IndyCar: Kanaan leads Ganassi 1-2-3 in Texas first practice

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First blood in practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, the Firestone 600 (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) went to Tony Kanaan in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet entry, adorned in a gray Suave for Men livery this weekend.

TK, like most in the 75-minute practice session, set his fastest time late in the session on a set of fresh tires. He clocked in at 219.382 mph to lead a Chip Ganassi Racing 1-2-3.

Second was Scott Dixon in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet (218.321) and third was Ryan Briscoe, in the No. 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet (217.763).

Briscoe missed this race last year but led most of the session; he has a very strong record at the track with seven starts and five top-five finishes, and a win in 2010.

“It’s slick and really slippery,” Briscoe told IMS Radio Network’s Nick Yeoman after the session. “I heard everyone talking about lack of grip. But the car felt good out of the box. We tested here about 6 weeks ago, and we’re carrying that into our race prep here. The track’s old. Every year here there’s less and less grip. Big lap time drop offs.”

Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya completed a top-six that were swept by entries from Ganassi, Andretti Autosport and Team Penske.

Best of the rest was Carlos Huertas in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda in seventh, also jumping up late in the session. The returning Ed Carpenter, Justin Wilson and Will Power completed the top 10.

The session featured three yellow flag interruptions for track inspections, as several teams (Penske, Coyne) reported cut tires during the session from debris.

Qualifying airs this evening on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s practice one times.

source:

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”