Dixon Tops Abbreviated Opening Practice in Texas

A 10-minute test of a new pit speed procedure and a sudden downpour limited track time during Practice 1 for the 22 NTT IndyCar Series drivers competing this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Before the track was soaked, however, reigning Texas winner and series champion Scott Dixon set the top speed.

The opening session at Texas was originally scheduled for a two-hour duration but was shortened significantly due to rainfall. The full-course caution that eventually led to INDYCAR canceling the practice came 50 minutes after the initial green flag.

Dixon completed 25 laps in his No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda but needed only seven to hit 219.308 mph, making him one of two drivers to crest 219 mph on the 1.5-mile Texas oval.

The five-time series champion was joined near the top of the speed chart by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Takuma Sato, whose 219.282 mph effort was second fastest. The Birmingham race winner ranks fifth in the points, nine markers shy of fourth-placed Dixon.

Graham Rahal, the 2016 race winner at Texas, ended the session with 30 completed laps and the third-fastest speed. At 218.311 mph, he added a third Honda and a second RLL entry to the top three.

GESS International logo on Rossi 2019 Texas Indy car
Alexander Rossi’s No. 27 Honda will feature GESS International instead of NAPA Auto Parts in Texas. | Photo: Jamie Sheldrick / Spacesuit Media

Texas qualifying lap record holder and 2017 pole sitter Charlie Kimball was the fastest Chevrolet driver in Thursday evening’s interrupted practice. His 217.503 mph lap in the No. 23 Carlin machine ranked him fourth, ahead of Team Penske’s Will Power in fifth.

Four more Honda-backed drivers completed the top nine with Alexander Rossi, Colton Herta, Zach Veach and Ryan Hunter-Reay ranking ahead of 10th-fastest Ed Carpenter.

Making his debut for Carlin in the No. 59 Chevrolet normally driven by Max Chilton, Conor Daly was the slowest of the 22 drivers. His best speed of 211.772 mph came on his 10th of 30 laps completed.

Cars will be back on track Friday for Practice 2 from 2–3 p.m. CDT. Single-car qualifying will follow at 5:45 p.m. Both sessions will stream live via INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold and qualifying will air live on NBCSN.

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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