Ryan Hunter-Reay edged out Spencer Pigot to go fastest in the second NTT Data IndyCar Series practice session in St Petersburg.
Hunter-Reay’s best of 1m00.8969s came in the final minutes when most of the field bolted on a set of reds, and left the Andretti Autosport Honda driver just 0.08s ahead of Pigot’s No.21 Chevy-powered ECR car.
Marco Andretti, who’d occupied the top spot for much of the early running, held on to end the afternoon third fastest, leaving Colton Herta and Max Chilton to round out the top five. Herta’s lap time was accompanied by a sprinkling of late drama when he skated into a run-off and brought out the red flag, but by then the checker was already waving.
Herta wasn’t alone in overstepping the limits. Zach Veach appeared to be struggling with brake problems that resulted in a big flat-spot at the hairpin, followed a few laps later by a slide into an escape road where he joined James Hinchcliffe, who’d skidded in a few moments earlier.
“I don’t know what’s going on, guys,” Veach radioed. “The thing feels way messed up.”
Elsewhere, morning pacesetter Felix Rosenqvist settled for 14th fastest in the afternoon, one place behind Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon. Only a few spots ahead of them were two-thirds of the Penskes, with Josef Newgarden and Will Power finishing up a relatively muted ninth and 10th fastest respectively. Simon Pagenaud, who was reportedly suffering telemetry problems, was back in P17.
UP NEXT: Practice 3, Saturday, 10:25am E.T.