Newgarden, Andretti top Friday Phoenix practice sessions

Joe Skibinski/IndyCar

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Friday’s Prix View at Phoenix Raceway was, quite literally, a tale of night and day for Chevrolet and Honda as Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden and Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti led the way in two three-hour Verizon IndyCar Series practice sessions.

Session One

Newgarden and Chevrolet led the way in the opening session of the day, held in the heat of the Arizona afternoon. The three-time winner’s No. 2 Chevrolet completed a 19.3511-second lap around the 1.022-mile Phoenix oval, good for 190.129 mph.

A group of Chevrolets followed Newgarden, with the Penske newcomer’s former boss, Ed Carpenter, coming in second with a speed of 189.990 mph. Will Power (188.637) and JR Hildebrand (188.543) completed the Chevrolet quarter, with Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi (187.611) leading the way for Honda in fifth.

Andretti, Takuma Sato, Sebastien Bourdais, Ed Jones and Simon Pagenaud completed the top 10. Bourdais and Jones were among the early session’s surprises, leading the way for much of the three-hour practice for Dale Coyne Racing before a late group of runs ended their reign atop the charts.

Caution stalled the session three times, with the most notable issue coming when Conor Daly’s No. 4 Chevrolet began letting out smoke after just seven laps on-track. The Noblesville, In., native didn’t believe the issue was sever, though his team elected to avoid the rest of the session.

Results, via INDYCAR

Session Two

With a switch to the evening came cooler temperatures and, with it, increased performance for the Honda brigade.

Andretti led the way in the session, laying down a 19.4541-second circuit good for 189.122 mph. Graham Rahal (188.642) followed, with Sato (188.088), Scott Dixon (187.944), Bourdais (187.702) and Charlie Kimball (187.488) completing a strong sweep of the top six for the Honda group.

For Dixon and Kimball, the result was the first glimmer of hope for Chip Ganassi Racing, who made the switch from Chevrolet to Honda over the offseason. Dixon had led the way in a difficult opening practice for the organization in 12th.

Hildebrand carried the banner for Chevrolet in the full-field session with a speed of 187.028 mph, good for seventh. Tony Kanaan, Newgarden and Pagenaud completed the top 10.

Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves saw the most track time during the session, completing 124 laps apiece for Team Penske over the evening’s three-hour run.

There were no issues on the session, with the only yellow flags thrown for track inspections. However, Hildebrand did have a moment when electrical woes left him dodging Castroneves going into Turn 1.

Results, via INDYCAR

The IndyCar paddock will return for two additional three-hour blocks of practice time on Saturday from 3-6 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. ET.

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