Newgarden fastest in final IndyCar practice, Harvey crashes
Sunday 20th March, 2022 - 10:06am
Josef Newgarden has set the pace in final practice at Texas Motor Speedway, while Jack Harvey crashed heavily around halfway into the hour-long hit-out.
Newgarden, who qualified seventh for Sunday’s (local time) second race of the 2022 IndyCar Series, went as quick as an average lap speed of 223.108mph in the #2 Team Penske Chevrolet.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon took second in the #9 Honda and pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist third in the #7 McLaren SP entry, both at above 222mph, while fellow front row starter Scott McLaughlin ended up 16th-quickest in the #3 Penske car.
The session was pushed back by 45 minutes to facilitate ‘top line practice’, when seven drivers took the invitation to run the high line in a special hit-out designed to rubber in the second lane at TMS.
When final practice finally got underway, Newgarden was first to lap above 220mph when he drove Car #2 to a 23.5130s equating to 220.474mph.
He was joined there when Christian Lundgaard clocked a 23.5299s/220.315mph in the #30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, before a yellow flag 10 minutes in for a track inspection.
Pato O’Ward was soon on top when the session went green again, driving the #5 McLaren SP Chevrolet to a 23.4749s/220.832mph which stood as the fastest lap until Alex Palou wheeled the #10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to a 23.4511s/221.056mph in the 25th minute.
Three minutes later, yellows flew again, but for a less innocuous reason than before.
Harvey drifted wide exiting Turn 2 and just brushed the wall, but that was enough to cause him to spin into a hard hit with the barriers on drivers’ left.
The impact caused sizeable damage to Car #45 although the Briton was able to walk away and the RLLR crew had fetched a spare chassis from their truck before practice had even resumed.
Despite the delay to recover Harvey’s car, only a net four minutes was lost when IndyCar officials added another 10 to the session.
Upon the green flag, Newgarden punched out a 23.3935s/221.600mph and then a 23.2354s/223.108mph on consecutive laps to firmly reclaim first position.
Graham Rahal had qualified last in the 27-car field but was second in final practice when he set a 23.3916s/221.618mph in the #15 RLLR entry, albeit soon usurped by Rosenqvist’s 23.2819s/222.662mph in the #7 Chevrolet.
Dixon split Newgarden and Rosenqvist in the final four minutes with a 23.2752s/222.726mph in the #9 Honda, shuffling the pole-sitter to third and Lundgaard to fourth.
Rounding up the top 10 were Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport), Takuma Sato (Dale Coyne Racing with RWR), Rahal, Helio Castroneves (Meyer Shank Racing), Romain Grosjean (Andretti), and Devlin DeFrancesco (Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport).
Palou finished up 11th and CGR team-mate Jimmie Johnson 13th, the latter’s career-best result in any IndyCar session as he makes his competitive oval debut in the category.
McLaughlin was 16th on a personal-best 23.5975s/219.870mph, and team-mate Will Power 19th on a 23.6438s/219.254mph.
Despite the special practice session just prior, in which Power was a participant, the high line at the Fort Worth circuit remained relatively unpopular.
Race start is scheduled for Monday at 03:45 AEDT, with live and ad-free streaming on Stan Sport from 03:30 AEDT.
Results: Practice 2
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