Scott Dixon leads afternoon practice at Sonoma

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Scott Dixon led today’s second practice session for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Sun., 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN), turning in the fastest lap of the day overall with a time of 1 minute, 18.3145 seconds around the hilly 2.4-mile road course.

After checking out the Sonoma circuit, Dixon, who trails IZOD IndyCar Series championship leader Helio Castroneves by 31 points going into this weekend, believes that it’ll be a tough go-round for himself and the rest of the field.

“A lot of that may be the tires – I think Firestone always has a great product, but maybe the tires just don’t match here that well,” said the two-time series champion.

“It’s definitely making it interesting. In the first [practice] session, you kind of get two or three laps to get it together, and I didn’t get it together whatsoever…I don’t know, it’s really about getting your laps together and making sure you get the most out of the first sort of three laps, and I think as the race goes on, it’s going to make a really interesting race on these roads.”

Castroneves was second-fastest both in the afternoon and overall, logging a time of 1 minute, 18.6694 seconds. Ryan Hunter-Reay’s lap that topped the Friday morning session (1 minute, 18.6814 seconds) was good enough to stand third overall, followed by Will Power in fourth (1 minute, 18.7454 seconds; afternoon) and Dario Franchitti in fifth (1 minute, 18.8124 seconds; morning).

Saturday will see a third practice session at 2 p.m. ET, followed by three rounds of ‘knockout’ qualifying starting at 5:30 p.m. ET. NBCSN will air the qualifying session later on at 9 p.m. ET.

Pagenaud leads no-tow times in Sunday practice

Photo: IndyCar
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Sunday practice ahead of Day 2 of qualifying for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 was split into two groups – one for the drivers who ended Saturday qualifying in positions 10-33, and one for the drivers who made the Fast Nine Shootout for the Pole.

In the combined times, Ryan Hunter-Reay was fastest overall. But, Simon Pagenaud topped the all-important no-tow speeds with a lap of 229.409 mph.

Pagenaud’s Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, and Will Power were second, third, and fourth on the no-tow chart – and they were also the only four drivers from the Top 9 who went out for practice.

Of the drivers who qualifying between positions 10 through 33, Alexander Rossi had the quickest no-tow speed of 227.779 mph.

Combined results are below. Qualifying begins at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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