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IndyCar Prix View pre-test notes

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Over four three-hour blocks of sessions, from 3 to 6 and 8 to 11 p.m. ET (or 1 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. MT and local time) both today and tomorrow, the Verizon IndyCar Series will be extra busy banking a boatload of laps at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway. Streaming is available via racecontrol.indycar.com.

This marks the only full-field open test of the preseason and with reduced team testing in 2017, an important one from a data gathering and chemistry building standpoint.

The season kicks off in St. Petersburg on March 12, and returns to NBCSN in Long Beach April 9.

Among the items to watch:

  • How many Hondas will be able to break through into the top-10 in speeds, and whether any would be achieved by qualifying sims versus race setups
  • Whether Honda has made necessary power unit gains to account for the expected deficiencies in its Road Course/Short Oval (RC/SO) aero kit package compared to Chevrolet, as Honda struggled on these short ovals
  • The progress of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (Honda) and A.J. Foyt Enterprises (Chevrolet) with their new aero kits and engines
  • The first integration of the crew/strategists swap at Team Penske, for the Nos. 2 (Josef Newgarden) and 12 (Will Power) cars
  • The new drivers with new teams: Newgarden (Penske), JR Hildebrand (Carpenter), Sebastien Bourdais and Ed Jones (Coyne), Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz (Foyt) and Takuma Sato (Andretti)
  • How rookie Jones comes up to pace in his step up from Indy Lights
  • Whether Mikhail Aleshin and Alexander Rossi will take advantage of extra testing at this test they didn’t have last year. Aleshin missed it owing to a visa issue while Rossi had only just been signed, so didn’t have his car set yet
  • How different the track conditions will be from an expected mid-80s high today to about 10 to 15 degrees cooler on Saturday
  • Whether any cars will run in bunches, closer together, or more spread out for primarily single-car runs
  • How weird it is to see Scott Dixon, temporarily anyway, in a blank white firesuit

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.