NTT P1 Award qualifying for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix has moved to 6:15 p.m. ET today (live on Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network), as rain in the Nashville area continues to force the shuffling of the event schedule.
Final practice, scheduled for 6:25 p.m. today, is canceled.
Marcus Ericsson led a wet second practice earlier today, as every driver kept equal eyes on the skies and timing screens.
Standing water caused by persistent rain forced a delay of 50 minutes to the start of the session, which also was shortened to 30 minutes on the 11-turn, 2.1-mile temporary circuit that includes two crossings of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge per lap.
SEE: Practice Results
2022 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Ericsson was quickest at 1 minute, 31.7999 seconds in the No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing.
“It was good to get out there when it was raining,” Ericsson said. “It’s not that long until qualifying starts, so I’m assuming it might start wet. That will be good for us, I think.
“I thought it was really good in Toronto in the wet. I was faster there when it was fully wet and fastest again today in the wet, so it seems like I’m doing all right in those conditions at the moment.”
Rinus VeeKay was second at 1:32.6910 in the No. 21 Bitnile.com Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter Racing. Two-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Will Power, quickest in mixed conditions in Friday practice, was third today at 1:32.8167 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
Power’s teammate Scott McLaughlin was fourth at 1:33.1106 in the No. 3 DEX Imaging Team Penske Chevrolet. Rookie Marcus Armstrong ended up fifth at 1:33.1767 in the No. 11 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing.
All four Ganassi cars entered the track quickly after practice opened, bravely eschewing the waiting game of other teams. That track time paid off, as all four of the team’s drivers ended up in the top nine. Six-time series champion Scott Dixon was sixth at 1:33.5544 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, while championship leader Alex Palou was ninth at 1:35.0152 in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda.
Nashville native Josef Newgarden, second in points behind Palou, was eighth at 1:34.4294 in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet. 2023 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Newgarden trails Palou by 80 points in the standings.
Twenty-five of the 27 drivers turned laps during the session, with Alexander Rossi and Romain Grosjean the only ones to stay dormant. But no one took any more risks than needed as qualifying loomed. VeeKay turned 10 laps, more than any other driver, and 13 of the 25 drivers on track completed five laps or less.