Dixon leads, Pagenaud has accident during Wednesday Fontana test

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Verizon IndyCar Series teams had the opportunity to get several hours of running in during Wednesday’s test at Auto Club Speedway, which ran from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. in Fontana, Calif.

Scott Dixon led the charts with a best speed of 219.462 mph, one of four drivers over 219 at the 2.0-mile oval. It was difficult to gauge which drivers were able to post their best speeds unassisted or with a tow.

The other story that emerged Wednesday night was that championship contender Simon Pagenaud, who’s still alive but needs a minor miracle in order to catch and/or overtake the Team Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves, had a light accident leaving the pit lane late in the session.

Per RACER Magazine, which was on site during the session, Pagenaud lost control leaving pit lane and suffered some rear end damage, but nothing that isn’t fixable.

The three title contenders will be in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday at The Grove LA for an IndyCar Championship Event from noon til 2.

Meanwhile here’s the times from Wednesday night:

Results Wednesday from the Verizon IndyCar Series Open Test at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway.with position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed.

1. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8075, 219.462 mph
2. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8528, 219.159 mph
3. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8595, 219.115 mph
4. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 32.8692, 219.050 mph
5. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8773, 218.996 mph
6. (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 32.9059, 218.806 mph
7. (10) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.9191, 218.718 mph
8. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 32.9369, 218.600 mph
9. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.9725, 218.364 mph
10. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Dallara-Honda, 32.9819, 218.302 mph
11. (8) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.9907, 218.243 mph
12. (14) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 32.9912, 218.240 mph
13. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 33.0011, 218.175 mph
14. (17) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevrolet, 33.0950, 217.556 mph
15. (34) Carlos Munoz, Dallara-Honda, 33.1509, 217.189 mph
16. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 33.1580, 217.142 mph
17. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Chevrolet, 33.2117, 216.791 mph
18. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 33.2984, 216.227 mph
19. (19) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 33.3215, 216.077 mph
20. (98) Jack Hawksworth, Dallara-Honda, 33.4034, 215.547 mph
21. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevrolet, 33.4391, 215.317 mph
22. (18) Carlos Huertas, Dallara-Honda, 33.6346, 214.065 mph

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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