By the Numbers: Second Practice Results
It’s safe to say all eyes will be on Colton Herta in NTT P1 Award qualifying this afternoon at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee.
Herta will be the favorite to earn the Bryan Clauson Pole Trophy after leading practice Saturday afternoon with a top lap of 1 minute, 15.3529 seconds in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda. Herta also led the Friday practice at 1:16.5875 on the 11-turn, 2.17 mile temporary street circuit that includes two trips over the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge per lap.
“I got a good read on the car,” Herta said. “We found some really cool stuff, actually, that we borrowed from our teammate (Alexander) Rossi there. So, thanks for him. The car feels really good right now. I’m feeling really confident in the car and the track, which is really nice.”
Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi was second at 1:15.8292 in the No. 27 AutoNation/NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda. But Rossi’s crew will have plenty of work to do before qualifying starts at 4:30 p.m. (ET, live on Peacock), as he clouted the concrete retaining wall in Turn 10 with six minutes left in the session, thrusting his front wing under the car and inflicting moderate damage to his right front suspension.
Six-time and defending series champion Scott Dixon was third quickest at 1:15.8837 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda. But like Rossi, Dixon also found the wall late in the practice. He was one of many cars to spin in Turn 10 in the final two minutes of the session, and he dislodged the rear wing on his car by hitting the retaining wall while backing up to return to the course. It was the second spin of the session for Dixon, who also did a quarter-spin in Turn 10 in the opening five minutes.
Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate and championship leader Alex Palou was fourth at 1:15.9810 in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda. Palou will need to find all of the speed possible, as he will incur a six-position starting grid penalty for the race Sunday (5:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) due to an unapproved engine change after testing last month.
Sebastien Bourdais rounded out the top five at 1:16.0137 in the No. 14 ROKiT/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet.
Rossi and Dixon weren’t the only drivers to clip the wall during the 45-minute session on the bumpy circuit. Also making light contact were Graham Rahal in the No. 15 United Rentals Honda and Scott McLaughlin in the No. 3 DEX Imaging Team Penske Chevrolet.