Scott Dixon shot to the top of the speed chart late during Saturday’s IndyCar lone practice session for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Dixon covered the 1.88-mile track layout alongside Tampa Bay with a time of 1:00.7571, not far off from Will Power’s track record of 1:00.6580.
Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was second quickest (1:00.8654), followed by Power (1:00.8718).
Fourth through 10th were rookie Jordan King (1:01.0321), followed by another rookie, Matheus Leist (1:01.0327), 2016 series camp Simon Pagenaud (1:01.0654), Spencer Pigot (1:01.0940), 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi (1:01.1132), 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (1:01.1501) and Tony Kanaan (1:01.3205).
11th through 20th were: Marco Andretti (1:01.3532), Ryan Hunter-Reay ((1:01.3548), James Hinchcliffe (1:01.3592), Zach Veach (1:01.3678), defending race winner Sebastien Bourdais (1:01.4053), rookie Robert Wickens (1:01.4644), Gabby Chaves (1:01.5125), Ed Jones (1:01.5337), Graham Rahal (1:01.6708) and Jack Harvey (1:01.7094).
Lastly, 21st through 24th were Max Chilton (1:01.8545), Charlie Kimball (1:01.9193), rookie Zachary Claman De Melo (101.9393) and rookie Rene Binder (1:02.9615) continued to have issues finding speed.
Among incidents in Saturday’s session:
* With about 28:30 left in the session, rookie Matheus Leist spun in Turn 4, bringing out a brief red flag situation.
That particular turn caused nearly a half-dozen drivers problems in Friday’s two practice sessions.
Interestingly, no drivers have hit the wall in Turn 4. They’ve just gone for a ride, spin and then continued on after getting restarted.
* With about 22:45 left, Ed Jones went into the Turn 1 runoff area after locking up his brakes.
* Shortly after Jones’ issue, Graham Rahal almost lost control, but collected it up and kept it off the wall.
* With about 18 minutes left, rookie Zachary Claman De Melo spun into the Turn 4 runoff area.
* With just over 13 minutes to go in the practice session, Turn 4 bit yet another driver, as Alexander Rossi added his name to the roster of drivers who spun into Turn 4’s runoff area.
* Jordan King had looked strong, running consistently in the top 5, but with just over one minute to go in the session, plowed into a tire wall exiting Turn 12. The car suffered minor damage and King was uninjured.
Conditions were significantly different than Friday’s two practice sessions. Friday was near-perfect conditions with sun shining throughout the day and temperatures in the mid-70s.
Saturday morning, however, the temperature was 66 degrees at the time practice began, with a heavy cloud cover and no rain.
Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying takes place later this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. ET.