By: Spencer Neff
July 13,2019 | 10:56 AM
This morning, the 22 drivers of the NTT IndyCar Series took to the 1.785-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit in Toronto. Running a 45-minute session prior to qualifying in preparation for Sunday’s 85-lap Honda Indy Toronto, Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud once again led the way.
After posting the quickest time during yesterday’s combined practice, the 2017 pole sitter and 2018 runner-up turned in a best lap of 59.3651 (108.306 mph).
Just behind Pagenaud, Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Felix Rosenqvist continues to have an impressive weekend. Slotting in second, Rosenqvist was the fastest Honda-powered entry, just .0702 seconds behind Pagenaud. With 27 laps completed, Rosenqvist was also the session’s busiest driver.
In third, Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay will look to repeat his 2012 win despite some troubles during the final practice session. In contrast with Rosenqvist, Hunter-Reay ran jsugt 13 laps, fewest of any driver this session.
Rounding out the Top Five, fellow rookies Santino Ferrucci of Dale Coyne Racing and Colton Herta of Harding Steinbrenner Racing joined Rosenqvist in the Top Five.
In all, Honda occupied positions 2-9 on the final practice charts. Bookending the Top 10 with Pagenaud for Chevrolet was Ed Carpenter Racing’s Specer Pigot.
Practice 3 By the Numbers
When all was said and done, the Top 12 cars run a fastest lap under the 1-minute mark. Less than 1 second separated Pagenaud from 17th overall Ed Jones. It is a gap of 2.0269 seconds from first to Carlin Racing’s Sage Karam in 22nd. In all, the drivers combined to run 439, most of any session this weekend.
Considering how narrow the gap is between the field, qualifying this afternoon will be intense as always. Adding to the intrigue, drivers continue to wrestle with the difficult track surface. In Final Practice, a certain spot on the track proved particularly frustrating.
Turn 8 provides trouble for two veterans
On Friday, Turn 11 was the trouble spot on track. Throughout both sessions, multiple drivers were caught off guard by a patch of epoxy on the racing surface. Among the drivers to spin in the area included Will Power, Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi.
Today, the Exhibition Place circuit proved to be just as tricky for the drivers. This time, it was Turn 8 providing the intrigue.
Late in the session, three-time race winner Scott Dixon spun in Turn 8 but was able to retire. Soon after, 2012 race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay spun into the tire barriers in the exact same area. Hunter-Reay’s contact brought out the first red flag of the session.
Although that was the end of the major contact in Turn 8, another red flag was brought out a few minutes later. With less than three minutes remaining in the session, Graham Rahal spun into the Turn 1 tire barriers.
After a brief red flag, the series granted all drivers an additional timed lap prior to the session’s conclusion. Because of his red flag-causing incident, Rhaal was not permitted to partake in the extra timed lap.
With the third and final practice complete, here is the schedule for the rest of the weekend for the NTT IndyCar Series. The schedule is courtesy of IndyCar and is subject to change.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Saturday, July 13
2 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), NBCSN (live), NBC Sports Gold (live).
Sunday, July 15
12:15 – 12:45 p.m. – NTT IndyCar Series warmup, NBC Sports Gold (live)
2:57 p.m. – Driver introductions
3:35 p.m. – Command to start engines
3:42 p.m. – Honda Indy Toronto (85 laps/151.81 miles), NBCSN/SportsNet 1 (Live)
Stick with Open-Wheels.com and our social media platforms for updated coverage throughout the weekend.
Header Image By Jesse Elliott/Open-Wheels