Scott Dixon fired another warning shot heading into tomorrow’s IndyCar season finale at Sonoma by topping the times in the final 45-minute practice session ahead of qualifying.
Dixon’s 1m17.9697s put the No.9 Ganassi car just 0.0096s head of Will Power in the No.12 Team Penske Chevy, but with the top six covered by less than 0.2s – a group that included Dixon’s main championship rival Alexander Rossi – the New Zealander was quick to downplay the significance.
“I think everybody’s nervous,” he admitted. “It’s extreme competition and everybody wants to win, and that’s what’s so cool about sport in general but especially the Verizon IndyCar Series right now. We just need to keep our heads down and try to close this thing out.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Rossi finished the morning third and fourth-fastest respectively, leaving Penske duo Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud to round out the top six. Newgarden, who missed yesterday’s opening practice with a fuel problem, was also forced to sit out the final 10 minutes of Saturday’s session as a punishment for hitting a crew member during yesterday evening’s pitstop practice. Team Penske will also be assessed a monetary fine after the race.
Elsewhere, a generally solid morning for Andretti Autosport was underlined by Zach Veach and Marco Andretti both finishing up in the top 10, the pair going seventh- and 10th-fastest respectively to bookend RLL’s Takuma Sato and Coyne’s Santino Ferrucci.
Despite the occasional off-track moment from the likes of Rossi and Power, the only incident of any consequence was a spin by SPM’s Carlos Munoz at Turn 9 that triggered a brief red flag in the final two minutes.