Saturday, April 20, 2019

Kimball Tops Final Phoenix Practice

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After a frustrating qualifying attempt relegated Charlie Kimball to an 11th-row start, the Carlin driver topped the final practice session before the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix at ISM Raceway.

The first quarter of the one-hour session was taken up by mandatory pit stop practice. Once full-field running commenced, Kimball’s No. 23 Tresiba-backed Chevrolet shot to the top of the speed chart on the strength of a 179.797 mph lap on his eighth revolution of the 1-mile oval near Phoenix. Despite being 8.742 seconds slower than Sebastien Bourdais’ pole-winning lap, this effort by Kimball stood strong as the fastest of the nighttime session.

Tony Kanaan held the second-fastest speed for much of the session before Scott Dixon turned a 179.003 mph lap in the PNC Bank-liveried No. 9 Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing. Dixon and Kimball were the only drivers to crest the 179 mph mark.

Kanaan’s 179.003 mph lap in the No. 14 Chevrolet secured the third slot on the Practice 2 timesheet, with the AJ Foyt Racing driver tying Alexander Rossi for the fastest trap speed of the session: 192.372 mph.

Spencer Pigot speeds under ISM Raceway lights
Spencer Pigot, preparing for his first non-Indianapolis oval race, brushed the wall during Practice 2 to bring out the yellow flag. | Photo: Chris Owens / INDYCAR

Rossi’s best complete circuit of the 1.022-mile oval was 178.234 mph, making the No. 27 machine the second-fastest Honda and the quickest of the four-car Andretti Autosport contingent.

Gabby Chaves put a third Chevrolet in the top five with a 177.142 mph lap for Harding Racing. Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato completed the top 10, giving Honda a 6-4 advantage.

With nine minutes remaining in the 60-minute outing, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot made light contact with the SAFER Barrier between Turns 3 and 4. His car came to a stop and was subsequently restarted by the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team. Although his No. 21 Chevrolet showed little visible damage, the car did not complete further laps. Due to the yellow flag, INDYCAR officials extended the session by 10 minutes.

Next up for the Verizon IndyCar Series at ISM Raceway is the 250-lap race itself, set to go green at 6:40 p.m. MST with live coverage beginning on NBCSN at 9 p.m. EDT.

Ben Hinc
Ben Hinchttp://www.benhinc.com
Ben's executive editor title is purposefully broad to encompass the bottomless list of roles he fills for The Apex, which includes webmaster, graphic designer, quality consultant and writer. Ben's technical background and progressive media distribution approach set The Apex apart technologically and philosophically.

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