James Hinchcliffe edged out COTA winner Colton Herta to go fastest in Friday’s second NTT Data IndyCar Series practice session at Barber Motorsports Park.
Hinchcliffe became the first driver for the weekend to duck underneath the 1m09s barrier with a 1m08.9994s, putting him just 0.0090s ahead of Herta on an afternoon where Honda locked out the top six places.
The slippery track conditions still presented a challenge: Herta was among those who ended the session without a clear picture of whether the red tires offered any significant advantage over their harder compound counterparts, and he was also one of several to be caught out by the lack of grip, which sent him skittering off the track and tiptoeing around the edge of a gravel trap before rejoining. Sebastien Bourdais and Zach Veach also went off, with Veach producing an especially lurid display of rallycross before getting his car moving in the right direction again.
“It’s definitely slick out there,” said the Andretti driver. “We’re seeing things we haven’t seen at Barber before, especially with the reds.”
All of those moments were benign, and the only incident of any real consequence was saved for Santino Ferrucci, who went off and into the tires at Turn 16 to bring out the session’s only red flag with 17 minutes left. Fortunately for him the damage was minimal, and he ended the day third-fastest ahead of Coyne teammate Bourdais and Andretti’s Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay. ECR’s Spencer Pigot carried the banner for Chevrolet in P7.
Up next: Practice 3, 11:50am E.T. Saturday