An evenly split top 10 in Practice 1 gave way to a more dominant performance by Honda in Practice 2 for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with Ryan Hunter-Reay fastest overall.
Hunter-Reay wheeled the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda to a best lap of 1:00.8295, marking the fastest lap of Friday’s running at 0.8936 seconds quicker than Matheus Leist’s Practice 1 time.
James Hinchcliffe, 19th fastest in the morning session, came out strong with the second-fastest lap of Practice 2 in the No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.
Team Penske’s Will Power was third fastest and one of only three Chevrolet-backed drivers in the top 10. Scott Dixon and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden completed the top five.
The Honda-powered cars of Alexander Rossi, Robert Wickens and Sebastien Bourdais were sixth through eighth, respectively. Tony Kanaan’s No. 14 Chevrolet was the final car from the manufacturer inside the top 10, just ahead of Takuma Sato whose 1:01.3491 was the 10th-fastest lap.
Practice was slowed by two red flags. The first flew eight minutes into the session for a trip into the run-off area at Turn 4 by Jordan King. His No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing machine avoided contact and was able to continue. Juncos Racing driver Rene Binder also escaped causing even minor cosmetic damage to the No. 32 Chevrolet when he spun at Turn 3 at the 35-minute mark.
With Friday’s on-track action complete, the series will return to the track on Saturday for Practice 3 at 11:10 a.m. EST ahead of qualifying at 2:20 p.m. Live streaming of both will be available at INDYCAR Race Control.