Castroneves, Chevy top Fontana IndyCar test

Castroneves, Chevy top Fontana IndyCar test

IndyCar

Castroneves, Chevy top Fontana IndyCar test

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With a 49-point championship lead in hand, Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves will need to hold off a group of drivers intent on snatching the title from his grasp, but based on his speed during Tuesday’s test at Fontana, he could be hard to catch at the season finale.

The Brazilian’s 218.3mph fast lap around the 2.0-mile Auto Club Speedway oval in Southern California was well clear of Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti’s 216.9mph tour on a day where rising ambient temperatures saw some of the 23 drivers in action post their best laps during the morning session.

Chevy drivers posted the four fastest times on Tuesday, with Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, who sits second in the championship, running the fastest lap for the Honda continent with a 216.2 mph lap, which was good enough for fifth.

Three spins were executed at Fontana, with Ganassi’s Charlie Kimball the only one to come away unscathed. A.J. Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato did light damage to his rear wheel guard during a spin while exiting the pits and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden brushed the wall during his rotation, and like Sato, only minor damage was incurred.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal, who set the slowest speed of the day, encountered engine issues at the beginning of the test and ran very few laps before parking his car.

Honda’s brand-new twin-turbo V6 engine turned approximately 50 laps during the afternoon with Schmidt Hamilton Racing’s Simon Pagenaud at the controls. No issues were reported and speeds in the high 211mph range were set by the Frenchman in a spare SPM chassis.

“I can’t discuss the engine, but it was a good outing and I’m very proud to have been the first driver to test the engine for Honda,” Pagenaud told RACER. “I have done a lot of development driving for the Honda Performance Development guys in the past, especially in sports cars, and I hope I get to do more with this engine.”

Testing speeds (All unofficial)

Rank

Driver

Speed

Time

Engine

1

Helio Castroneves

218.3

AM

Chevy

2

Marco Andretti

216.9

PM

Chevy

3

James Hinchcliffe

216.9

AM

Chevy

4

Will Power

216.7

AM

Chevy

5

Scott Dixon

216.2

PM

Honda

6

Sebastien Bourdais

216.2

PM

Chevy

7

Justin Wilson

215.9

PM

Honda

8

Tony Kanaan

215.8

AM

Chevy

9

Ed Carpenter

215.7

PM

Chevy

10

Takuma Sato

215.6

AM

Honda

11

Josef Newgarden

215.4

PM

Honda

12

Simon Pagenaud

215.4

PM

Honda

13

Oriol Servia

215.4

PM

Chevy

14

Sebastian Saavedra

215.3

PM

Chevy

15

Dario Franchitti

215.2

PM

Honda

16

Ryan Hunter-Reay

215.2

AM

Chevy

17

EJ Viso

214.9

PM

Chevy

18

James Jakes

214.8

PM

Honda

19

Simona de Silvestro

214.4

PM

Chevy

20

Charlie Kimball

214.2

PM

Honda

21

Pippa Mann

212.4

AM

Honda

22

Tristan Vautier

212.3

PM

Honda

23

Graham Rahal

208.7

AM

Honda

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