The first laps quicker than 1:10 around WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca came during the second 45-minute NTT IndyCar Series practice session as preparations continued for the season-ending event in California.
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay was quickest of the 24 drivers on hand and one of three pilots — each using Honda power — to lap the picturesque permanent road course in less than 70 seconds during the second Friday practice.
At 1:09.9105, the quickest lap turned in by Hunter-Reay and the No. 28 DHL Honda was more than eight-tenths of a second faster than the lap Colton Herta took to the top of the Practice 1 timesheet earlier in the day. Helio Castroneves’ qualifying lap record from 2000 is still 2.1885 seconds away.
Just as he was Friday morning, Chip Ganassi Racing’s rookie Felix Rosenqvist placed second in Practice 2 thanks to his 1:09.9305 on the 11th of his 15 laps in the afternoon outing. Precisely 0.02 seconds slower than Hunter-Reay, the Swede was ahead of Colton Herta, Simon Pagenaud and Santino Ferrucci in the top five, which was covered by 0.2961 seconds.
Finishing fourth or better in Sunday’s race is one scenario that guarantees a second IndyCar championship for Josef Newgarden, who was sixth fastest in Practice 2. Scott Dixon, Will Power, Marcus Ericsson and Charlie Kimball filled positions seven through 10.
Second to Newgarden in the points standings, Alexander Rossi ended up 23rd with only Jack Harvey lapping slower on his quickest tour of Laguna Seca in the session. Rossi equalled Hunter-Reay in turning 13 laps but was 1.1129 seconds slower on his quickest.
A combined pit stop practice/”warm-up” session is next for IndyCar during its return to Monterey and will take place from 3:10–3:40 p.m. PDT Friday.