Pippa Mann joins Dale Coyne Racing for the next round of the IZOD IndyCar Series season at Texas Motor Speedway, in the No. 18 Cyclops Gear Honda.
Mann drove Coyne’s third car as a teammate to Ana Beatriz and Coyne’s lone full-time driver Justin Wilson at the Indianapolis 500, with the same Cyclops Gear sponsorship. Mann and Beatriz were the first pair of female teammates in ‘500 race history.
“I am very excited to be back with Dale Coyne Racing for the Firestone 550k at Texas Motor Speedway,” Mann said in a release. “We had a great car at the Indianapolis 500 and I am looking forward to bringing the team a good finish there Saturday night under the lights. It’s exciting to be in the No. 18 car that finished 15th in the Indianapolis 500 and finished first & third this past weekend in Detroit.”
Mann has not raced at Texas previously, but did have her first IndyCar test there, with Conquest Racing in 2011.
Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.
Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.
Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.
Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.
Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.
Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for the injured Oliver Askew, also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.