Power runs up front, rookies surprise in Mid-Ohio practice

Updated: 

LEXINGTON, Ohio – The track record at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course appears in jeopardy for the second straight year, as four drivers dipped below the standard in practice today for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Scott Dixon set the track record of 1 minute, 4.5814 seconds (125.869 mph) in 2015 Verizon P1 Award qualifying and was among the quartet that bettered it today. Records may only be set in qualifying or a race, so any official marks will wait until Saturday or Sunday on the 2.258-mile permanent road course.

CLICK HERE: Honda Indy 200 practice 2 resultsHonda Indy 200 combined practice results

Will Power, in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, was fastest in today’s afternoon session and for the day with a lap of 1:04.1962 (126.624 mph). Dixon was quick in the morning and second overall at 1:04.4491 (126.127 mph) in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

“It’s always a place that the team loves coming to,” said four-time series champion Dixon, a five-time winner at Mid-Ohio – earning half the 10 wins at the track for Chip Ganassi Racing. “Today it rolled off the truck pretty well and the car was decent. I think the car is always competitive and hopefully we’ll see what tomorrow brings. Obviously weather conditions are going to be tricky, I think, throughout and will definitely dice up the field a bit.”

Power’s fast lap was nearly four-tenths of a second quicker than the official record. With teams expected to add Firestone alternate compound tires for Saturday’s knockout qualifying, the Australian expects that record to fall.

“Obviously the cars are just getting faster and faster,” said the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion who is second to teammate Simon Pagenaud in the 2016 standings. “It's not like the track is getting faster. It's just amazing how much speed we have in like Turn 11 and Turn 1 now. It's close to flat (on the accelerator). It's not flat, but it's at that horrible limit where it's not flat. You know, you hold your breath kind of lifting.

“It probably looks spectacular from the outside, but yeah, it's definitely going to be a lap record broken.”

Power admitted that the biggest challenge this weekend will be adapting to a changing racetrack over the course of the race.

“This is probably the one track that evolves more than any other track,” said the two-time Mid-Ohio pole sitter whose best race finish is second (2010 and ’12). “There's no other track that has a lap time evolution of like five to six seconds. I mean, that's what this track does. So that will make it very interesting.”

Also posting laps below the track record this afternoon were Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, 1:04.4663, 126.094 mph) and Pagenaud (No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, 1:04.5353, 125.959 mph).

As impressive as the fast lap speeds were, the story of the second session may have been that of two Indy Lights graduates and Floridians, including one making his Verizon IndyCar Series debut.

RC Enerson, in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Dale Coyne Racing Honda, was seventh fastest in the afternoon (1:04.7284, 125.583 mph) before a heavy shower all but ended the 75-minute session 25 minutes early. Enerson drove the first half of the 2016 season in Indy Lights before setting his sights on a Verizon IndyCar Series ride.

“It was incredible,” said Enerson of his first day competing in an Indy car race weekend. “It’s completely different than anything I’ve driven. Every time I come here I always tend to do all right, it’s one of my favorite tracks.”

Enerson has won each of the past two years at Mid-Ohio, in USF2000 in 2014 and Indy Lights in 2015.

“It’s just got this thing about it that fits my driving style really well,” said the teenager, “and I’m just excited to be here. This is probably the best track to make my debut at.”

Spencer Pigot, the reigning Indy Lights champion driving the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet on Verizon IndyCar Series road and street courses this season, was eighth in the afternoon at 1:04.7428 (125.475).

Defending Mid-Ohio winner Graham Rahal (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) was fourth quick in the afternoon at 1:04.5982 (125.836 mph). Two drivers – Sebastien Bourdais and Juan Pablo Montoya – dared to try the Firestone wet tires in the waning moments of practice in the driving rain, but returned to pit road shortly after.

A third practice is set for 9:45-10:30 a.m. ET Saturday and will be streamed live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com. Verizon P1 Award qualifying starts at 2 p.m. ET Saturday, airing on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. The knockout qualifying will set the field for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200, the 90-lap race that can be found 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.

Rank

Car

Driver Name

C/A/E/T

Time

Speed

Diff

Gap

Best Lap

Total Laps

1

12

Power, Will

D/C/C/F

01:04.1962

126.624

--.----

--.----

17

17

2

10

Kanaan, Tony

D/C/C/F

01:04.4663

126.094

0.2701

0.2701

20

21

3

22

Pagenaud, Simon

D/C/C/F

01:04.5353

125.959

0.3391

0.0690

20

21

4

15

Rahal, Graham

D/H/H/F

01:04.5982

125.836

0.4020

0.0629

25

26

5

21

Newgarden, Josef

D/C/C/F

01:04.6392

125.757

0.4430

0.0410

19

23

6

83

Kimball, Charlie

D/C/C/F

01:04.6429

125.749

0.4467

0.0037

20

22

7

19

Enerson, RC (R)

D/H/H/F

01:04.7284

125.583

0.5322

0.0855

22

27

8

20

Pigot, Spencer (R)

D/C/C/F

01:04.7842

125.475

0.5880

0.0558

17

22

9

5

Hinchcliffe, James

D/H/H/F

01:04.8022

125.440

0.6060

0.0180

9

18

10

9

Dixon, Scott

D/C/C/F

01:04.8337

125.379

0.6375

0.0315

5

17

11

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

D/H/H/F

01:04.8599

125.329

0.6637

0.0262

14

17

12

3

Castroneves, Helio

D/C/C/F

01:04.8972

125.257

0.7010

0.0373

16

20

13

98

Rossi, Alexander (R)

D/H/H/F

01:04.9086

125.235

0.7124

0.0114

13

19

14

26

Munoz, Carlos

D/H/H/F

01:04.9366

125.181

0.7404

0.0280

15

17

15

18

Daly, Conor (R)

D/H/H/F

01:04.9579

125.140

0.7617

0.0213

16

21

16

41

Hawksworth, Jack

D/H/H/F

01:04.9843

125.089

0.7881

0.0264

17

18

17

2

Montoya, Juan Pablo

D/C/C/F

01:05.0555

124.952

0.8593

0.0712

14

21

18

8

Chilton, Max (R)

D/C/C/F

01:05.0931

124.880

0.8969

0.0376

17

22

19

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

D/C/C/F

01:05.1165

124.835

0.9203

0.0234

17

23

20

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

D/H/H/F

01:05.2645

124.552

1.0683

0.1480

18

18

21

27

Andretti, Marco

D/H/H/F

01:05.3078

124.469

1.1116

0.0433

18

18

22

14

Sato, Takuma

D/H/H/F

01:05.3873

124.318

1.1911

0.0795

13

19

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

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