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Practice report
IndyCar Detroit

IndyCar Detroit: Dixon quickest in second practice, DeFrancesco wrecks

Scott Dixon set the fastest time in second practice as IndyCar returned to the streets of downtown Detroit for the first time since 1991, as Devlin DeFrancesco crashed hard.

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Having raced on nearby Belle Isle Island from 1992, Penske Entertainment Corp decided to revive the downtown circuit for the IndyCar event with a new 1.7-mile, nine-turn layout in the shadow of the General Motors Renaissance Center.

Teams and drivers got their second taste of the circuit in a 45-minute session on Saturday morning, the lack of grip evident when Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta overshot a corner on his installation lap while practicing passing Marcus Armstrong’s Chip Ganassi Racing car.

A red flag was required after only four minutes, as Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden coasted into the Turn 8 run-off and stalled while attempting a spin turn.

The second was for Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing) doing the exact same, and mirrored by Alex Palou (Ganassi) and Herta for the third and fourth.

The fifth red was for an altogether different reason, as DeFrancesco pounded the Turn 7 wall head-on, smashing the nose and right-side of his Andretti Autosport car against the concrete wall. The impact was hard enough to shift one of the concrete blocks.

“Just lost the rear through [Turns] 6 and 7, definitely annoying ahead of qualifying,” he said.

 

Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti) set the early pace at 1m03.5658s, but his time was beaten by Dixon’s 1m03.2317s for Ganassi with 15 minutes to go.

After the lengthy red for DeFrancesco’s shunt, the session restarted with less than 10 minutes remaining but with so many cars on track, finding a clear lap was almost impossible.

Will Power (Team Penske) somehow found a gap to go P2 with 1m03.4627s, but then half spun into a tyre stack. He finished the session a tenth ahead of Kirkwood.

Palou was fourth, almost half a second down on his pacesetting team-mate, ahead of Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske), Romain Grosjean (Andretti, who also improved late on), Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren), Armstrong and Callum Ilott (Juncos).

A single stack of tyres has been removed from the exit of Turn 1 to allow more space for drivers to run closer to the wall and increase the minimum corner speed.

Ilott brushed the tyres early on but got away with it.

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