After Honda-powered cars filled the majority of the top 10 in Practice 2 on Friday, Chevrolet was the stronger of the two manufacturers in Saturday’s Practice 3, despite the fastest lap being set by Scott Dixon in his PNC Bank-supported Honda.
Dixon’s best lap, a 1:00.7571, was 0.1083 seconds clear of reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden but still nearly seventh-tenths of a second off the qualifying lap record set by Will Power in 2016.
Power, winner of three consecutive St. Petersburg poles, had the third-fastest lap in the No. 12 Chevrolet. Rookies Jordan King and Matheus Leist completed the top five. Simon Pagenaud led Spencer Pigot, Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan in rounding out the top 10, which saw Chevrolet outnumber Honda, 3-7.
Rene Binder again brought up the rear of the field for Juncos Racing, 2.2044 seconds back from Dixon’s session-leading time.
Leist brought out the first of two red flags when he spun in Turn 4, necessitating a restart from the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team. The second red flag coincided with the checkered when King slid off course and into the tire barrier in Turn 14 with two minutes remaining in the 45-minute session. The part-time driver was able to climb from his race car without assistance.
Three rounds of qualifying culminating with the Firestone Fast 6 are next for the series on Saturday, with Round 1 set to be begin at 2:20 p.m. EST.