Colton Herta will enter his first NTT IndyCar Series qualifying procession at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as the fastest driver having led two of the weekend’s three practice sessions, including the 45-minute outing that kicked off Saturday.
- Results: 2019 Honda Indy 200 Practice 3
The driver of Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s No. 88 Honda completed a tour of the historic racetrack in 1:05.7048 on his 16th and final lap of Saturday morning’s practice, setting a new fastest lap of the weekend thus far.
The lap Herta took to the top of Friday’s combined timesheet was 0.0244 seconds off his pre-qualifying practice pace. Notably, his top Friday lap was turned on Firestone’s softer-compound alternate tires while he topped the field Saturday morning on black-sidewalled primaries.
American pilots and Honda cars surged to the top of the running order, led by Spencer Pigot and Alexander Rossi in the top three. The Ed Carpenter Racing and Andretti Autosport drivers came within 0.0577 and 0.1699 seconds of Herta on their respective quickest revolutions of the 2.258-mile venue.
James Hinchcliffe in fourth was the quickest non-American and the only driver not from the United States in the top eight. Santino Ferrucci, Graham Rahal, Josef Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay landed more cars bearing the stars and stripes in the top 10 and were quicker than Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power, who were ninth and 10th.
After that top 10 was split by 0.3857 seconds, the top 18 on the Practice 3 results lapped within the same second. The session was the busiest of the three practice outings, featuring about 80 more laps than Friday’s two practices.
Championship hopefuls Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon fell short of their rivals, landing 13th and 15th in the 23-car field at 0.7743 and 0.8358 seconds slower than their young American rival Herta.
Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Felix Rosenqvist nearly caused a red flag late in the session when he ran off at Turn 4 after the long backstretch. The rookie eventually rejoined the track safely, as did RC Enerson when he spun Carlin’s No. 31 Chevrolet at Turn 9 earlier on.
Scheduled to open on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. EDT and begin at 2:35 p.m., qualifying is next for IndyCar at Mid-Ohio to set the grid for Sunday’s 90-lap contest.