Dixon leads Mid-Ohio final warmup before late contact with wall

Updated: 

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, a five-time winner at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, flexed his muscle by posting the fastest lap in final practice ahead of this afternoon’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, but it was a bitter end to the morning for the four-time series champion.

Dixon, in the No. 9 Target Chevrolet, logged the fastest lap of 1 minute, 4.4039 seconds (126.216 mph) on his 18th lap of the morning warmup, but spun on his 21st and final lap, making light contact with the concrete barrier at the exit of Turn 6.

HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO: Warmup practice resultsCombined practice results

Following Dixon on the time chart in the morning were Ed Carpenter Racing’s Josef Newgarden (1:04.6324, No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka/ECR Chevrolet) and defending race winner Graham Rahal (1:04.9082, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda).

Championship leader and pole sitter Simon Pagenaud (1:05.0468, No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet) was fourth, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Mikhail Aleshin (1:05.1321, No. 7 SMP Racing Honda) fifth.

“I think we’re in pretty good shape for the race,” said Aleshin, who will start 10th this afternoon, outside teammate James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow Honda) in Row 5. “The guys on the SMP Racing No. 7 have worked pretty hard. We started this weekend not very fast. We were not very fast at the beginning of the weekend and now we’re getting up to speed, top 10 in qualifying and top five in warmup. So, let’s see how it goes, but I’m pretty positive about the race.”

After finishes of fifth and sixth at Iowa and Toronto, respectively, Aleshin will be chasing his third straight top-6 finish.

The morning incident caused yet another issue for the Dixon, who will start 11th in the 90-lap race on the 2.258-mile permanent road course, and adds to a list of struggles for Chip Ganassi Racing to overcome before the green flag.

Rookie Max Chilton’s No. 8 Gallagher Chevrolet suffered a mechanical issue in the warmup and only turned five laps. Charlie Kimball (No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet) was the lone team driver to make the Firestone Fast Six in Saturday’s Verizon P1 Award qualifying and will start fifth this afternoon.

Chip Ganassi Racing is pursuing its record 11th win at Mid-Ohio.

RC Enerson of Dale Coyne Racing (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda) continued his impressive Verizon IndyCar Series debut weekend by finishing this morning’s session seventh quick with a fast lap of 1:05.3008 (124.482 mph).

“I think (our pace) is pretty good,” said Enerson. “We were able to get pretty close to people and I was able to run in traffic pretty well. We just need to make a few changes to the car to help that, and I think we’ll be good for the race.”

Today’s race will also serve as the Floridan’s first opportunity to run live pit stops, an important challenge to save time on track. “It’s pretty crazy,” he said of the tight pit lane quarters at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. “It’s a bunch of chaos and that almost makes it more fun, having all that chaos, so it was definitely interesting.”

Fellow rookie and defending Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet) also impressed in the morning, running ninth at 1:05.4518 (124.195 mph).

With just five races to go in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season, today’s race provides another pivotal step toward one driver’s dream of a championship. Pagenaud leads Team Penske teammate Will Power by 48 points entering the race, with Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves 74 points back in third and Dixon 83 behind in fourth.

Coverage of The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio begins at 2 p.m. ET on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, with an encore airing at 5:30 p.m. on NBCSN.

The warmup session results are below:

Rank

Car

Driver Name

C/A/E/T

Time

Speed

Diff

Gap

Best Lap

Total Laps

1

9

Dixon, Scott

D/C/C/F

01:04.4039

126.216

--.----

--.----

18

21

2

21

Newgarden, Josef

D/C/C/F

01:04.6324

125.770

0.2285

0.2285

18

21

3

15

Rahal, Graham

D/H/H/F

01:04.9082

125.235

0.5043

0.2758

21

21

4

22

Pagenaud, Simon

D/C/C/F

01:05.0468

124.968

0.6429

0.1386

21

23

5

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

D/H/H/F

01:05.1321

124.805

0.7282

0.0853

9

18

6

2

Montoya, Juan Pablo

D/C/C/F

01:05.1538

124.763

0.7499

0.0217

12

20

7

19

Enerson, RC (R)

D/H/H/F

01:05.3008

124.482

0.8969

0.1470

14

19

8

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

D/C/C/F

01:05.3992

124.295

0.9953

0.0984

17

20

9

20

Pigot, Spencer (R)

D/C/C/F

01:05.4518

124.195

1.0479

0.0526

10

24

10

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

D/H/H/F

01:05.4576

124.184

1.0537

0.0058

12

16

11

12

Power, Will

D/C/C/F

01:05.5050

124.094

1.1011

0.0474

8

14

12

27

Andretti, Marco

D/H/H/F

01:05.5795

123.953

1.1756

0.0745

20

21

13

83

Kimball, Charlie

D/C/C/F

01:05.5945

123.925

1.1906

0.0150

15

20

14

14

Sato, Takuma

D/H/H/F

01:05.6891

123.747

1.2852

0.0946

19

20

15

10

Kanaan, Tony

D/C/C/F

01:05.7033

123.720

1.2994

0.0142

16

18

16

98

Rossi, Alexander (R)

D/H/H/F

01:05.7744

123.586

1.3705

0.0711

14

18

17

26

Munoz, Carlos

D/H/H/F

01:05.8119

123.516

1.4080

0.0375

17

17

18

41

Hawksworth, Jack

D/H/H/F

01:05.9109

123.330

1.5070

0.0990

16

21

19

3

Castroneves, Helio

D/C/C/F

01:05.9304

123.294

1.5265

0.0195

15

19

20

18

Daly, Conor (R)

D/H/H/F

01:05.9653

123.228

1.5614

0.0349

15

19

21

5

Hinchcliffe, James

D/H/H/F

01:06.1462

122.891

1.7423

0.1809

17

19

22

8

Chilton, Max (R)

D/C/C/F

01:17.9686

104.257

13.5647

11.8224

5

5

(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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