INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – With Verizon P1 Award qualifying on the horizon later this afternoon, Verizon IndyCar Series drivers chipped closer and closer to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course lap record before Will Power blitzed the previous mark in Practice 2 for the INDYCAR Grand Prix.
Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) turned in a fast lap of 1 minute, 7.7684 seconds (129.565 mph), the first and currently only driver to lap the 2.439-mile circuit in under 68 seconds. The lap was nearly a full second better than the track standard Power set in qualifying last year, though official records may only be set in qualifying or race sessions. Power and the rest of the 22-car field will have the opportunity to achieve that in the three knockout rounds of qualifying that commence at 4:20 p.m. ET.
INDYCAR GRAND PRIX: Practice 2 results; Combined practice results; Qualifying groups
Two of Power’s teammates, Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet, 1:08.0632) and Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Chevrolet, 1:08.1897), trailed Power closely, giving Team Penske the top three on the session speed chart. With Helio Castroneves running fifth (No. 3 Verizon Chevrolet, 1:08.3780), it put Team Penske in prime position to continue its streak of winning every pole position thus far in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian driver Alexander Rossi finished the session fourth quick at 1:08.2290 (128.690 mph) in the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda, but not without some drama that involved the fifth Team Penske driver entered in the race. In the late stages of the session, Rossi and defending INDYCAR Grand Prix winner Simon Pagenaud (No. 1 Menards Chevrolet) made light contact in Turn 7 after Rossi appeared upset with Pagenaud. Neither driver sustained damage in the incident and Pagenaud – also the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion – finished the session eighth quick at 1:08.7439.
“He was leaving the pits and we were on our first lap on (Firestone alternate) reds,” said Rossi. “He stayed on my end (of the track) in Turn 7. Fortunately, it’s practice, it doesn’t matter. We always try and give each other space, but it was practice, so it doesn’t matter.
“I feel OK (about running fourth),” Rossi added. “It was a disjointed session. There were a lot of red flags, so there were guys that didn’t get to run. I don’t know really where we are yet.”
The session’s first red flag flew just after Power posted his best lap, when Ryan Hunter-Reay’s No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda slowed on the back straight with 10 minutes remaining in the session. After the brief interruption, drivers returned to the circuit before Carlos Munoz (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet) spun in Turn 7, bringing out another red flag and ending the session. Munoz did not damage his machine in the incident and finished the session 21st quick at 1:09.9617.
Three rounds of Verizon P1 Award knockout qualifying begin at 4:20 p.m. ET. A live video stream and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network commentary are available at RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
Saturday’s 85-lap INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course airs on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network beginning at 3:30 p.m.
Take some laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course here with Charlie Kimball, thanks to the visor cam in the No. 83 Tresiba Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.