BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Posting a fast lap of 1 minute, 7.7134 seconds (122.280 mph), Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti put his No. 27 Honda atop the time sheets in Practice 2 this afternoon for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by America’s First.
Andretti, who still laments what he feels should have been a Barber Motorsports Park win in 2010, edged Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) by less than four hundredths of a second, as the Australian clocked a fast lap of 1:07.7454 (122.222 mph) on the 2.3-mile permanent road course.
HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA: Practice 2 results; Combined practice results
“I think just as a team, we're on the 27 side just really trying to focus on us and trying to make the best educated guess at what the (Firestone alternate) reds would do,” Andretti said, “and I think we did a good job of that today.”
Team Penske locked out the top four spots in the first practice earlier today. Though the powerful team did not claim P1 in Practice 2, it did take second through fourth with Power, defending race winner Simon Pagenaud (No. 1 Menards Chevrolet, 1:07.8305) and Helio Castroneves (No. 3 AAA Insurance Chevrolet, 1:07.9044).
“This track, it's very challenging in the setup,” said Castroneves, who won the first Indy car race at the circuit in 2010. “Obviously, Firestone has been doing a very good job changing a little bit of the (tire) compound or the construction and it seemed to suit our setup.
“You have a lot of technical corners here that are becoming very difficult, so it makes a big difference when you have a good setup.”
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon (No. 9 NTT Data Honda) rounded out the top five at 1:07.9119 (121.923 mph). Team Penske’s fourth driver and 2015 Barber winner Josef Newgarden was eighth quick in the second practice, his No. 2 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Chevrolet lapping the 2.3-mile course at 1:08.2304 (121.354 mph).
The red flag flew early in the session when Dixon’s teammate Max Chilton (No. 8 Gallagher Honda) spun in Turn 14. The Briton’s 26th birthday was a struggle on track, as Chilton ran 20th quick in the opening session and posted the 17th-fastest lap in Practice 2 at 1:08.6668 (120.582 mph).
A second red flag flew when Dale Coyne Racing rookie Ed Jones (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda) spun at the Turn 5 hairpin. Jones, who has scored two top-10s in his first two Verizon IndyCar Series races, recovered to post the 20th-fastest lap of the session at 1:08.8129 (120.326 mph).
The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to Barber Motorsports Park’s 17-turn circuit Saturday for Practice 3 at noon ET (streaming live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com). Verizon P1 Award qualifying begins at 4:15 p.m., with NBCSN coverage starting at 4:30.
Sunday’s 90-lap race – the eighth Verizon IndyCar Series event at the track airs and third race of the 2017 season – airs live on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network at 3 p.m. ET.