Laguna Seca IndyCar: Ryan Hunter-Reay fastest on Friday

IndyCar

Ryan Hunter-Reay put his Andretti Autosport Dallara-Honda on top in second practice for the IndyCar season finale at Laguna Seca.

All but two entries ran the softer red-sidewalled Firestone tyre compound to set their best times, and it was Andretti Autosport driver Hunter-Reay who clipped 0.02 seconds from Felix Rosenqvist’s Chip Ganassi Racing entry to edge to the top with a 1n09.9105s lap of the 2.238-mile course.

Behind Rosenqvist, morning pacesetter Colton Herta put his Harding Steinbrenner Racing Dallara-Honda into third, while Penske’s Simon Pagenaud was top title contender in fourth, bouncing back from an off into the Turn 1 gravel that he was able to extricate himself from.

Less lucky was Scott Dixon in the second Ganassi car, who simultaneously spun off at the penultimate and caused a red flag – the subsequent penalty costing him the last five minutes of the session.


How the title can be won

As it stands, Newgarden leads Rossi by 41 points, Penske team-mate and 2016 champion Simon Pagenaud by 42 points, and defending champion Scott Dixon by 85 points.

For Newgarden, the title can be wrapped up by finishing fourth or better as even if Rossi wins and scores all bonus points, as he would be unable to make up sufficient ground.

Even fifth could be enough for Newgarden, but only if Rossi and Simon Pagenaud fail to clinch any bonus points alongside victory at Laguna Seca.

A sixth title for Scott Dixon is looking very unlikely as he would require victory and a full set of bonus points, Newgarden finishing 23rd in a 24-car field, as well as Rossi and Pagenaud finishing sixth or worse.


Santino Ferrucci was fifth, just ahead of points leader Josef Newgarden in the second fastest Penske, while Will Power was seventh after a mild off at the last turn when attempting a second qualifying simulation.

Max Chilton in the second Carlin car and title contender Alexander Rossi stayed on the harder Firestone tyres for that session, ending up 15th and 23rd respectively.

The second part of the session, the so-called warm-up and pitstop practice, featured two red flags caused by Ed Jones and Herta failing to negotiate the first left-hander of the exceedingly tight pitlane entrance and stalling.

By leaving his fresh set of reds until this second part of the session, Rossi was easily able to emerge on top with a time eight tenths faster than his nearest opposition – team-mate Hunter-Reay.

Several teams minimised their pitstop practice in order to try to maximise their time on red tyres to check their duration.

Power ran 18 laps and saw a two-second drop-off, while team-mate Pagenaud also looked very strong across his albeit shorter red-tyre stint.

Rossi shut his engine down as he exited the Corkscrew on his final lap, as he had run out of fuel. He admitted to the media later it was simply to save the fuel pumps, but the car was able to coast from Turn 8A down the hill, negotiate pitlane entry and still reach his pitbox, albeit at painfully slow pace by the end.

Sebastien Bourdais’ Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan car did not take part in this ‘warm-up’ session due to neck pains that prompted a visit to IndyCar medical.

Practice two times

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m09.9105s 13
2 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m09.9305s 0.0200s 15
3 Colton Herta Harding Racing Dallara/Honda 1m09.9317s 0.0212s 14
4 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m10.1353s 0.2248s 11
5 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m10.2066s 0.2961s 6
6 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m10.2248s 0.3143s 14
7 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m10.2722s 0.3617s 10
8 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m10.3350s 0.4245s 13
9 Marcus Ericsson Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m10.3910s 0.4805s 12
10 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m10.4359s 0.5254s 11
11 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m10.4426s 0.5321s 14
12 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m10.4468s 0.5363s 16
13 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m10.4632s 0.5527s 14
14 Conor Daly Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m10.4633s 0.5528s 16
15 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m10.6346s 0.7241s 11
16 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m10.6620s 0.7515s 15
17 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m10.7009s 0.7904s 10
18 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m10.7061s 0.7956s 10
19 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m10.7730s 0.8625s 13
20 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m10.8807s 0.9702s 19
21 Ed Jones Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m10.8846s 0.9741s 13
22 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m10.9484s 1.0379s 13
23 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m11.0234s 1.1129s 13
24 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 1m11.0584s 1.1479s 14

‘Warm-up’ times

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m10.0988s 11
2 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m10.8926s 0.7938s 14
3 Colton Herta Harding Racing Dallara/Honda 1m10.8950s 0.7962s 11
4 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m11.0371s 0.9383s 14
5 Conor Daly Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m11.1182s 1.0194s 12
6 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m11.6939s 1.5951s 18
7 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m11.8590s 1.7602s 19
8 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m11.8839s 1.7851s 18
9 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m11.9168s 1.8180s 18
10 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m12.1161s 2.0173s 18
11 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m12.1296s 2.0308s 14
12 Ed Jones Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m12.1402s 2.0414s 14
13 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m12.3297s 2.2309s 19
14 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m12.4342s 2.3354s 17
15 Marcus Ericsson Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m12.5036s 2.4048s 19
16 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m12.6557s 2.5569s 19
17 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m12.6597s 2.5609s 14
18 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m12.6807s 2.5819s 19
19 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m12.7008s 2.6020s 14
20 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 1m12.8349s 2.7361s 19
21 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m13.0335s 2.9347s 18
22 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m13.3935s 3.2947s 16
23 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m13.4652s 3.3664s 14

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