IndyCar opted to scrap qualifying and determine Saturday night’s starting grid based on entrant points after rain shortened opening practice for the Bommarito 500 and continued after the session ended.
The first session was delayed by more than three hours and was interrupted by two lengthy cautions.
“I’m sure some people won’t like [the decision to cancel qualifying] but IndyCar decided to give us an extended practice session tonight. But it’s important from a safety standpoint and I think it’s good for everybody,” said Scott Dixon, who was second fastest in practice but will take the green flag from the pole position as the point leader.
The final IndyCar practice session is now scheduled to run at 8:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. CT and last for 90 minutes.
Alexander Rossi, winner of the past two races, threw down the fastest lap of 184.424mph (24.4003s) on the 1.25-mile oval in his Andretti Autosport NAPA Honda.
Rossi, only 29 points behind Dixon with three races remaining, will be going for his third consecutive victory.
Dixon ran 182.773 mph (24.6207s) in the Chip Ganassi PNC Honda and Sebastien Bourdais checked in with the third-fastest lap of 182.675 mph in the Dale Coyne Racing SealMaster Honda.
“We had a really good test here, so I was pretty confident,” Bourdais told IMS Radio. “We didn’t get to do much, obviously. Just trying not to make a mistake and rush things but under these circumstances you kind of have to.
Tony Kanaan, who was quick at Indy and Texas this year but didn’t get to the finish, was the quickest Chevy in fourth with a lap of 182.444mph for AJ Foyt.
Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Honda shut off on pit exit and required a trip to the garage, but he was able to return and 18 laps, finishing 16th.
Here are the results from the first practice session: