Team Penske continued to set the pace in final practice at Sonoma Raceway, but for the first time this weekend, Scott Dixon was able to get between them, with the top five in the championship setting the five best times of the session.
Simon Pagenaud, who won at Sonoma in 2016 to clinch the title, set the pace on Saturday morning with a best time of 1:16.0329s, but Dixon put his Chip Ganassi Racing machine into second, just 0.1125 seconds back.
Will Power was a further 0.0155 seconds behind in third for Penske, ahead of team-mates Josef Newgarden and Helio Castroneves, with Takuma Sato the best of the non-title contenders in sixth for Andretti Autosport.
Newgarden currently leads the championship by three points from Dixon heading into this weekend’s double points finale, while Castroneves sits third, twenty-two points back, twelve ahead of Pagenaud, who sits thirty-four ahead of outsider Power.
Graham Rahal ended seventh for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti from the Andretti Autosport stable, while Tony Kanaan completed the top ten for Chip Ganassi Racing, 0.6766 seconds off the pace, with Sebastien Bourdais, Alexander Rossi and Max Chilton all getting to within one second of the pace.
There was a positive result for Jack Harvey, who got to within 0.0471 seconds of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team-mate James Hinchcliffe as he continues to adjust to life in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Sonoma Raceway Free Practice 3 Result
|1||1||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Team Penske||1:16.0329|
|2||9||Scott Dixon||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||1:16.1454|
|3||12||Will Power||AUS||Team Penske||1:16.1609|
|4||2||Josef Newgarden||USA||Team Penske||1:16.2973|
|5||3||Helio Castroneves||BRZ||Team Penske||1:16.4782|
|6||26||Takuma Sato||JAP||Andretti Autosport||1:16.5597|
|7||15||Graham Rahal||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||1:16.6372|
|8||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||USA||Andretti Autosport||1:16.6474|
|9||27||Marco Andretti||USA||Andretti Autosport||1:16.6991|
|10||10||Tony Kanaan||BRZ||Chip Ganassi Racing||1:16.7095|
|11||18||Sebastien Bourdais||FRA||Dale Coyne Racing||1:16.7675|
|12||98||Alexander Rossi||USA||Andretti Herta Autosport||1:16.7678|
|13||8||Max Chilton||GBR||Chip Ganassi Racing||1:17.0175|
|14||83||Charlie Kimball||USA||Chip Ganassi Racing||1:17.1271|
|15||19||Ed Jones||UAE||Dale Coyne Racing||1:17.1479|
|16||20||Spencer Pigot||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||1:17.2089|
|17||5||James Hinchcliffe||CAN||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||1:17.2175|
|18||7||Jack Harvey||GBR||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||1:17.2646|
|19||14||Carlos Munoz||COL||AJ Foyt Enterprises||1:17.2836|
|20||4||Conor Daly||USA||AJ Foyt Enterprises||1:17.3633|
|21||21||JR Hildebrand||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||1:17.3684|
|22||13||Zachery Claman DeMelo||CAN||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||1:17.8448|