VeeKay to the top in second Barber IndyCar practice

Gavin Baker/Motorsport Images

VeeKay to the top in second Barber IndyCar practice

IndyCar

VeeKay to the top in second Barber IndyCar practice

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Amid the long stoppages for crashes, spins and stalls, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay set the fastest lap at Barber Motorsport Park’s second practice session. The Dutchman was the only NTT IndyCar Series driver among the 26 in attendance to dip below the 1m06s barrier, taking his No. 21 ECR Chevy to an impressive 1m05.9264s tour on Firestone’s faster alternative tires.

VeeKay was among the first to venture out on the red-banded tires and was rewarded with a lap that stood for the remainder of the session. Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward was close behind in second with the No. 5 Chevy (+0.0872s) and Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta — fastest on Friday — shot to third on the last lap with the No. 26 Honda (+0.1170s).

They were followed by Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin in fourth (+0.1969s), Andretti’s Romain Grosjean, who had a harmless spin, in fifth (+0.2906s) and Alex Palou — the first of three consecutive Chip Ganassi Racing drivers — in sixth (+0.2953s).

Among the surprises, Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Callum Ilott was ninth, backing up a run to eighth on Friday, and in 11th, Josef Newgarden was slightly adrift; teammate Will Power was 16th after spinning into the gravel and bringing out a red flag for which he was forced to sit and wait on pit lane for five minutes as a penalty for his transgression.

The first red flag of the session was an unfortunate one as Andretti’s Alexander Rossi got sideways coming out of the final corner, almost caught the sliding No. 27 Honda, but ultimately lost control and backed it into the right-side wall, just past the point where the soft wall ended.

While extensive damage was done to Rossi’s rear drivetrain, the worst part came when the attenuator broke off the back of his car and hit the right-front tire of Helio Castroneves’ No. 06 Honda. The attenuator was pulverized on the contact and the Meyer Shank Racing driver’s tire was flattened, which caused the Brazilian’s car to come to a stop.

Castroneves’ car gets service…then waits. Image by Marshall Pruett

Rossi’s car was taken back to the paddock dangling from the back of a tow truck and Castroneves, an innocent party, was towed back to pit lane where the MSR team replaced the punctured tire and performed a quick alignment check on the front suspension. Per one of IndyCar’s more curious rules, the Brazilian was forced to surrender five minutes by sitting idle on pit lane for being part of the red flag.

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