INDIANAPOLIS — official release — Mark Reed photo — As reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon expected, the competition on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit is razor close.
He just happened to produce the best timed lap in the second practice session May 8 for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, recorded a best lap of 1 minute, 10.4654 seconds on the course that was revised from the one used in the past by Formula One, MotoGP and sports cars.
“The cars are on a knife edge. The straights are so long that you’re trimming the car out to levels that I think we’ve only seen once before in Brazil on a street course with another really long straight. That there makes it tough, the window of being on the edge and going for the quick time is uncomfortably small, but it’s a lot of fun.”
“You’re constantly chasing the track, and the conditions, today it is very windy, tomorrow it might open up and rain, and then for the race, I hope everyone comes out for that, but I like it. They did a hell of a job with this track.”
Five different teams were represented in the top five of the 45-minute session, and the top 24 cars were separated by less than a second under a canopy of blue sky and summer-like temperature.
Each of the three Verizon IndyCar Series races this season has had a different pole sitter and winner.
Simon Pagenaud was second in the session — .0191 of a second back — in the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports car, while series championship points leader Will Power was third (1:10.5672) in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske entry.
Sebastien Bourdais, driving the No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing car, was quickest in the morning session (1:10.5150) and third overall.
“It was a very good day for the Mistic E-Cigs team until the last run,” Bourdais expressed. “We tried something on new tires and it didn’t work out, but overall the car was really strong. The Mistic crew did a really good job. We were kind of tippy toeing through the changes trying to see what we could get, but it is supposed to rain tomorrow so everything goes back up in the air and we will see where we land.”
Tomorrow’s schedule includes final practice at 10 AM followed by qualifying for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, which takes place at 2 PM Eastern time and airs on a one-hour tape delay on NBC Sports Network at 3 PM Eastern time.