After two races, perhaps one of the early surprises in this year’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship is that the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports trio has just one combined podium between them (Jack Harvey, third at St. Petersburg).
Luiz Razia, who entered the field as one of the top preseason championship contenders given his GP2 experience and near-F1 race opportunity, has some personal bulletin board material to motivate him to do better. The 25-year-old Brazilian has finished fifth in both races.
That’s the Long Beach podium of Gabby Chaves, Zach Veach and Matthew Brabham, who thus far have had a leg up on the SPM quartet. Schmidt’s team has won the last four Indy Lights championships.
Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. with a speed of 122.953 mph.
Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.
Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.
The practice was interrupted several times for incidents.
Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.
With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.
“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”
With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.
Dixon also had an off-road excursion.