With one 45-minute practice session in the books led by Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon reasserted his dominance over the 3.37-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International road course with the fastest lap in Practice 2.
Dixon rocketed his No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to a time of 1:22.6187 on his fifth of 14 total laps turned. The four-time Watkins Glen winner topped every session at the track last year en route to winning the 2016 edition of the race.
“We still have a little bit of work to do out there, but the team brought some really good race cars to Watkins Glen this weekend,” said Dixon after practice. “The team is very strong here — these high-speed road courses like Mid-Ohio are where we seem to excel.
“I think this place really suits my driving style and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s qualifying.”
Will Power, outside the top 10 in Practice 1, showed he knows how to get around the smooth surface at The Glen with a time of 1:22.7129. The effort placed him second on the timesheet at the conclusion of the 50-minute session.
“We learned a lot today,” said Power. “The Verizon Chevy was pretty good. It was good to get a feel of the red tires versus the black tires.
“I feel like the course has changed a little over the last year, but it’s still super fast.”
Rahal traded the top of the leaderboard in Practice 1 with third fastest in the second session. His time, a 1:22.9716, made him the third and final driver under the 1:23 mark.
Simon Pageaud was the second Team Penske driver in the top five with his lap time of 1:23.0915 good enough to place him fourth on the timesheet when the checkered flag flew.
Alexander Rossi, second fastest in the first practice, completed the top five in the No. 98 Andretti Autosport Honda with a 1:23.1124.
Helio Castroneves, Charlie Kimball, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Takuma Sato and Josef Newgarden rounded out the top 10.
Practice slowed for one red flag when Max Chilton made contact with the barrier at Turn 5 after getting loose coming out of the bus stop chicane. The incident prompted INDYCAR to add five minutes to the session which was originally scheduled to be 45 minutes in duration.
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Done for the day, the series will be back on track on Saturday for Practice 3 at 10:30 a.m. EDT followed by three rounds of knockout qualifying beginning at 3 p.m. The race follows on Sunday after a brief 30-minute warm-up session at 9 a.m. with the green flag scheduled at 1:47 p.m.