Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon came out on top in a late flurry of fast laps to close this afternoon’s practice for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, setting notice that the track record may be in jeopardy this weekend.
Dixon, in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, clocked a lap of 1 minute, 9.8281 seconds (125.743 mph) around the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. It edged the top lap set by defending pole and race winner Will Power in the morning session, 1:09.8943 (125.624 mph), in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
Power holds the track record, established last year in the Firestone Fast Six segment of qualifying, at 1:09.4886 (126.357 mph).
“We rolled off (in the morning) not too bad,” said Dixon, the four-time series champion and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner. “We did the usual thing where we try a few different things and circle back to where we started. That’s how the afternoon at least ended. I don’t think you get a really good gist on speeds until tomorrow on most of the field.
“The car felt decent. … We’ll take what we learned today and hopefully tomorrow should be strong. It’s definitely going to be very tight.”
Simon Pagenaud, winner of the two most recent races this season and the championship leader by 48 points over Dixon, was third on the combined speed chart with a lap of 1:09.9894 (125.453 mph) this afternoon in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet. Pagenaud’s lap beat Graham Rahal by a scant 0.0002 of a second, with Rahal fourth on the combined chart at 1:09.9896 (also 125.453 mph) in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda.
Power and Pagenaud are the only two drivers to qualify in the top five in both previous Angie’s List races. The Aussie isn’t taking anything for granted in Verizon P1 Award qualifying Friday.
“Just based on the (practice) times, it’s going to be seriously close, very close,” Power said. “The top 10 is probably covered by a tenth or a tenth and a half (of a second) or something. It’s very tight.”
A third practice session is scheduled for 11-11:45 a.m. ET Friday prior to knockout qualifying beginning at 3 p.m. ET that leads to the Firestone Fast Six. Both sessions will be streamed live at RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
The 82-lap race, the fifth event on the 2016 schedule, starts at 3:50 p.m. ET Saturday. Coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
The Angie’s List Grand Prix weekend kicks off an epic month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil follows directly, with practice on the 2.5-mile oval May 16-20, qualifying May 21-22 and the historic race on May 29.