WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – A heavy accident for Josef Newgarden in Turn 7 was the lead story during the third and final practice before qualifying in the Verizon IndyCar Series’ INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi.
Meanwhile, Scott Dixon topped the timesheets with a best time of 1:22.8008 at the 3.37-mile road course. It was quicker than his best Friday time of 1:22.8740.
Newgarden lost control of his car in Turn 7, and the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet hit hard into the tire barriers. But the car looked better than it appeared from the replay upon its return to the paddock, and Newgarden, who was OK, felt worse about the extra work forced on his Ed Carpenter Racing team.
“I just wrecked. Just an error. All good,” Newgarden told IndyCar Radio’s Jake Query.
“The car is relatively OK I think. It wasn’t as bad as it could be. There will be some work. You always feel bad when you put work on the team that’s unnecessary.”
Up front, meanwhile, Dixon led his third consecutive practice session with an even quicker lap than he did in either session on Friday.
Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais, James Hinchcliffe and Jack Hawksworth completed the top five, with Spencer Pigot in the second ECR entry an impressive sixth place.
Takuma Sato also brought out a red flag for a stop on course, but stopped the car before any contact at Turn 9.
Times are below; qualifying is set to start from 3 p.m. ET and local time. It airs tonight at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App.
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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