Graham Rahal fastest in Practice 3 at Mid-Ohio
Graham Rahal joined Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Hunter-Reay as a driver to top a practice session at the 2018 Honda Indy 200. | Photo: Gannon Burgett / The Apex

With no clear dominant driver emerging at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after 2.5 hours of practice, Graham Rahal took a turn atop the timesheet to give Honda a practice sweep heading into knockout qualifying.

Rahal’s 1:05.2067 remained atop the timesheet at the end of an extended 48-minute session which was paused by three red flags. INDYCAR allowed drivers one timed lap after going back to green following a red-flag period with less than a minute remaining on the session clock.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden was the fastest Chevrolet-backed driver with a lap just 0.0403 seconds slower than Rahal’s, placing him second on the Practice 3 timesheet.

Newgarden’s teammate Will Power added a second bowtie-badged car to the top five while Alexander Rossi and Scott Dixon completed it with Honda-powered machines. Simon Pagenaud, Sebastien Bourdais, Robert Wickens, Takuma Sato and Zach Veach rounded out the top 10, giving Honda a 7-3 advantage in the group.

Pietro Fittipaldi, making his return to Dale Coyne Racing after a serious accident at Spa-Francorchamps in May, went off course at Turn 2 following 10 minutes of practice to bring out the first red flag. Turn 9 gave Matheus Leist trouble at the 24-minute mark, pausing practice for the second time while his AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet was retrieved after contacting the wall.

Both drivers ended the session near the bottom of the timesheet with Leist 22nd and Fittipaldi 23rd. Only Juncos Racing’s Rene Binder, who turned 18 laps, was slower with a 1:07.2410 — more than two seconds slower than Rahal’s pace.

The final red flag flew with five minutes to go when Pagenaud went off at Turn 12 and made contact with the tire barrier. At the same time, Spencer Pigot was off course in Turn 1.

The 24-driver field, including seven Verizon IndyCar Series rookies, will be back in action for knockout qualifying on Saturday at 1:35 p.m. EDT with live television coverage on NBCSN.

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