Rinus Veekay Goes Fastest in Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Second Practice

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Rinus Veekay went fastest in practice two, ahead of Pato O'Ward and Colton Herta. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones / Penske Entertainment / Courtesy of IndyCar)

Rinus Veekay went fastest during the red flag-riddled second practice session for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, a new face on top after Andretti Autosport dominated the first session at Barber Motorsports Park on Friday.

The Ed Carpenter Racing driver was the only driver to dip below a 1:06:000 lap time, with a best time of 1:59.9264 set on the Firestone red tyres.

“I knew we had potential yesterday, but we didn’t know we had the potential to be fastest right now,” Veekay said after the session. “The reds really give us what we need right now, I think there’s a little bit of time to be found on the blacks, but I’m happy.”

Some drivers who ran the red tyres didn’t seem to gain advantage they had hoped out of what is supposed to be the faster tyre, but the Dutchman disagreed.

“I felt like a half-second gain on the reds,” Veekay continued. “We just had to wait a little bit and we basically focused on a proper new tyre run when everyone was in pit lane. We did that well, got two new tyre runs in, one on blacks, one on reds, so I’m very happy. Being fast is enjoyable.”

He was followed by Pato O’Ward, who went second fastest, and Colton Herta in third, the highest placing Andretti car.

The American team was not as dominant today, with only two cars in the top ten (Herta third, Romain Grosjean fifth), while Alexander Rossi had a serious incident that brought out a red flag just under 15 minutes into the session. Rossi overcorrected in the final corner and got sent into the grass on the outside of the corner exit, slamming the Armco guardrail and destroying his gearbox.

Helio Castroneves caught a piece of debris right on his front wing trying to race past Rossi, cutting down his right front tyre. Oil from Rossi’s gearbox spilled onto the frontstretch, necessitating a tedious cleanup that eventually took about five minutes out of the practice after using up the entirety of the time allowed for red flags before it counts towards session time.

Rossi’s will require a full engine change, as all members of the Andretti camp scramble to get the car ready for qualifying, but Rossi remains confident that he will be ready.

“It’ll be a team effort, but they’ll get it done,” he said. “I’m not concerned.”

Team Penske improved greatly on their results in first practice. Scott McLaughlin continues to be the fastest of the bunch in fourth place, while Josef Newgarden improved from eighteenth Friday to eleventh. Will Power struggled during the session and brought out a second red flag with twelve minutes left in the session for a spin in turn seven, getting air time off of a curb in the turn seven complex and ending up in the gravel. He finished sixteenth.

Callum Ilott once again set the pace for rookies putting his Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet ninth fastest, with a large gap back to Kyle Kirkwood and Christian Lundgaard in fourteenth and fifteenth place respectively.

Qualifying for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama takes place in a few short hours at 1000 PT / 1300 ET / 1700 GMT.

Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – Second Practice Results

121Rinus VeeKayNEDEd Carpenter Racing01:05.9264
25Pato O’WardMEXArrow McLaren SP01:06.0136
326Colton HertaUSAAndretti Autosport01:06.0434
43Scott McLaughlinNZLTeam Penske01:06.1233
528Romain GrosjeanFRAAndretti Autosport01:06.2170
610Alex PalouESPChip Ganassi Racing01:06.2217
78Marcus EricssonSWEChip Ganassi Racing01:06.3982
89Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing01:06.4093
977Callum Ilott (R)GBRJuncos Hollinger Racing01:06.4217
1045Jack HarveyGBRRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:06.5588
112Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske01:06.6092
1215Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:06.6366
1320Conor DalyUSAEd Carpenter Racing01:06.7554
1414Kyle Kirkwood (R)USAA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:06.8065
1530Christian Lundgaard (R)DENRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:06.8069
1612Will PowerAUSTeam Penske01:06.8251
1718David Malukas (R)USADale Coyne Racing w/ HMD Motorsports01:06.8477
187Felix RosenqvistSWEArrow McLaren SP01:06.8540
1929Devlin DeFrancesco (R)CANAndretti Steinbrenner Autosport01:06.9085
2027Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Autosport01:06.9384
2106Helio CastronevesBRAMeyer Shank Racing01:06.9884
2251Takuma SatoJPNDale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing01:07.0931
2348Jimmie JohnsonUSAChip Ganassi Racing01:07.2888
244Dalton KellettCANA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:07.3606
2560Simon PagenaudFRAMeyer Shank Racing01:07.4104
2611Tatiana Calderon (R)COLA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:08.5398
(R) – Rookie
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Lifelong sports junkie, currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Hofstra University. Lead writer for Indycar at The Checkered Flag.
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