Editor’s note: Practice coverage will air at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN (2:30 p.m. CT and local time), while qualifying will run at 4:15 p.m. ET (3:15 p.m. CT and local time) and will air live on the NBC Sports App, while it will re-air Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. A practice recap is below.
After a couple-hour delay owing to rain and track drying, the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Rainguard Water Sealers 600 first practice is in the books after all.
Scott Dixon went to the top of the speed charts after the one-hour session at 223.422 mph in the No. 9 NTT Data Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams right near the end of the one-hour session.
He supplanted his teammate, Charlie Kimball in the No. 83 Tresiba Honda, in the process.
Kimball and fellow Americans Alexander Rossi, Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti completed the top five. Rahal is in search of his second straight win at Texas and third overall this season, after sweeping last weekend’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear doubleheader.
Ed Carpenter was the top Chevrolet runner in seventh, back in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, at 220.824.
The two other drivers making their return to IndyCar competition did decently well. Tristan Vautier was 16th in his first running in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda with a best speed of 219.148 mph. Gabby Chaves was 21st in the No. 88 Harding Racing Chevrolet at 216.368, one spot ahead of Conor Daly.
There were several yellow flags for track inspections but none for incidents.
Times are below. A link to the qualifying order is here.
We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.
And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.
After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.
In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.
Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.
“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.
“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.
“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”
Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.
“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”
Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.