Saturday, June 15, 2019

Herta Ahead in Pre-Qualifying Texas Practice


A one-hour practice outing ending roughly three hours before qualifying starts saw the first 220 mph laps of this year’s Texas Motor Speedway visit for the NTT IndyCar Series and one 222 mph revolution by rookie Colton Herta.

Teams productively used the Friday afternoon session to finalize car setups for both qualifying and Saturday night’s race, with simulated two-lap qualifying efforts and purposeful running in traffic both taking place.

Colton Herta, Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi put a trio of Honda-powered Indy cars atop the overall speed chart. Benefitting from a draft behind another car around the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, Harding Steinbrenner Racing driver Herta put a significant 0.1558 seconds between his No. 88 Honda and Sato’s No. 30 with a 222.451 mph speed.

Split by two-tenths of a second, that top three was 0.0081 seconds quicker than Will Power, the highest-ranking Chevrolet and Team Penske representative.

Rookies Marcus Ericsson and Santino Ferrucci were fifth and 11th, divided by Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Josef Newgarden and Sebastien Bourdais who completed the top 10.

Dixon comfortably topped the all-important no-tow speed chart entering qualifying with a lap 0.484 mph slower than the trip around the Texas superspeedway that landed the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda sixth on the overall results.

Rossi and Hunter-Reay had the second- and third-best no-tow speeds, 0.434 and 1.161 mph slower than Dixon’s tow-free lap. Eighteenth and 12th overall, James Hinchcliffe and Zach Veach were fourth and fifth without tows.

The fourth Andretti Autosport entry of Marco Andretti was mired to the 19th overall position, 2.703 mph off Sato who was second but with less tow assistance than Herta. Felix Rosenqvist, Conor Daly and Matheus Leist will aim to qualify better than they placed in Practice 2: 20th, 21st and 22nd.

The first two-lap qualifying run will take place at 5:45 p.m. CDT Friday with live television coverage on NBCSN beginning 15 minutes earlier at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant
Aaron brings a developing design and editorial vision to The Apex every day and co-hosts The Braking Point podcast every week. As editor-in-chief and an avid reader, Aaron enjoys aligning his relentless care for quality with an interest in counterintuitive approaches.


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