Scott Dixon has finished third in the first post-qualifying practice session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway just hours after sealing a front row start for next weekend’s race, though it wasn’t without its troubles as the Kiwi crashed into the wall at Turn 4 earlier in the day.
Dixon had his first slip-up all week as the No.9 Chip Ganassi car got slightly loose on just his fifth lap at the exit of the final turn and collected the outside wall before coming to a gentle rest along the pitlane.
The accident saw the session temporarily suspended as Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing set about repairing the car.
“Just getting up to speed, turned in, got a little wider than normal, kept turning — there’s actually a big bump there — and I hit the bump, put more lock in, and then the rear just came around,” Dixon said. “Got lucky there.
“It just barely brushed the walls. It actually looks like the car’s fine. Just the front and rear wing, so pretty lucky in that situation.”
Damage was superficial and the Iceman demonstrated his prowess by rocketing to the top of the timesheets just moments after the team had repaired the car.
Dixon’s best time of a 223.127 mph was looking set to finish at the head of the timing sheets in what would have been a sublime recovery effort after his earlier crash but two late laps by pole-sitter Marco Andretti and Penskes’ Helio Castroneves both in the 224mph bracket were enough to lock in the top two spots.
It was a frantic session with every driver using the time to work on race simulation now that grid positions have been determined. The practice is run in a similar time of the day to the 500 and the low-lying sun shaded the circuit and gave drivers a representative session for race rehearsals.
While the fastest times of the session were largely tow assisted, the best 30-lap average went to Alex Palou as the SP McLaren who set a strong 215.820 mph stint, over 1mph quicker than Takuma Sato who also focused in long runs.
Honda continued its spree of dominance by locking out the four of the top five positions with Ryan Hunter-Reay in fourth ahead of Santino Ferrucci who had a welcome turn in pace.
Only James Davison was absent from today’s session as the Australian flew to Daytona International Speedway to compete in a NASCAR Cup Series race.
The IndyCar field will now have a few days rest before the final two-hour practice session – Carb Day – takes place on Saturday Morning NZT before the main race in August 23.