Will Power continued to set the pace during Friday practice, but just barely edged rookie Jordan King and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi.
Power, a two-time winner on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, stamped himself as the favorite to win his third pole position in qualifying later this afternoon by posting a lap of 1:0m9.8759s in the Verizon Chevy.
“It was obviously warmer than this morning but a good session for us,” said Power, who paced the morning session with a lap of 1m10.0885s. “It’s pretty tight at the top but I think we’ve got a good car.”
A two-time polesitter on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course, Power set the track record of 1m07.7044s last May but it looks safe following the two 45-minute hot lap periods with teams running optional tires.
The temperature was almost 85 degrees by 1 p.m.
King, who started fourth in his IndyCar debut at St. Petersburg, threw in a lap of 1m09.9122s in Ed Carpenter’s Fuzzy’s Chevy.
“I like this place, it’s got a nice rhythm,” said King.
Rossi, victorious at Long Beach last month, continued to be strong in the Andretti Autosport’s NAPA Honda with a top lap of 1m09.9806s. That top trio were the only drivers to crack 1m10s in the 24-car line-up.
Robert Wickens, the polesitter in his IndyCar debut at St. Pete, shook off a rough opening session and responded with the fourth-fastest lap in Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ ARROW Honda.
“We weren’t too good this morning but we made some good adjustments,” said Wickens, whose teammate James Hinchcliffe was mired in 18th place. “James and I try to go different directions in setups to see what we can learn and he got the short straw this afternoon.”
Simon Pagenaud, the only other winner of this race besides his teammate Power, was fifth fastest at 1m10.0775s in the Menard’s Chevy and Helio Castroneves was close behind at 1m10.0891s.
UP NEXT: Qualifying at 4:30 p.m. ET