BALTIMORE, MD- It’s been a great weekend thus far for Honda Racing and Sam Schmidt/Peterson Motorsports. After rookie Tristian Vautier paced the field in the two combined practice sessions Friday afternoon, his SPM teammate Simon Pagenaud set the quick time in final practice Saturday morning.
Pagenaud set the weekend’s fastest time with a lap of 1:18.4391 in his No. 77 HP Honda. He was fifth quickest yesterday. With him being very quick this weekend and finishing third in his rookie year last season in Baltimore, it looks like Pagenaud is the new favorite to win this year’s race.
Honda swept the top five in yesterday’s speed chart and kept that momentum going with putting three cars in the top five this morning including Pagenuad.
Scott Dixon was second quickest with a time of 1:18.5486 in his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. The other Honda driver in the top five was James Jakes who came home fifth this morning with a time of 1:18.7980 in his No. 16 ACORN Stairlifts Honda.
Will Power and Sebastien Bourdais were third and fourth respectively rounding out the top five.
The practice had tons of drama though and very action packed.
It started with points leader Helio Castroneves going into the Turn 8 runoff in the opening minutes of the 45-minute session. Not too long after we got going again the rivalry continued between Power and Dixon as Power turned Dixon into the Turn 12 wall. The duo would only have minor front nose damage but nevertheless it showed the rivalry is heating up and continuing for another week.
After that both KV Racing cars got into some trouble with Simona de Silvestro ending up in the tire barriers while her teammate Tony Kanaan ended up in the Turn 4 run off on the same lap.
From there several drivers ended up airborne off the chicane on the front stretch while most Andretti Autosport drivers James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti ended up making contact with the outside wall due to the chicane.
Overall, the session was full of drama, tons of wrecks and some of the weekend’s fastest speeds. What more could we want?
Eric Smith is a Senior Writer for the Indy Sports Report covering Racing. Follow Eric and the Indy Sports Report on Twitter.
Eric Smith is a Senior Writer for the Indiana Sports Report covering Racing. He’s covered both IndyCar and NASCAR action since 2009 and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by both the IndyCar Series and all three divisions of NASCAR racing.
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