NASHVILLE, Tenn — Saturday’s NTT IndyCar Series practice session looked more like a NASCAR race at Daytona or Talladega with all the carnage rather than practice. Somewhere Allen Iverson is sitting there smiling. Practice? We talking about, practice?
Well, 8 of the 27 cars had single car separate incidents during the 45 minute session including a wild ending which saw Scott McLaughlin make light contact with the Turn 6 tire barriers in his No. 3 Chevrolet with nine minutes left. Then, one minute after we went back green, Alexander Rossi made hard contract with the Turn 10 concrete barriers.
INDYCAR allowed everyone else one timed lap once we got back going, but that turned into chaos. Max Chilton had an incident. So did Simon Pagenaud who spun on course. Scott Dixon did too as he started practice off with a spin and ended it with one too. When he spun his No. 9 Honda back around, he hit the concrete wall hard and badly damaged his rear wing.
Graham Rahal also made contract with the wall midway through the session while Helio Castroneves and James Hinchcliffe had minor incidents in getting off course.
When we had green flag time, Colton Herta led the way again. He topped the speed charts with a lap of 1:15.3529-seconds in his No. 26 Honda. Herta, was quickest in Friday’s session and the man with three straight second place starting spots appears to be the favorite to land on the pole later on in the day for knockout qualifying.
His teammate in Rossi (1:15.8292-seconds) was P2 but will have to have some work done for repairs on the front end of his car before we hit the 2.17-mile track for qualifying in a couple of hours.
Dixon (1:15.8837-seconds) was third while his teammate Alex Palou (1:15.9810-seconds) ended up fourth in his No. 10 Honda. Sebastien Bourdais (1:16.0137-seconds) rounded out the top five.
If the two sessions have proved anything, it’s that it looks like a fight between Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport for the pole. Herta, was first in both practices while Dixon was second and third respectively himself. Rossi, was fourth and second while Palou and sixth and fourth.
Marcus Ericsson was sixth quickest on Friday and seventh on Saturday to give Honda five cars in the top seven which is a day after they swept the top six speeds on Friday afternoon.
Felix Rosenqvist looks like the best Chevy car right now in being quickest among the bowtie camp in seventh on Friday and now being sixth on Saturday.
Team Penske went 8-9-10-12 on Friday and just 10-11-14-18 on Saturday. Josef Newgarden remarkably has been the slowest among the foursome each day. He’s won three straight poles on the season and has led 84% of the laps in those races as well. With this being his hometown track, it’s odd not seeing him have the advantage right now.