“The car isn’t doing anything bad,” Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay told RACER after leading his second consecutive practice session at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The Floridian’s fastest lap (1m00.8966s) was produced on an unlikely set of tires.
“We were faster on used [Firestone] blacks than we were on a new set, so we need to look at that,” he added.
Hunter-Reay’s Honda-powered entry didn’t have much breathing room after Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden (+0.0039s) nearly matched the time in his Chevy. It was a similar note for Newgarden, who had Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato (+0.0067s) on his heels in third.
Penske flexed it muscles in the final session ahead of this afternoon’s run for pole position as Simon Pagenaud (+0.1534s) and Will Power (+0.1784s) held fourth and fifth. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Ed Jones, making it three Chevys in a row, completed the top six (+0.2021s).
The event recorded its first proper incident with Andretti’s Zach Veach, who spun entering the final corner and broke his rear wing while backing into the tire barriers. After a quick extraction by IndyCar’s AMR Safety Team, Veach drove back to the pits for repairs. Other than a few harmless spins, DragonSpeed’s Ben Hanley dealt with a stalled car for the second time in two days.
UP NEXT: Qualifying, 2:30 p.m. ET