Saturday, July 20, 2019

Unruly Lap Takes Rossi to Top in Second Practice


The second 45-minute practice outing of the NTT IndyCar Series’ 2019 visit to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin saw a Honda-powered Indy car surface atop the timesheet again as Alexander Rossi completed a Friday sweep for the Japanese manufacturer and Andretti Autosport.

With Practice 1 leader Ryan Hunter-Reay dealing with what he labeled a “nightmare” car and only setting the seventh-fastest time, Rossi was able to assert his prowess around the European-esque Road America circuit during the best of his 11 laps Friday afternoon.

At 1:43.1206, Rossi’s strongest trip around the 4-mile venue was 0.635 seconds quicker than Hunter-Reay’s morning pace and put the No. 28 NAPA Auto Parts Honda 0.2883 seconds clear of second-quickest driver Will Power.

By a significantly larger margin than Hunter-Reay’s minuscule 0.0688-second gap over Takuma Sato in Practice 1, Rossi’s best flyer also enabled him to keep Josef Newgarden plus rookies Colton Herta and Felix Rosenqvist at bay in the top five. Including a near-off track excursion at the penultimate turn that pitched the blue and yellow Honda into the air, Rossi’s top time was 0.6258 seconds clear of the best from first-time Road America visitor Rosenqvist.

Graham Rahal, Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Pato O’Ward and Marco Andretti comprised the remainder of the top 10, giving Honda a 7-3 advantage in the group. Andretti was the final driver among the 23 to lap within one second of Rossi.

Reigning champion — and recent 24 Hours of Le Mans participant — Scott Dixon was 11th after multiple contributions to the total number of mistakes made by various drivers during Practice 2, which ran without red-flag interruption. Also coming off a week driving a Ford GT at Le Mans, Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais was 14th over fellow veterans Simon Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan and Sato.

Ed Jones, Santino Ferrucci, Max Chilton, Marcus Ericsson and Jack Harvey landed at the bottom of the running order.

A 30-minute pit stop practice/warm-up outing immediately following Practice 2 concludes Friday’s running for the premier North American open-wheel championship at Road America. A third practice and qualifying are scheduled for Saturday.

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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Alexander Rossi in Andretti Indy car on 2019 Belle Isle pit lane

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