Friday, January 18, 2019

Wickens, Kanaan Set Identical Times in First Texas Practice


Chevrolet and Honda proved to be evenly matched as the Verizon IndyCar Series began its two-day visit to Texas Motor Speedway, demonstrated when Robert Wickens and Tony Kanaan set identical lap times late in Practice 1.

With his closest competitors lapping the 1.5-mile superspeedway at 218 mph, Kanaan turned in the first 220 mph lap of the 90-minute session in its closing minutes. Alexander Rossi improved to 219 mph soon thereafter but it was Wickens, turning his first competitive laps at Texas, who challenged Kanaan atop the running order.

On his 55th of 58 total laps, Wickens duplicated Kanaan’s 220.014 mph lap and ended the session scored as the fastest driver. Kanaan, a former winner at Texas, retained the second position having lapped the superspeedway in 23.5621 seconds, just as Wickens did.

Sebastien Bourdais surfaced late in the session with a fast lap at the same time Gabby Chaves took over at the top in his No. 88 Harding Racing Chevrolet. Split by Rossi in fourth, these two drivers set the third- and fifth-fastest laps.

Scott Dixon owned the fastest lap for a considerable period but finished Practice 1 in sixth, 0.1086 seconds off the pace set by Wickens and Kanaan. Simon Pagenaud was the fastest Team Penske driver in seventh and completed the top 10 ahead of Marco Andretti, Josef Newgarden and Ed Jones.

Honda outnumbered Chevrolet’s cars 6-4 in the top 10 in the only practice session before qualifying, with speeds down about 2.5 mph from last year’s pole time.

Zachary Claman De Melo was 19th fastest after causing the lone full-course caution period of the session when he slowed on track in Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 19 Honda.

Single-car qualifying to set the grid for Saturday’s 248-lap race will be shown live on NBCSN beginning at 3 p.m. EDT Friday.

Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant leads The Apex as its editor-in-chief. When not bringing his racing journalism vision to life at The Apex, Durant enjoys snowboarding, playing the drums, reading and trudging through an endless queue of podcasts.


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