Dixon and Pagenaud lead way as practice starts for Grand Prix of Indianapolis

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The opening day of practice for the Grand Prix of Indy is complete.

Indianapolis, Ind. – Scott Dixon and Simon Pagenaud were the fastest speedsters in the first day of practice for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the fourth race of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Saturday’s 200-mile race will be run on the 14-turn, 2.349-mile road course that winds through the infield of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Driving the Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Dixon turned a lap at a speed of 124.606 miles per hour with Pagenaud a tick of the clock slower in the Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Chevrolet. The Frenchman’s speed was 124.572 mph.

Said Dixon, “It is nice to have a home race and seeing the changes to the corners of the track is good. For us, it is good to be back here and to start the month of May a little bit earlier. The car has been decent but it is hard to know what strategies others are on. Hopefully, we can have a good go for the pole tomorrow but the weather conditions will make it interesting.”

According to weather forecasts for Friday, an 80 per cent chance of rain is projected with thunderstorms also anticipated.

Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsport Honda
Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsport Honda

Photo by: Jay Alley

“This is a nice, flowing race track with a nice rhythm to it. Also, it is Indy, so we are at home,” Pagenaud stated. “The IndyCars are nice to drive here, and it is certainly the smoothest track we go to.”

Trailing the fast duo were Sebastian Bourdais, Will Power, rookie Mikhail Aleshin, James Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal, Barber victor Ryan Hunter-Reay, Justin Wilson and Marco Andretti.

2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan ran 11th fastest, Charlie Kimball 12th and Indy winner Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves rounded out the fastest 14 drivers.

Two 45-minute practice sessions were held, and Dixon and Pagenaud topped the list in the afternoon while Sebastian Bourdais led the way in the morning round with a speed of 124.518 mph. He tailed off to 12th in the afternoon run.

Long Beach winner Mike Conway ran last in both practice rounds. “It was a tough day for us,” the Brit said. “We thought we had some things figured out at the test, but it didn’t work out today.”

On Friday, another 45-minute practice session will be held in the morning with qualifications getting underway at 2 p.m. ET.

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Article type Practice report
Tags grand prix of indy, ims, indianapolis, indycar, practice, scott dixon, simon pagenaud