout the weekend and follow us on our various social media platforms for updates throughout the weekend.
Image Courtesy of INDYCAR Media