By the Numbers: Warmup Results
Look for another charge toward the front today from Graham Rahal in the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, if the results of the warmup are any indication.
Rahal was the surprise leader of the final practice session for the inaugural NTT INDYCAR SERIES street-course race in Nashville, Tennessee, topping the time charts with a lap of one minute, 15.8489 seconds in the No. 15 United Rentals Honda.
The 80-lap race starts at 5:30 p.m. (ET) today, with live coverage on NBCSN and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
Rahal is starting 13th, and he was 14th- and 16th-quickest in the two practice sessions that preceded NTT P1 Award qualifying Saturday. This strong performance in the warmup appears to continue a trend for Rahal, who has finished higher than his starting position in eight of the 10 races so far this season.
“The guys did a great job to come up with a setup that was a lot different than yesterday, just to try to learn,” Rahal said. “It was better, a lot more compliant. A little better in the slow-speed (corners), which was our biggest loss to (Colton) Herta yesterday. So, overall, there still are challenges, for sure, but a good step forward in competitiveness.”
Six-time and reigning series champion Scott Dixon was second at 1:15.8794 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda. He will start second in the race on the 11-turn, 2.17-mile street circuit that includes two trips per lap over the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Fellow championship contender Pato O’Ward was third at 1:16.2012 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. He will start eighth.
NTT P1 Award winner Colton Herta was fourth at 1:16.3758 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda. It was the first session this weekend that Herta didn’t lead, as he posted the quickest times in practice Friday and practice and qualifying Saturday.
Championship leader Alex Palou rounded out the top five at 1:16.4870. He will start ninth in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda.
Three incidents triggered red flags and reduced track time in the 30-minute session.
The most significant came with two minutes remaining when Jimmie Johnson spun and hit the barrier in Turn 4, inflicting significant damage to the No. 48 Carvana Honda. Johnson was unhurt.
Felix Rosenqvist spun in Turn 1 in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet with eight minutes remaining but made no contact and resumed. Rinus VeeKay nudged the tire barrier with his rear wing after spinning in Turn 4 in the No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Chevrolet almost at the halfway point of the session, but he was able to continue after his engine was refired.