FORT WORTH, Texas – How tight is the competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series? So tight that Tony Kanaan and Robert Wickens – each representing a different engine manufacturer – posted the same lap times for top honors in today’s opening practice for the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
In the only session prior to Verizon P1 Award qualifying this afternoon, Kanaan took the No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet and Wickens rode the No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda to identical laps of 220.014 mph on the 1.5-mile oval.
DXC TECHNOLOGY 600: Practice 1 results; Qualifying order
Sebastien Bourdais was third in the No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda with a lap of 219.619 mph.
“It was good,” said Wickens, the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie who has posted six top-10 finishes in the past seven races this season. “I think the track started off extremely, extremely low grip, but it came around to us pretty good. At the end, we did a couple (qualifying simulations runs) to get ready for qualifying.
“It’s hard to know in free practice. It’s literally impossible to get a tow-free lap around this place. The Lucas Oil car is doing well so far, but’s still early days. We’ll see what we’ve got later on.”
Four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon logged the fastest lap without aid of a draft, or tow, from a car in front. Dixon, who was sixth fastest on the overall speed chart, had the best no-tow lap of 218.588 mph.
Teams spent the first third of the 90-minute session scuffing in sets of tires for Saturday night’s race at the insistence of INDYCAR and Firestone Racing. The heat cycle created by the short run on each set will assist the tires in becoming more heat resistant in Saturday night’s 248-lap race in expected high ambient temperatures.
After experiencing some tire issues in the 2017 race that came on the heels of a track repaving and reconfiguration, Firestone developed a new tire specification for this year’s race. The spec features softer compounds on all four tire positions.
"Based on learnings from 2017, along with the results from our tire test in March, the new, softer tires are more heat resistant and will provide increased grip and greater drop-off over a stint," said Cara Adams, chief engineer for Bridgestone Americas Motorsports.
Qualifying begins at 4 p.m. ET and airs live on NBCSN. Live timing and scoring that includes Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network audio is available on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
Race coverage begins at 8 p.m. Saturday on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, with the green flag expected to wave at 8:45 p.m.