AVONDALE, Ariz. – Helio Castroneves led the final practice session for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN), after also qualifying on pole for the Verizon P1 Award earlier in the day.
The driver of the No. 3 Rev Group Inc. Team Penske Chevrolet clocked in a best lap of 186.293 mph; speeds and times were obviously slower this session as teams and drivers focused on race runs.
Juan Pablo Montoya and Josef Newgarden were second and third; as in qualifying, Chevrolet held the edge over Honda with the top 10 times and speeds coming from Chevrolet entrants.
Munoz’s No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda was out for the start of the session with Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda out with just over 10 minutes to go in the scheduled 30-minute session.
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.