Dixon sets blazing pace in opening Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio practice

Updated: 

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Ahead of this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, the Verizon IndyCar Series is taking today to contend a promoter test day at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, giving teams extended preparation for Sunday’s 90-lap race. Scott Dixon led the first session of the day, with a best lap of 1 minute, 4.4491 seconds (126.127 mph), a lap quicker than the Mid-Ohio track record that he set in 2015.

Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) set the current lap record of 1:04.5814 (125.869 mph) in Verizon P1 Award qualifying last year, securing the pole position and an invaluable championship point, one of the 556 points that tied and ultimately helped earn him his fourth series championship on a tiebreaker over Juan Pablo Montoya.

“Feels good,” said Dixon of the fast lap. “The track feels fairly slippery, but the conditions are a lot cooler, so that’s helping performance-wise, and why I think the times are still pretty fast.”

CLICK HERE: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio practice 1 results

Dixon’s five wins at Mid-Ohio are the most for an Indy car driver at the 2.258-mile permanent road course. Chip Ganassi Racing has a record 10 wins in the 31 previous Indy car races on the track.

“Car is decent,” Dixon continued, “we’re still struggling with a few typical areas: understeer in a couple of places, especially in the tight stuff, and we didn’t actually didn’t really get to do our new tire run there. We were on a good lap and the No. 7 car (Mikhail Aleshin) spun in Turn 4, but all in all the Ganassi cars are always fast here. It’s always nice to be at Mid-Ohio.”

Following the Kiwi in the session were Team Penske teammates Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet, 1:04.5679) and Montoya (No. 2 Hawk Performance Chevrolet, 1:04.6034). Brazilian drivers Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, 1:04.6387) and Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, 1:04.7217) rounded out the top five in the 75-minute session.

Today’s promoter test day provides teams three sets of Firestone primary black-sidewall tires for the day, at least two of which must be returned at day’s end.

For many race fans in central Ohio, Christmas comes in July when the Verizon IndyCar Series comes to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and the Honda-powered drivers were happy to join in the holiday spirit. Prior to the opening session, all 11 Honda drivers gathered for a photo in red Santa Claus hats, celebrating the “Christmas in July” theme of the weekend.

The first 55 minutes of the session went off without issue, until Conor Daly skidded into the Turn 2 tire barrier, bringing out the red flag with less than 20 minutes remaining. Daly’s No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Dale Coyne Racing Honda sustained light front-end damage and returned to pit lane after assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team. The track returned to green-flag conditions with just more than 12 minutes left in the session, which passed without interruption.

The Verizon IndyCar Series is back on track this afternoon for another 75-minute session, with live television coverage on NBCSN at 2 p.m. ET and radio coverage on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network (IndyCar.com, IndyCarRadio.com).

Verizon P1 Award qualifying takes place Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Coverage of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio race begins at 2 p.m. ET Sunday on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network with a re-air on NBCSN at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Rank

Car

Driver Name

C/A/E/T

Time

Speed

Diff

Gap

Best Lap

Total Laps

1

9

Dixon, Scott

D/C/C/F

01:04.4491

126.127

--.----

--.----

22

23

2

12

Power, Will

D/C/C/F

01:04.5679

125.895

0.1188

0.1188

18

31

3

2

Montoya, Juan Pablo

D/C/C/F

01:04.6034

125.826

0.1543

0.0355

27

27

4

10

Kanaan, Tony

D/C/C/F

01:04.6387

125.757

0.1896

0.0353

21

21

5

3

Castroneves, Helio

D/C/C/F

01:04.7217

125.596

0.2726

0.0830

22

24

6

5

Hinchcliffe, James

D/H/H/F

01:04.7559

125.530

0.3068

0.0342

16

28

7

22

Pagenaud, Simon

D/C/C/F

01:04.7712

125.500

0.3221

0.0153

25

28

8

21

Newgarden, Josef

D/C/C/F

01:04.8258

125.395

0.3767

0.0546

27

27

9

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

D/C/C/F

01:04.8662

125.316

0.4171

0.0404

23

25

10

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

D/H/H/F

01:04.9059

125.240

0.4568

0.0397

24

24

11

83

Kimball, Charlie

D/C/C/F

01:04.9208

125.211

0.4717

0.0149

11

25

12

27

Andretti, Marco

D/H/H/F

01:05.0988

124.869

0.6497

0.1780

23

23

13

15

Rahal, Graham

D/H/H/F

01:05.1285

124.812

0.6794

0.0297

25

25

14

26

Munoz, Carlos

D/H/H/F

01:05.1752

124.722

0.7261

0.0467

13

28

15

18

Daly, Conor (R)

D/H/H/F

01:05.2710

124.539

0.8219

0.0958

20

22

16

14

Sato, Takuma

D/H/H/F

01:05.2977

124.488

0.8486

0.0267

20

23

17

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

D/H/H/F

01:05.3099

124.465

0.8608

0.0122

11

29

18

20

Pigot, Spencer (R)

D/C/C/F

01:05.3134

124.458

0.8643

0.0035

22

25

19

41

Hawksworth, Jack

D/H/H/F

01:05.5073

124.090

1.0582

0.1939

24

25

20

8

Chilton, Max (R)

D/C/C/F

01:05.5526

124.004

1.1035

0.0453

25

27

21

19

Enerson, RC (R)

D/H/H/F

01:05.5533

124.003

1.1042

0.0007

18

31

22

98

Rossi, Alexander (R)

D/H/H/F

01:05.7503

123.631

1.3012

0.1970

25

30

(R) Rookie (C)hassis: D=Dallara | (A)erokit: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)ire: F=Firestone

Total Laps: 571

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