Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon in the No.9 NTT DATA Honda says that the competition is extremely close between all the cars at this early stage in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season as the New Zealander led the way in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Dixon who ended the session just ahead of Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter Reay was happy with the performance of the car however did say that it is only practice but that the team were happy with how the four cars rolled off the trucks so far this weekend.
Dixon also said that he felt he had the pace to win the season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg last month but that he was happy to see Dale Coyne Racing and Sebastien Bourdais in victory lane. Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud in the No.1 Menards Chevrolet ended the final practice session in third place just ahead of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Honda. The Mayor of HinchTown led the way for much of the session before stopping on track and having to receive a tow back to pit-road.
Hinch will be hoping that the team can sort out the issue and get him back out and up to speed for qualifying later this afternoon.
Takuma Sato has settled in well with Andretti Autosport ending the session on a track where he won in 2013 in fifth place just ahead of Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 PennGrade Honda.
Will Power was seventh fastest in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet ending the session just ahead of his Penske team mate Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hum Chevrolet while St Pete race winner Sebastien Bourdais was ninth fastest for Dale Coyne Racing despite bringing out the red flag early on in the session after brushing the wall slightly.
Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi in the No.98 NAPA Auto Parts Honda rounded out the top ten for Andretti Herta Autosport.
Helio Castroneves in the No.3 AAA Insurance Chevrolet ended the session just outside the top ten in eleventh place. Charlie Kimball in the No.83 Tresiba Honda will start the race from 12th.
Mikhail Aleshin was 13th place for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Conor Daly will start the race from 14th place in the No.4 ABC Supply Co Chevrolet while Tony Kanaan who suffered an electrical issue during the session ended the morning in 15th place after coming out on track with just minutes remaining in the session.
Spencer Pigot was 16th fastest just ahead of Marco Andretti in the No.27 UFD Honda who ended the session just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing’s Ed Jones.
Max Chilton was 19th for Chip Ganassi Racing just ahead of JR Hildebrand in the No.21 Preferred Freezer Chevrolet while Conor Daly rounded out the order in 21st place in the No.4 ABC Supply Co Chevrolet.