By: Spencer Neff
July 12,2019 | 3:45 PM
Looking to follow up on his 2017 pole and 2018 runner-up finish at the Honda Indy Toronto, Simon Pagenaud led the way during Friday’s second practice. The Indianapolis 500 winner posted a best lap of 59.8708 seconds during the final 45-minute session of the day.
Close behind Pagenaud was Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist. The 2016 Indy Lights winner at the 1.785-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place circuit finished the day .0604 seconds behind Pagenaud. Rosenqvist was the fastest rookie and Honda-powered entry in the 22-car field.
A winner at Toronto in 2004 and 2014 (Race 1), Sebastien Bourdais finished the afternoon in third. In fourth, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot placed another Chevrolet entry in the Top Five. After leading Friday morning’s practice, Scott Dixon ended the opening day in fifth.
As teams focused their attentions toward Saturday afternoon’s qualifying sessions, times began to pick up.
With all but two drivers running their best laps on the red-wall (alternate) Firestone tires, 16 drivers bested Dixon’s fastest time of 1m01.0723 from earlier in the day. Pagenaud and Rosenqvist were the only drivers to run sub-60 second laps today.
Although speeds picked up this afternoon, that also coincided with more on-track issues. Similar to Friday morning, several drivers found issues on track this afternoon.
In his return to the NTT IndyCar Series, Carlin Racing’s Sage Karam ran the most laps in the session. Despite completing 25 circuits, the 2013 Indy Lights Champion finished the day 21st overall.
After making contact with the wall on multiple occasions, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie Marcus Ericsson ended up 22nd, 1.7729 seconds back of Pagenaud. Ericsson was far from the only driver to have contact with the wall.
Turn 11 Issues Continue
During Friday morning’s first practice, a patch of epoxy in Turn 11 caused issues. In 45 minutes, three drivers caused red flags after spinning out.
In the afternoon, that same patch continued to frustrate several drivers. On two occasions, Alexander Rossi made contact with the wall. During the second one, he stalled in Turn 11 and caused a red flag.
Fortunately for Rossi, he was able to continue on after his Andretti Autosport crew made repairs to his car.
As he did in the first session, Takuma Sato brought out the red flag for Turn 11 contact as well. Afterward, a visibly frustrated Sato exited his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing as the team’s day ended early after completing just 3 laps.
In all, 424 laps were run. This being a slight increase from the first practice’s total of 383 laps.
With the first practice complete, here is the schedule for the remaining on-track sessions 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
10:20 – 11:05 a.m. – NTT IndyCar Series practice #3, NBC Sports Gold (live)
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