Kanaan leads Ganassi 1-2 in Iowa opening practice

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Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon were 1-2 in the opening 45-minute practice session for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway.

Kanaan set his flier of 179.218 mph on his fifth lap and Dixon 179.113 on his third.

The pair of drivers who dominated the 2014 edition of the race before being caught out versus other drivers on new tires were the only two drivers north of 179 mph at the 0.894-mile oval in first practice, held in scorching conditions of 92 degrees Fahrenheit ambient, 130 on track and with 62 percent humidity per Firestone.

Two-time and defending Iowa winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was third ahead of fellow Americans Charlie Kimball and Josef Newgarden.

Series points leader Juan Pablo Montoya was sixth ahead of Milwaukee winner Sebastien Bourdais.

There were two yellow flags for track inspection and Jack Hawksworth went behind the wall with a mechanical issue, apparently a loose hose, but the A.J. Foyt Enterprises team fixed it and got the Englishman back out.

Second and final practice runs from 6 to 6:45 p.m. CT and local time.

Speeds from first practice are below:


Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

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“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”