Tagliani, Barracuda Racing fastest in bizarre IndyCar Detroit practice

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IndyCar completed its one hour, 15-minute lone practice session of the day on The Raceway on Belle Isle on Friday with Hondas in five of the top seven positions, led by Alex Tagliani of Barracuda Racing in the No. 98 Honda (1:18.2096). But the results of the session were not the main story to emerge from Detroit.

The session on the 2.365-mile track was disjointed, interrupted, and peppered with six red flags. One came from – and this is serious – a family of ducks crossing the track.

There were already two prior red flags, one for Josef Newgarden stopping on track in Turn 3 and the other for a spin for Panther Racing’s new driver Ryan Briscoe, before half an hour into the session, ducks were spotted on track in Turn 11. They were ushered away without harm, and no feathers flew.

The madness wasn’t over when Target Chip Ganassi Racing had a double whammy of its own to cause the fourth red flag. Scott Dixon stopped on course between Turns 9 and 10, with team manager Mike Hull telling IndyCar Radio the car had lost power, while Dario Franchitti brushed a wall.

Further spins followed from James Hinchcliffe and James Jakes to cause the fifth and sixth red flags, while AJ Allmendinger had a cut tire and stopped in a runoff area to cause a local yellow flag.

As the end of the session was as close to an uninterrupted period of time as possible, a number of drivers made huge strides on their final laps. Dixon was second behind Tagliani, with Newgarden third, Will Power fourth and Ryan Hunter-Reay fifth.

Mike Conway got Dale Coyne’s second car up to a more than respectable sixth, with Jakes, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Takuma Sato in the top 10.

Briscoe, in his first session for Panther Racing, ended in 20th. Qualifying for the first race, in the usual format, goes green at 3 p.m.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.