As Honda drivers dominated both practices in the streets of Toronto on Friday, Scott Dixon was the ring leader by pacing each 45-minute session.
Drivers dipped under the 1-minute lap mark for the afternoon practice, improving substantially from morning lap times with the help of Firestone red-sidewalled alternate tires. Dixon negotiated his No. 9 PNC Bank Honda to a best lap time of 59.075s, over four tenths of a second quicker than runner-up Takuma Sato’s best time (59.511s).
Andretti Autosport was well-represented again in the second practice as both Marco Andretti (P3, 59.527s) and Alexander Rossi (P5, 59.584s) turned in top-five efforts.
While their teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay was 8th-fastest in the session, the former IndyCar champion continued a frustrating morning by scrubbing the wall again this afternoon and then finding the run-off area late in practice.
Graham Rahal was also quick for a second consecutive practice as the Ohio native turned in a fastest lap of 59.530 seconds, placing him 4th on the time sheets.
The first five drivers on the speed chart were Honda entries as Chevrolet could only place Spencer Pigot (6th) and Josef Newgarden (7th) inside the top-10. In total, 11 of the first 15 drivers were Honda representatives.
Part of that Chevrolet struggle includes the Team Penske camp. Normally strong on street circuits, the powerhouse team has been off of the mark thus far this weekend. While Newgarden was 7th in the session, Simon Pagenaud could only muster a quick lap that was 11th-quickest while Will Power was all the way down to 16th.
Team Canada’s James Hinchcliffe bounced back a bit from the morning practice session that saw him place 18th. Hinchcliffe was 10th-fastest in this afternoon practice while Robert Wickens regressed to 13th.
Making his first IndyCar start in Canada, rookie Zachary Claman de Melo was last place in 23rd for Dale Coyne Racing in this session.
There are a few other notables to mention towards the bottom of the charts this afternoon. Conor Daly continues to search for his footing with Harding Racing as he placed 17th for practice number two, while the Carlin teammates of Charlie Kimball (18th) and Max Chilton (22nd) remain a bit off of the pace on street courses – a common theme this year.
By the end of practice two, each driver had improved on their best time from the morning session. A whopping 877 laps were completed between the two practices on Friday, and Juncos Racing rookie Rene Binder contributed to that total with 46 laps to his credit – highest of all drivers.
These Verizon IndyCar Series pilots are really pushing the limits of the challenging Toronto street course, and that has been on display with multiple wall scrubs and driver spins.
Graham Rahal went around in session two and was fortunate to avoid the wall while it looked like Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ed Jones just clipped his left rear before spinning at the conclusion of the practice.
Look for IndyCar’s best to continue pushing limits for final practice and qualifications tomorrow ahead of Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto.
Saturday action begins at approixmately 9:40 a.m. Eastern with coverage of Verizon IndyCar Series final practice on RaceControl.IndyCar.com. Qualifications for the Honda Indy Toronto will be later in the afternoon, starting at 1:55 p.m. Eastern.
Sunday there will be one final warm-up session at 11:40 a.m. Eastern before the green flag flies for 85 laps of action at 3:35 p.m Eastern.
Stay tuned to Open-Wheels for the latest on all Verizon IndyCar Series news.
Image courtesy of Matt Fraver/INDYCAR Media.