Friday Gateway Wrap-Up

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Qualifying teaches you to not to pay too much attention to the first practice. James Hinchcliffe was the slowest car in the afternoon practice session, yet he qualified seventh. Santino Ferrucci was the quickest in practice and he qualified sixth. Marcus Ericsson was second fastest this afternoon, yet he will roll off fourteenth tomorrow night.

But one thing is fairly easy to predict – a Penske car will perform well at Gateway. Wil Power started from the pole two years ago. His teammate Josef Newgarden won that race. Last year, Scott Dixon was on the pole, but Power won the race. Earlier this evening, Josef Newgarden put his PPG Paints sponsored car on the pole with a speed of 186.508 mph.

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JOENEWP1

newgarden and bordais

For the longest time, it looked as if Sébastien Bourdais would put his Dale Coyne SealMaster car on the pole. However, Newgarden was the last car to go and he put up a big number. Bourdais was disappointed, but I think the Honda people I was standing next to were even more disappointed. Still, Bourdais will start alongside Newgarden on the front row. Bourdais was able to break up the Penske party, because the other two Penske cars of Will Power and Simon Pagenaud will start respectively in Row Two.

Takuma Sato and Santino Ferrucci will make up the third row, while James Hinchcliffe and Scott Dixon will start seventh and eight. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Felix Rosenqvist round up the Top-Ten on the grid.

The only championship contender that I haven’t mentioned is Alexander Rossi. Rossi qualified a disappointing eleventh. The Andretti cars appear to be slightly off-pace. Hunter-Reay is the fastest, starting ninth; while Rossi rolls off eleventh. Zach Veach seemed almost pleased to be starting fifteenth and Marco Andretti will start dead-last – almost a full second slower than the Matheus Leist car starting right next to him. If you count Colton Herta’s Harding Steinbrenner entry as an Andretti car, he starts twelfth. Overall, it was not a good qualifying night for Andretti Autosport.

The night practice ended with Conor Daly sitting atop the scoring pylon. That’s the good news for Carlin. The bad news is that with seven minutes remaining in the session, Charlie Kimball brushed the Turn Four wall. I happened to be standing down there, and it actually sounded harder than a brush. I heard the tires squeal when I looked up just to see him glancing off of the SAFER Barrier with a resounding BOOM! as he drifted down the front straightaway before coming to a stop. Practice came to a premature end. Between the two practices and qualifying, Kimball’s incident was the only one of the entire day.

As all the other teams were tearing down their cars after the practice getting ready for the race tomorrow night, the Carlin No. 23 team was busy repairing the minor damage to Kimball’s car.

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It was a perfect evening to be outside. The ambient temperature when practice started was 76°, with a nice breeze just to make things pleasant. Practice started right on time at 8:15 and all cars immediately took the track. I got a video at pit-out just as all cars exited the pits for the first of practice.

Aside from Conor Daly being atop the pylon with the fastest time of the night, other notable times saw pole-sitter Josef Newgarden set the second quickest time with a lap of 181.312 mph. Zach Veach was third quick with a lap of 181.033 mph. Takuma Sato and Felix Rosenqvist rounded out the Top-Five.

As far as the other championship contenders go; Scott Dixon had the sixth quickest lap at 180.581 mph, Simon Pagenaud was seventh quick with a speed of 180.566 mph and Alexander Rossi was eighth quick with a speed of 180.542 mph. The slowest car of the evening practice was Ed Carpenter with a speed of 176.884 mph.

That will do it for us tonight. We plan on sleeping in tomorrow and not getting to the track until early afternoon, so check back then. I’ll close with a few pictures – that Susan took throughout the day and evening. Thanks for following along today and check back early tomorrow afternoon.

George Phillips

bordais car

kanaan herta

heather

kanaan in car

Kannan car 2

cindric

Newgarden

Hinch car

becky

hunter reay

santino

Veach

visor pag

One Response to “Friday Gateway Wrap-Up”

  1. Mark Wick Says:

    Apparently, when you wrote this, you were not aware that Newgarden’s car had developed an engine problem late in the evening practice. His crew did quite a bit of work and changed out some parts, but the early finish to the session denied them a chance to get in any more track time to see if they had actually resolved the problem.
    I have a feeling that there will be a first time winner tomorrow night, probably Daly or Ferrucci.

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