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

Sainz airlifted to hospital following practice crash

xxxx during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 10, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.
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Carlos Sainz Jr. has been airlifted to hospital after a big crash during the final free practice session for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday morning.

Under braking at turn 13, Sainz lost the backend of his Toro Rosso car, causing him to hit the left-hand wall before slamming into the TecPro barrier at the end of the run-off area.

The session was immediately red flagged as medical crews tended to Sainz, taking 20 minutes to extricate him from the Toro Rosso car due to how it had pitched under the barrier.

FIA media delegate Matteo Bonciani told reporters: “The driver is conscious and is still in the process of being extricated. When we know something, we will let you know.”

After being extricated from the car, Sainz was taken away on a stretcher before being placed in an ambulance, giving a thumbs up to let fans know that he was okay. He is also reported to have been talking to doctors in the medical centre after the crash.

Sainz has now been airlifted to hospital for further checks, and is set to miss qualifying later today, with Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost telling BBC Sport: “To sit him in the car immediately seems a bit risky, but we will wait and see.”

The damage caused to the TecPro barrier has also caused the planned GP3 race to be cancelled, giving the track workers time to carry out repairs ahead of the F1 qualifying session later today.

Qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET on Saturday.

Rosberg tops shortened FP3 in Russia after Sainz crash

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 09:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 9, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
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Nico Rosberg set the pace in final practice for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday morning as the session was called early following a heavy crash for Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr.

With 25 minutes remaining, the session was stopped when Sainz slammed into the wall at turn 13, pitching in under the TecPro barrier at the fastest point of the circuit.

A loss of power on the car meant that Toro Rosso could not make contact with its driver, causing concern as the medical crew was sent to the crash site to tend to Sainz.

Replays showed that Spaniard lost the back-end of his car under braking coming into turn 13, causing him to hit the wall on the left-hand side of the track before travelling down the track and into the wall at the end of the high-speed straight.

After being extricated from the car, Sainz was shown on TV cameras to be moving around on a stretcher, giving a thumbs up before being placed into an ambulance.

“The driver is conscious and is still in the process of being extricated,” FIA media chief Matteo Bonciani told reporters. “When we know something, we will let you know.”

Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost added: “As far as I am informed, he is conscious. He is now with the doctor. I think that he is so far okay.”

With qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix due to start in just two hours’ time, it is unlikely that Sainz will be able to take part in the session, with Tost believing it to be “too risky”.

The amount of damage caused to the barrier could also result in delays across the course of Saturday’s running, with GP3 scheduled to race before the F1 qualifying session. The early sunset in Sochi could also cause problems towards the end of the day.