Will Power gave Team Penske a clean sweep of all three practice sessions for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park with the fastest lap in Practice 3.
Power’s 1:07.3430 around the 2.3-mile road course was more than two-tenths of a second quicker than Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Robert Wickens, who was the session’s top rookie with the second-fastest time. Following his Practice 3 performance, Power will enter qualifying with the fastest lap of the weekend.
Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi completed the top five to give Honda four cars in the group. Dixon’s best lap was 0.3945 seconds off Power’s session-topping pace. Hunter-Reay was just 0.0032 seconds behind Dixon while Rossi was a further 0.0695 seconds back. The top five was separated by less than a half second.
Josef Newgarden, the fastest driver in Practice 2, was sixth quick in Practice 3 while teammate Simon Pagenaud, rookie Jordan King, St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais and James Hinchcliffe rounded out the top 10.
After ending Friday’s two sessions with the second-fastest lap, Spencer Pigot took the checkered flag with the 22nd-fastest lap, just ahead of Juncos Racing’s Rene Binder who was more than two seconds slower than Power.
The curse of Turn 5 continued for the third consecutive practice with Ed Jones finding the gravel and bringing out the first red flag of the session after 15 minutes of green-flag running. Once Jones’ No. 10 Honda was extracted, the session resumed with 25 minutes remaining on the clock.
Five minutes after Jones’ trip into the gravel, King and his No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet went through the gravel outside of Turn 2 and into the Armco barrier to bring out the second red flag. King was able to climb from his race car without assistance from the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team.
Three minutes before the scheduled end of the session, Charlie Kimball’s No. 23 Carlin Chevrolet stopped on course at the entrance of Turn 5 to bring out simultaneous red and checkered flags.
The 23-driver field will qualify for Sunday’s race on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. CDT with live timing and scoring available at INDYCAR Race Control. Television coverage will be live on CNBC at 4 p.m. EDT with an encore telecast on NBCSN at 6:30.