The four-hour test session that closed out Thursday’s NTT IndyCar Series action at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca gave teams and drivers a major opportunity to find speed ahead of Friday’s official start of the 2019 season finale, but none more than Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s rookie Colton Herta.
Herta’s 1:10.0720 improved upon Scott Dixon’s Session 1-leading time by more than one second, putting him atop both Session 2 and the combined results for the test day as he created a gap of more than four-tenths of a second back to Will Power, who ended the day second fastest.
Behind the rookie and the veteran, another IndyCar newcomer found speed with Felix Rosenqvist setting the third-fastest lap time in his No. 10 NTT Data Honda after ending the morning outing in second.
Championship leader Josef Newgarden placed fourth at the conclusion of Session 2, fastest of the four contenders that will duel for the 2019 championship Sunday. Dixon ended the second session in sixth, Simon Pagenaud in eighth and Alexander Rossi in ninth.
Lapping with similar pace to the championship frontrunners were Graham Rahal with the fifth-fastest lap, Ryan Hunter-Reay in seventh and Zach Veach at the tail end of the top 10.
The 13 fastest drivers were all within one second of Herta’s chart-topping time while those 14th or worse ranged from 1.0029 to 1.3655 seconds in arrears of the day’s fastest lap. Ed Carpenter Racing struggled as a team with Spencer Pigot ending the session 22nd fastest and Ed Jones last in the field of 24.
The conclusion of the single-day Open Test turns attention to the beginning of the end of IndyCar’s 2019 season. Practice 1 at 10:30 a.m. PDT will kick off the final race weekend of the year.