Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon driving the No.9 GE LED Lighting Honda with associate sponsorship from NTT DATA started the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg by topping the time sheets in the afternoon session. Despite setting the best time of 01:02.5591s.
Speaking following the session, Dixon commented by saying:
I think it started generally well. “This weekend, the car, we’ve done some good homework in the offseason for ourselves, how the competition stacks up. I think tomorrow will be interesting once the other competitors turn it up. We’ll have to see where it goes.
Dixon heads into the new season with forty Verizon IndyCar Series Series victories and will be hoping he start 2017 with a strong result. The New Zealander went on to say:
It’s Friday, it doesn’t pay anything, doesn’t mean anything, Hopefully what we learned today, we can continue on and help improve the car come tomorrow and, more importantly, for the race on Sunday.
Verizon IndyCar Series drivers are allocated an extra set of the red walled Firestone tire on a Friday and speaking about the extra set of tires, Dixon stated:
I think especially for newcomers maybe to the Verizon IndyCar Series, or rookies in general, I think it’s nice to feel how those tires come in, the difference you can get from them. “For the veterans, I don’t think it’s as much of an issue.
There were just two on track incidents during the day which saw Team Penske’s Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet hit the wall at Turn 10 in the opening session, while in the afternoon session, Andretti Autosport’s Takuma Sato hit the wall and brought out the red flag.
Will Power set the second fastest time of the afternoon session with a 01:02.8416s and speaking following the day of action, Power commented by saying:
Yeah, it was about the same lap I did it last year.” I couldn’t believe it, got in the wall again. It (was) a good session (in the afternoon), definitely made some progress on the car.
The drivers will return to the track on Saturday morning for practice three.