until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Hunter-Reay fastest as IndyCar resumes

by Jack Benyon
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Ryan Hunter-Reay topped a busy Mid-Ohio IndyCar practice session ahead of this weekend’s double-header, as Arrow McLaren SP title hopeful Pato O’Ward crashed out.

The IndyCar Series ends a run of five oval races with the rescheduled Mid-Ohio weekend, with practice taking place in conditions that are expected to be much cooler than the mid-afternoon sun forecast for qualifying later today.

Alexander Rossi was the standout of the early running, repeatedly punching in times that sent him to the top of the timing screens. The habitual title contender is 18th in the standings after a woeful 2020 season so far.

He established the best time over the first half of the hour-and-a-quarter long session – when most drivers were on the harder tyre – before late qualifying simulation runs on the softer red tyre.

Crucial practice time was lost when O’Ward crashed with 40 minutes remaining in the session.

O’Ward ran slightly wide in the Turn 11 quick left-hander, and lost the rear end – believing the car bottomed out – crashing into the tyres at the entry of the last corner known as the Carousel.

With qualifying two hours after practice, the team will have its work cut out but the damage appeared minor to the left front and rear, and O’Ward believes the car will be ready.

Pato O'Ward crash Mid-Ohio IndyCar practice 2020

With 28 minutes remaining times tumbled as drivers began to switch to qualifying simulations.

It was Rossi’s Andretti Autosport team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay who pumped in two laps within the last five minutes, going quicker with the second lap although both were good enough to lead the session.

Renowned strong qualifier Will Power was a late improver and took second for Penske, 0.0918s behind Hunter-Reay as the top 16 was split by less than a second.

Rossi delivered third in the last five minutes, and runaway points leader Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing took fourth despite an early spin.

Before the O’Ward red flag, last year’s Mid-Ohio winner Dixon lost the rear end in the Keyhole left-handed hairpin, and had to reverse out.

Luckily the damage was cosmetic and his chances of sealing the IndyCar title this weekend remain intact if he can extend his lead (currently 96 points) to at least 141.

Scott Dixon Ganassi Mid-Ohio IndyCar 2020

Santino Ferrucci set a blistering lap for Dale Coyne but was deposed from a temporary top spot in the last five minutes and fell to fifth, while Dixon’s closest rival and Gateway winner last time out Josef Newgarden managed sixth for Penske.

Rookie Alex Palou revisits the track where his first IndyCar test with Dale Coyne last year was enough to secure him a one-year contract, although he enters this weekend fighting for his seat even though the team appears keen to keep him.

He was seventh fastest, ahead of Colton Herta. Along with Marco Andretti in 10th, that made it four of the Andretti five in the top 10.

Splitting Herta and Indianapolis 500 polesitter Andretti in ninth was Conor Daly, who returns to the Ed Carpenter Racing seat he occupies for road courses after recent oval duties for Carlin.

Qualifying for race one takes place at 2pm local time today, using a two-groups format with each filling one side of the grid rather than the standard road course event four-part knockout system.

On Sunday there is no practice, with qualifying to the same format at 10.15am local time and the race at 1pm.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Team Car Gap Next Gap Leader Best Time
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 1m06.303s
2 Will Power Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet +0.092s +0.092s 1m06.395s
3 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda +0.034s +0.126s 1m06.429s
4 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda +0.011s +0.137s 1m06.44s
5 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Dallara DW12-Honda +0.121s +0.258s 1m06.561s
6 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet +0.134s +0.392s 1m06.695s
7 Alex Palou Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Dallara DW12-Honda +0.084s +0.476s 1m06.779s
8 Colton Herta Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda +0.055s +0.531s 1m06.834s
9 Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet +-1m0-1s +0s 1m06.303s
10 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian Dallara DW12-Honda +0.595s +0.595s 1m06.898s
11 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet +0.054s +0.649s 1m06.952s
12 Rinus VeeKay Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet +0.046s +0.695s 1m06.998s
13 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara DW12-Honda +0.016s +0.711s 1m07.014s
14 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda +0.042s +0.753s 1m07.056s
15 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara DW12-Chevrolet +0.126s +0.879s 1m07.182s
16 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara DW12-Honda +0.053s +0.932s 1m07.235s
17 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara DW12-Honda +0.193s +1.125s 1m07.428s
18 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda +0.012s +1.137s 1m07.44s
19 Oliver Askew Arrow McLaren SP Dallara DW12-Chevrolet +0.023s +1.16s 1m07.463s
20 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda +0.078s +1.238s 1m07.541s
21 Charlie Kimball A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara DW12-Chevrolet +0.155s +1.393s 1m07.696s
22 Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP Dallara DW12-Chevrolet +0.307s +1.7s 1m08.003s
23 Dalton Kellett A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara DW12-Chevrolet +0.101s +1.801s 1m08.104s
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