Sato sets the pace in third Honda Indy Toronto practice

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Takuma Sato

Combined Practice Results

While Scott Dixon stole the headlines for much of Friday’s on-track action, Takuma Sato was lurking in the shadows.  The Japanese product will be on everyone’s watch list moving forward as he set the weekend’s fastest lap while pacing the field in Saturday morning practice.

Each driver in the 23-car field bested their times from Friday, while six individuals reached lap times in the 58-second range.  Sato led the way with a quick lap at 58.677s, while Josef Newgarden (58.775s) and Will Power (58.875s) followed closely behind in the top three.

While Newgarden and Power climbed the charts in a Penske resurgence from Friday, Newgarden would end up in the tire barrier at the conclusion of the session when he locked up the brakes in the track’s final turn complex.

When Newgarden arrived on the scene, Robert Wickens had already nosed his No. 6 Lucas Oil Honda into the tires in a similar fate.

Wickens was 7th quickest this morning, leading all Canadian drivers in practice number three.  James Hinchcliffe was 14th in this session while Dale Coyne Racing’s Zachary Claman de Melo was 21st.

Alexander Rossi, Spencer Pigot, and Dixon continued their quick starts to the weekend by rounding out the Fast Six in this session.  Pigot continues to ride the wave of momentum set-up by a podium finish at Iowa last weekend.

After Pigot’s 5th place lap in practice, you won’t find another Chevrolet driver on the time chart until Simon Pagenaud in 13th.  While Chevrolet drivers filled three of the top five spots, Honda still has a firm grip on the top-12 with nine representatives in the order.

Graham Rahal, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Jones, Marco Andretti, and Sebastien Bourdais made up spots 8-12 as part of the Honda party.  Seven of the final eight drivers on the timesheet were Chevrolet entries.

It has been quite the trying weekend for A.J. Foyt Racing thus far.  Tony Kanaan’s quickest lap has him down to 16th on the combined practice charts while rookie Matheus Leist sits 19th in his ABC Supply Chevrolet.

Team boss A.J. Foyt is not at the track this weekend while he recovers from back surgery.

Thus far, Charlie Kimball is the only driver that hasn’t reached the 59-second lap mark.  That includes each of the six rookies posting laps under one minute for their flyers in practice number three, which saw a couple of minor incidents.

As noted before, Newgarden and Wickens reached the tire barrier at the end of the session. Rahal spun his No. 15 Honda in an identical fashion to his spin yesterday, though no damage was sustained.

The man of the day on Friday, Dixon, even reached the run-off area after locking up the brakes.

Qualifications for Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto will kick off at 1:55 p.m. Eastern time this afternoon.  The sessions can be viewed live at RaceControl.IndyCar.com, or by tape delay on NBCSN at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.

The 34th Honda Indy Toronto will go green Sunday, July 15 at 3:35 p.m. on NBCSN and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Image courtesy of Chris Jones/INDYCAR Media.

Tanner Watkins

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