Defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing who is the defending Texas winner was the fastest driver in a rain shortened opening practice session on Thursday evening ahead of Saturday’s DXC Technology 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
The Iceman set a fastest speed of 219.308MPH and speaking following the session he said:
“Unfortunately, today we just ran into weather. It’s nice to come in here and talk, but it’s early days on the weekend and we really haven’t even gotten started. The PNC Bank car feels decent right out of the gate and I hope we can get some additional track time tomorrow from INDYCAR to help with dialing in the cars.”
Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing were second and third respectively and speaking following the action, Sato said:
I feel good. Honestly, I think it’s a bit early to say for the tires and downforce and stuff. I don’t know if Scott (Dixon) (also said this in his press conference), but we had only few laps, to be honest. Did not even get through, I don’t know, half of the stint, I wouldn’t think. I think Firestone did a great job to bring the tire that has a really good feeling, solid feeling, more downforce than last year. But not only that, I think Firestone doing a great job. So, I was obviously looking forward to a little bit more traffic runs, to go through the stint and see how the balance shift will be. But, obviously, with the rain, we cannot do anything at the moment.”
Graham Rahal commented on his session saying:
Right off the bat, the Fleet Cost & Care car was pretty competitive. The speed was there, which was nice. When I saw the speed flash up on my second or third lap, it was a 215 (mph) already, which was a little bit of a surprise. It wasn’t a great tow, and yet the speed was there, so the car’s got some pace. I think both of ours (Takuma Sato) do, so we’ve just got to do some tweaking overnight. The race is going to be a big guess at this point because it’s going to be hotter and the truck race is before ours, but in general, I feel pretty good.”
It was a great opening session for Charlie Kimball in the No.23 Fiap Chevrolet for Carlin Racing as the Californian was the fastest Chevrolet in fourth place with a speed of 217.503MPH and speaking following the session he said:
We’re coming out of today with a great baseline, even with the session cut short. We had a small electronic issue at the beginning of the session, really just a weird little gremlin, but once we got running, we found that we had a really good foundation. The car was really solid in both traffic and in clean air – it just felt really good out there. Unfortunately, the rain came through before we were able to start working through our test list and developing the car, but I’m pretty happy with how the No. 23 Fiasp Carlin Chevrolet rolled off the truck. I’m looking forward to seeing what we have for qualifying tomorrow.”
Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet was fifth for Team Penske and speaking following the session he said:
“It was a good session for the Verizon Chevy team. I think we got the car in a reasonable window, so we just need to continue working on it. With practice getting cut short, everyone is in the same boat for tomorrow. We’re going to have to try setting the car up in hot temperatures, which is always difficult to understand, so we’ll just do our best. We’re ready to work hard to figure out the best setup prior to qualifying.”
Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi in the No.27 GESS Capstone Honda was sixth just ahead of Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta in the No.88 GESS Capstone Honda was seventh.
Zach Veach in the No.26 Gainbridge Honda was eighth for Andretti Autosport with a speed of 216.840MPH ending the session just ahead of his team mate Ryan Hunter Reay.
Ed Carpenter rounded out the top ten in the No.20 Autogeek Chevrolet.
Sebastian Bourdais was 11th just ahead of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Electronics Honda. Speaking following the session the Mayor of HinchTown said:
“It’s unfortunate that the rain came and shortened the session, but I’m certainly happy that we got a few runs in. The No. 5 Arrow car feels better off the truck than we were at this point last year, so it’s a reason to be optimistic. We were dealing with truck rubber (from series on track previously) that session, so it’s not 100 percent indicative of what we’ll be racing on, but it’s a good start.”
Points leader Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Fitzgerald Chevrolet was 13th just ahead of Tony Kanaan in the No.14 ABC Supply Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing.
Spencer Pigot was 15th just ahead of Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 DXC Technology Chevrolet.
Santino Ferrucci was 17th just ahead of Marcus Ericsson in the No.7 Arrow Electronics Honda. Speaking following the session the Swede said:
What an amazing day. The sun was shining, then it was raining, then there was a beautiful rainbow. Seriously though, it was good to be back. I did my first oval test here a few months ago now and I’ve gotten some experience on ovals since. It was cool to see the difference from where I was at and I was feeling a lot more comfortable than, obviously, the first time I was on an oval when I was here last time. With that said though, it’s a very different type of track compared to Indy (Indianapolis Motor Speedway). Today, I was still building up to it through the session, and unfortunately, the rain came. Not ideal for me because I’m still learning every lap that I’m out on the oval, it’s still a process for me. The Arrow SPM guys gave me a solid car to work with. I think even with the lack of running, we’re going into tomorrow with a good feeling, so hopefully, we can have some nicer weather then.”
Mathues Matt Leist was 19th just ahead of Felix Rosenqvist and Marco Andretti in the No.98 US Concrete Honda while Conor Daly rounded out the order for Carlin Racing.