The Honda train kept rolling in the second NTT IndyCar Series practice of the weekend in Southern California, during which Scott Dixon put his PNC Bank-branded, Honda-powered Indy car atop the day one timesheet at Long Beach.
Dixon joined the fray near the halfway point of Friday afternoon’s 45-minute practice and rose to the top in the final minutes with a 1:07.7940. The time marked the new fastest lap of the weekend, surpassing Hunter-Reay’s chart-topping Practice 1 lap by 0.1395 seconds.
Again the fastest Andretti Autosport representative, Hunter-Reay backed up his earlier speed with a 1:07.8434 in Practice 2, placing second on Friday’s combined timesheet. Rosenqvist placed his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda third, ensuring Acura’s parent company locked out the top of the timesheet.
Josef Newgarden ended the session as the fastest Chevrolet pilot, vastly improving upon his Practice 1 time with a 1:07.9648 — the final lap quicker than 68 seconds in Practice 2.
Rookie Patricio O’Ward placed fifth, a mere 0.0655 seconds off Newgarden’s time and just two-tenths shy of Dixon.
Alexander Rossi, Graham Rahal, Simon Pagenaud, James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti completed the session’s top 10, delivering a 7-3 advantage for Honda.
Practice 2 was slowed by one red flag when Matheus Leist’s AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet stopped on track at the entrance of Turn 9. The stoppage took just over five minutes and Leist was penalized a similar five minutes for causing a red flag.
Amongst the 23-car field, 353 laps were turned during 39 minutes and 22 seconds of green-flag time. Pagenaud was the most active driver, completing 19 laps of the 1.969-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit.
The series will return to the track for a third 45-minute practice Saturday at 9 a.m. PDT. The session will precede knockout qualifying, set for 12:10 p.m. NBCSN’s live telecast will begin at the same time.