Defending Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama winner Ryan Hunter-Reay may have led Friday’s Verizon IndyCar Series practices, but this morning, it was his teammate’s turn to top the time charts.
James Hinchcliffe was fastest in the the third and final practice before qualifying later this afternoon on the 2.37-mile Barber Motorsports Park road course.
In the last few minutes of the session, the Andretti Autosport driver logged a time of 1:07.9206 in his No. 27 United Fiber and Data Honda to take P1 from Sebastien Bourdais.
Bourdais’ time of 1:08.0290 in his No. 11 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet would be good enough for second, while Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon was third-fastest in the No. 9 Target Chevrolet at 1:08.0916.
Helio Castroneves was fourth-fastest in the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet (1:08.1611) despite bringing out the lone red flag of the session when he stopped on course.
Teammate and championship leader Will Power was fifth-fastest in the No. 12 Chevrolet (1:08.1670). As for Hunter-Reay, he was sixth in the session (1:08.1956).
Altogether, times took a considerable jump from yesterday’s practices, which were marred by multiple red flags in Practice 1 and higher than expected track temperatures in Practice 2. This morning, 17 drivers turned in quicker laps than Hunter-Reay’s time of 1:08.7836 that paced Practice 2.
Qualifying for Sunday’s main event will take place later this afternoon at 3 p.m. ET; NBCSN will broadcast the proceedings in late night at 12:30 a.m. ET.