Scott Dixon led the pre-qualifying practice Saturday morning at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, a session where drivers worked as hard finding space for a clean lap as they did searching for speed.
Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Dixon was fastest at 1 minute, 3.2317 seconds in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. That was slightly slower than the top lap in Friday’s practice, 1:03.0773 by Pato O’Ward in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. Dixon was second quickest Friday at 1:03.1759.
SEE: Practice Results
NTT P1 Award qualifying is next and starts at 1:20 p.m. ET today (live, Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network), and an equal challenge besides raw speed for the 27-car field will be finding space on the tight, bumpy, nine-turn, 1.7-mile circuit on the streets of Detroit.
“It’s tough for everybody to get a clean lap,” Dixon said. “Definitely tricky conditions. The car feels pretty good, though. It just generally rolls with great speed. We are lucky that it doesn’t seem like we have to push too hard to get the results that we need. Eyes wide open out there, man.”
Reigning series champion Will Power ended up second at 1:03.4627 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet despite clipping a tire barrier with the right rear wheel late in the one-hour session.
Kyle Kirkwood continued his strong weekend by reaching third on the time sheet with a lap of 1:03.5658 in the No. 27 AutoNation Honda. Kirkwood, who won the series’ last street race in Long Beach, also was third quickest Friday at 1:03.5140.
2021 series champion Alex Palou also stayed in the top five, placing fourth at 1:03.7165 in the No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda. Palou also was fourth Friday at 1:03.6388.
Scott McLaughlin broke into the top five today with a best lap of 1:03.7166 in the No. 3 Gallagher Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet.
There were five red flags during the session due to incidents. Devlin DeFrancesco made the hardest contact, incurring significant damage to his No. 29 EVTEC Honda by nosing into the concrete barrier in Turn 7 about 40 minutes into the session. DeFrancesco was unhurt.
Live coverage of the 100-lap race starts at 3 p.m. Sunday on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.