Scott Dixon has topped opening practice for the season-opening Genesys 300 IndyCar event from Texas Motor Speedway, leading home aspiring champion Colton Herta in an incident-filled session.
The opening half-hour was designated solely for rookies with 19-year-old Dutch driver Rinus VeeKay suffering a heavy crash at Turn 4 when he lost control of his Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet.
The session didn’t fare any better for teammate and car owner Ed Carpenter who had a similar spin at Turn 4, narrowly avoided collecting the barrier and carrying on albeit with two punctured rear tyres.
Dixon kept his cool all session, leading the qualifying simulations by a mammoth 1.5mph over Herta. The Honda-powered machines seemingly have the one-lap pace over their Chevrolet counterparts.
2012 series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay was the next driver to get caught out by the slippery surface. Going wide at Turn 2, Hunter-Reay tagged the outside wall and sent himself into an ungoverned spin.
Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward ended the session as the highest placed Chevrolet in third, ahead of a surprised Zach Veach and Mario Andretti.
Penske duo Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden were seventh and eighth ahead of the second RLLR Honda of Graham Rahal.
Will Power experienced a relatively quiet session, lacking the pace of his rivals and finishing 12th quickest overall.
Qualifying is slated to get underway from 9 am NZT with the 300-mile race starting from noon.