Mechanical failure knocks out Ryan Hunter-Reay at Texas

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Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay desperately needed a good race tonight at Texas Motor Speedway after a dismal doubleheader in Detroit last weekend, but has been knocked out of the Firestone 600 with a mechanical failure.

Hunter-Reay was running in the Top 10, but brought his No. 28 DHL/Andretti Autosport Honda into the pits as the race restarted on Lap 135.

“We lost power – aggressively lost power,” the American driver said to NBCSN. “And then we had an oil pressure alarm, and then it sounded really bad after that. I tried to get down to the apron and I thought we were spilling oil everywhere, which I guess we were.

“It’s really frustrating. We made a change on that last stop that I thought would bring us in the game there. We were running seventh and still had a shot at it. But it was a long night and we needed the points tonight most of all.”

After winning the ‘500’ on Memorial Day weekend, Hunter-Reay suffered 16th and 19th place finishes in the twin Detroit races that knocked him from first to third in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship going into Texas.

Now, it appears that he’ll be dropping even further down the standings.

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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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.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday 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 Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), 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 of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

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.