Kanaan quickest in sole Pocono practice session

by Jordan Groves

Tony Kanaan has finished as the fastest driver in the one and only practice session prior to tomorrow’s 2019 NTT IndyCar Series ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. The A.J. Foyt Enterprises driver led for the majority of the session with his fastest lap of 216.354-mph, but the Brazilian did not spend as much time running in traffic as his rivals did.

After first practice and qualifying were rained out, forcing the grid for tomorrow’s race to be set by entrant points, IndyCar officials elected to run just one, two hour, practice session prior to the race once the track had dried up. With qualifying now no longer an issue, the drivers and teams focussed solely on dialling in their cars for race conditions, thus accounting for the comparatively slow lap speeds of 216-mph compared to qualifying speeds that approach 220-mph.

Once the two hour session had elapsed, it was Kanaan who had the fastest time of the session in his #14 Chevrolet. It would be the first time since practice for the 2018 Indianapolis 500 that Tony had led the way in an official session. However, despite showing decent pace in practice, he will start tomorrow’s race down in nineteenth place due to his lowly position in the championship standings. He will be hoping to cut his way through the field to try and give himself and his team a much needed boost at the end of what has been one of Kanaan’s toughest seasons in IndyCar to date.

Kanaan’s fellow veteran and former team-mate, Scott Dixon, put down a fast lap right at the end of the session to take the second-fastest lap-time. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver put in a 215.761-mph lap and is the highest-placed of the four realistic championship contenders. He also set the fastest-lap speed for a driver without the aid of a slipstream, setting a 214.438-mph lap.

Dale Coyne Racing‘s rookie, Santino Ferrucci, showed great pace on an oval once again. Santino sat in second place for much of the session before being pipped by Dixon right at the end. The Connecticut-born driver is treating this event as his home race, with many of his family and friends having made the two-hour journey to Pennsylvania to cheer him on this weekend.

Santino backed up his fast lap with a number of confident overtakes whilst running in traffic during the session. He will be hoping to carve his way through from his grid position of thirteenth tomorrow to try and take another strong result on a speedway.

Defending race-winner, Alexander Rossi, set the fourth-fastest time of the session. His #27 Andretti Autosport Honda looked to be one of the best in traffic during the session, with the Californian able to pull away from those behind him relatively easily on numerous occasions. He will hope to go back-to-back by winning tomorrow to draw himself ever closer to championship-leader and pole-sitter, Josef Newgarden.

Credit: Chris Owens / Courtesy of IndyCar

Team Penske‘s Simon Pagenaud set the fifth-fastest time of the session despite having been forced to miss the first forty minutes of running due to technical gremlins. He and his two team-mates, Josef Newgarden and Will Power, all tried three different setups during the session to see which was best, with Simon comfortably ahead of his stablemates. Newgarden ended the session way down in seventeenth place, with Power even further back in twentieth out of the twenty-two runners.

Colton Herta set the sixth-fastest time in the session but will have to start tomorrow’s race down in fourteenth place due to the cancellation of qualifying. Herta ended practice just ahead of seventh placed Sebastien Bourdais, with the returning Charlie Kimball putting in a solid effort throughout practice to take the eighth fastest time in the #23 Carlin Chevrolet. Kimball’s team-mate for this weekend, Conor Daly, was further back in fourteenth place.

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal completed the top ten in practice, with Felix Rosenqvist and Zach Veach just outside in eleventh and twelfth respectively. Rosenqvist completed more laps than anyone else during the two-hour session, completing eighty-three laps of Pocono Raceway on his way to eleventh place.

Further back, it was a tough session for the two Arrow Schmidt Peterson drivers. James Hinchcliffe and Marcus Ericsson could only manage thirteenth and nineteenth respectively and will be hoping that their pace in the race tomorrow is much better. There were also frustrations at the Ed Carpenter Racing camp, with Spencer Pigot and Ed Carpenter way off of the pace down in twenty-first and twenty-second. Both will be hoping for much more once the green flag flies tomorrow afternoon.

The 2019 ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway will take place tomorrow, Sunday, August 18.

2019 NTT IndyCar Series – ABC Supply 500 – Practice top twelve results:

POSNO.DRIVERNATTEAMSPEED (MPH)
114Tony KanaanBRAA.J. Foyt Enterprises216.354
29Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing215.761
319Santino Ferrucci (R)USADale Coyne Racing215.377
427Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Autosport215.373
522Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske215.368
688Colton Herta (R)USAHarding Steinbrenner Racing215.338
718Sebastien BourdaisFRADale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan215.267
823Charlie KimballUSACarlin214.818
928Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport214.623
1015Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing214.617
1110Felix Rosenqvist (R)SWEChip Ganassi Racing214.554
1226Zach VeachUSAAndretti Autosport214.489

Full results of practice can be found by clicking the following link: http://www.imscdn.com/INDYCAR/Documents/5661/2019-08-17/indycar-results-pf.pdf

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