Photo: A.J. Foyt Racing

Pair of Sebring tests wrap IndyCar’s 2017 testing schedule

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With 2017 winding to a close, a handful of Verizon IndyCar Series teams concluded their final tests of the year in the last stages of manufacturer testing.

While team testing does not begin until January, IndyCar teams have taken delivery of their aero kit components as preparations continue for the 2018 season.

Four teams recently completed their final test sessions within the past week, all of whom doing so at Sebring International Raceway.

First, it was Chevrolet and Team Penske taking to the track, with Will Power behind the wheel as Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden looked on.

The next day, two other Chevy teams ventured onto the Sebring road course, with Ed Carpenter Racing and Spencer Pigot continuing their development work while Tony Kanaan got behind the wheel of his A.J. Foyt Racing No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet for the first time.

Further, Honda’s Schmidt Peterson Motorsports also took to the Sebring road course last week, with James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens turning laps, with Wickens completing his first official outing with the team.

Teams that have not been designated as teams for the manufacturer testing period, namely Andretti Autosport, Dale Coyne Racing and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, will now start at a several-day deficit for the season.

Both Marco Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais respectively took to Twitter to express their displeasure…

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Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.