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Practice report

Nashville IndyCar: Herta keeps top spot in FP2 which ends in chaos

Colton Herta extended his margin over his rivals in second practice for Nashville’s Music City Grand Prix, but the remaining times hardly acted as a form guide, as the session ended with multiple spins and red flags.

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport Honda

Chris Jones

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon spun on his out-lap at Turn 4 – where the track’s major bump had been ground down overnight – bringing out a red flag.

Action resumed with 38 minutes to go, and Alexander Rossi was the first to duck below 1m17s, his fifth lap yielding a 1m16.9814s. Then Ganassi’s points leader Alex Palou delivered a 1m16.5879s, just 0.0004s off Colton Herta’s pace-setting time from Friday’s opening practice.

Pato O’Ward, who missed most of yesterday’s session after crashing on his eighth lap, delivered a 1m16.6s to move into second.

Rossi then set the fastest lap of the weekend with a 1m16.3095s – an average speed of 99.070mph around the 2.17-mile course, while Dixon sprung up to fourth, and Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) into fifth, before they were split by Simon Pagenaud and shaded by Will Power.

Their Team Penske rookie team-mate Scott McLaughlin vaulted into third, before Herta put everyone else in perspective with a mighty 1m15.6874s – 0.6s faster than anyone else at that point – an average of 99.885mph.

A slap against the wall ended Rahal’s session 15 minutes early, while Palou was the first to join Herta in the sub-76s lap category, but Herta further improved his time with the first 100mph lap of the course – a 1m15.3529s.

Teams started trying out their softer compound Firestones with 10 minutes to go, but a couple minutes later McLaughlin spun into the tyre wall at Turn 6 after locking his rear brakes. The rear wing was damaged but it made little difference as he’d have had to sit out for 5 minutes for causing a red flag.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Joe Skibinski

When action resumed, Rossi understeered into the wall at Turn 10, breaking his right-front suspension, bringing out another red. With time pinched, IndyCar granted the drivers one last timed lap but it all turned farcical, with Max Chilton (Carlin), Dixon and Pagenaud all dropping the ball. Dixon earned points for style, however, as he spun-turned to resume at Turn 4 and clipped the wall hard enough to break off his rear wing.

So Herta finished the session 0.48s clear of his team-mate Rossi, with Dixon and Palou in third and fourth, with Sebastien Bourdais of AJ Foyt Racing being one of few drivers to set a representative time on softs with fifth fastest time.

Rosenqvist was an encouraging quarter of a second ahead of Arrow McLaren SP team-mate O’Ward but neither got a chance to lay down a soft tyre time.

Results

P Name FTime Diff Gap FL Laps FSpeed Engine Team
1 Colton Herta 1:15.3529 1:15.3529 0.000 15 20 100.328 Honda Andretti Autosport
2 Alexander Rossi 1:15.8292 0.4763 0.4763 14 15 99.698 Honda Andretti Autosport
3 Scott Dixon 1:15.8837 0.5308 0.0545 13 17 99.626 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
4 Alex Palou 1:15.9810 0.6281 0.0973 14 19 99.499 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
5 Sebastien Bourdais 1:16.0137 0.6608 0.0327 13 17 99.456 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
6 Felix Rosenqvist 1:16.0239 0.6710 0.0102 11 17 99.442 Chevy Arrow McLaren SP
7 Marcus Ericsson 1:16.1612 0.8083 0.1373 19 19 99.263 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
8 Pato O'Ward 1:16.2796 0.9267 0.1184 13 16 99.109 Chevy Arrow McLaren SP
9 Rinus VeeKay 1:16.3190 0.9661 0.0394 17 22 99.058 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
10 Scott McLaughlin 1:16.4877 1.1348 0.1687 12 17 98.839 Chevy Team Penske
11 Simon Pagenaud 1:16.5904 1.2375 0.1027 17 19 98.707 Chevy Team Penske
12 Helio Castroneves 1:16.6709 1.3180 0.0805 16 20 98.603 Honda Meyer Shank Racing
13 Jack Harvey 1:16.6738 1.3209 0.0029 13 16 98.600 Honda Meyer Shank Racing
14 Will Power 1:16.7023 1.3494 0.0285 13 22 98.563 Chevy Team Penske
15 Romain Grosjean 1:16.8672 1.5143 0.1649 13 18 98.351 Honda Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing
16 Graham Rahal 1:16.9921 1.6392 0.1249 11 12 98.192 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
17 Ed Jones 1:17.0303 1.6774 0.0382 15 18 98.143 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan
18 Josef Newgarden 1:17.0482 1.6953 0.0179 11 17 98.120 Chevy Team Penske
19 James Hinchcliffe 1:17.1091 1.7562 0.0609 8 19 98.043 Honda Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport
20 Santino Ferrucci 1:17.1323 1.7794 0.0232 15 18 98.013 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
21 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:17.2103 1.8574 0.0780 14 17 97.914 Honda Andretti Autosport
22 Jimmie Johnson 1:17.2131 1.8602 0.0028 16 20 97.911 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
23 Conor Daly 1:17.3438 1.9909 0.1307 13 17 97.745 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
24 Max Chilton 1:17.8961 2.5432 0.5523 12 17 97.052 Chevy Carlin
25 Takuma Sato 1:18.1531 2.8002 0.2570 13 20 96.733 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
26 Dalton Kellett 1:18.5788 3.2259 0.4257 18 22 96.209 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
27 Cody Ware 1:20.8367 5.4838 2.2579 6 20 93.522 Honda Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing

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