Graham Rahal opened the third race day of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season with the fastest lap during the field’s final opportunity to lap the Barber Motorsports Park road course ahead of Sunday’s race.
Returning to the track for the first time since qualifying second behind his teammate Takuma Sato on Saturday, Rahal lapped the 2.3-mile circuit 17 times during the half-hour session. Only Jack Harvey was busier, turning 20 laps.
Rahal’s top lap was his 17th and saw him muscle the No. 15 Honda around Barber in 1:10.1751. Alexander Rossi was second fastest at 0.1102 seconds off the pace of his fellow American.
Josef Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay were at one point the fastest two drivers on track but settled for third and fourth in warm-up, 0.1599 seconds quicker than Zach Veach who caused a red flag but still placed fifth.
Earning the distinction of fastest rookie, Colton Herta was sixth and led the second half of the top 10 over Harvey, Sato, Matheus Leist and Simon Pagenaud, giving Chevrolet one of its largest shares of the group during the weekend with three cars to Honda’s seven.
Felix Rosenqvist was the second-best rookie in 12th, 0.8019 seconds off the chart-topping pace by Rahal. Rosenqvist’s Chip Ganassi Racing stablemate and reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon went fast enough for 13th in warm-up, joined in the bottom half of the results by fellow veterans James Hinchcliffe, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais and Tony Kanaan.
Now with 432 more laps turned, IndyCar will hit the track next for its 10th annual race at Barber. The 90-lap contest will go green at 3:15 p.m. CDT with NBCSN’s live telecast scheduled to open at 4 p.m. EDT.