Friday Notebook: IndyCar pit stop rulebook update, Filippi’s solid day

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Some additional Friday news and notes from around the media center and paddock in Baltimore:

  • Several rules updates in the wake of the Sonoma pit dust-up between Scott Dixon and Will Power. First, INDYCAR officials have added point-of-reference “courtesy zones” to the outside of each pit box to aid in monitoring pit stop conduct; said zones are defined by 45-degree dotted lines.
  • New Rule 7.9.17 has been added to reinforce the pit stop code of conduct: “Any participant who, in the opinion of the officials, positions a car, equipment and/or personnel so as to create a hazard or disruption of the event or to interfere with the activities of another competitor may be penalized.
  • Rule 7.2.5.2 has been amended to read: “When displayed from the starters stand to a lapped car, as ordered directly by the Race Director, the blue flag is a command to immediately give way. During the race, any car failing to give way within one lap of the display of the blue flag will be penalized.”
  • Not much came out of the Andretti Autosport morning media availability, nor would you really expect it to. James Hinchcliffe’s contract status didn’t come up as it could have. Ryan Hunter-Reay said of any potential lineup changes – it’s him, Hinch, Marco Andretti and E.J. Viso with Carlos Munoz rumored in the works – “hopefully there are no subtractions.”
  • Barracuda Racing rookie Luca Filippi’s first day on a North American street course has been a solid one. The chicane on the front straight, Filippi compared to the one at the Singapore Grand Prix. “The chicane is very similar. You jump on the curb about the same way, but here it is funny with the exit on the rails. It makes the transition not so easy, and it is quite slow exiting that corner. It’s nothing dangerous; it just affects traction.” He ended the second practice session an impressive 11th.
  • Justin Wilson’s latest charity featured (one of the others was Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson’s Clarky’s Corner, at Toronto) on his No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda is the Dempsey Challenge, Patrick Dempsey’s charity presented by Amgen that celebrates its five-year anniversary this year. More information on the charity can be found at www.dempseychallenge.org.

INDYCAR: Newgarden, Sato quickest in first of 2 Friday practices at Road America

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Josef Newgarden was quickest in the first of Friday’s two INDYCAR practice sessions at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion covered the 4.048-mile, 14-turn course with a best lap of 1:43.0477, followed by Takuma Sato (1:43.4729), Alexander Rossi (1:43.5603), Robert Wickens (1:43.5774) and Marco Andretti (1:43.8825).

Sixth-quickest was Tony Kanaan (1:44.0429), followed by Spencer Pigot (1:44.1080), Zach Veach (1:44.1306), Scott Dixon (1:44.1643) and Matheius Leist (1:44.2963).

Alfonso Celis Jr., making his Verizon IndyCar Series debut and with Juncos Racing, was 22nd quickest in the 23-car field at 1:44.9164, while Gabby Chaves was the slowest driver on the course at 1:46.4485.

While there were no significant incidents during the 45-minute session, a number of drivers struggled in several turns, primarily due to some lingering puddles from overnight rain, as well as on rumble strips that threw their cars into adjacent grass areas.

The second practice session today takes place at 4:15 p.m. ET.

A third practice kicks off Saturday’s busy day at Noon ET, followed by qualifying at 4 p.m. ET, the second round of qualifying at 4:40 p.m. ET and the third and final round of qualifying at 5 p.m. ET.

The weekend’s main event, Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix, takes the green flag shortly after 1 p.m. ET. Make sure to tune in to NBCSN for the live telecast of the race.

We’ll have the full practice grid and driver quotes shortly. Please check back soon.

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