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Kanaan, Wickens fastest in first practice for IndyCar DXC Technology 600

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Tony Kanaan and Robert Wickens posted identical times in Friday’s practice session for the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway with a lap of 220.014 mph.

Kanaan sat on top of the leaderboard until the final minute of practice, when he was joined by Wickens.

Sebastian Bourdais (219.619 mph), Alexander Rossi (219.355) and Gabby Chaves (219.064) rounded out the top five.

Last week’s winner of race one at Detroit’s Belle Isle Raceway Will Power was 15th fastest (217.214), while the winner of race two Ryan Hunter-Reay was 18th (215.958).

The first 30 minutes of Friday’s one-and-a-half hour practice session used primarily to scuff tires, but it was not without incident.

After posting the second fastest lap of 208.904 mph to that point, Zachary Claman De Melo stalled on track with an electronic throttle issue while there was still one hour remaining in practice. He brought out the yellow flag. De Melo eventually settled into 19th on the speed chart with a 215.009 mph lap.

Max Chilton also had a throttle issue early in practice while scrubbing tires. He reported that there were no issues with his engine. Chilton landed 22nd on the grid with a speed of 211.746 mph.

IndyCar: Ed Carpenter Racing signs Ed Jones for road, street course races in 2019

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2017 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Ed Jones has signed on to compete in IndyCar road and street course races in 2019 for Ed Carpenter Racing, the team announced Wednesday.

Jones replaces Jordan King at ECR, whose contract was not renewed for 2019.

“Joining Ed Carpenter Racing and Scuderia Corsa for the 2019 IndyCar Series is a fantastic opportunity to be a part of,” Jones said in a media release.

Jones will also drive a third car for ECR in the 2019 Indianapolis 500, making it 13 races of the 17-race IndyCar schedule that he’s due to compete in.

“Ed Carpenter Racing has shown amazing speed the last few years at the Indianapolis 500,” Jones said. “You can always expect the ECR cars to be at the front. I am really grateful for this chance and will do everything I can to make sure we, as a team, make the most of it.”

In addition, Las Vegas-based Scuderia Corsa will become a partner with ECR on Jones’ No. 20 Chevrolet (as well as the No. 64 Chevy he’ll drive in the Indy 500).

“Both ECR and Scuderia Corsa have been successful in their respective series and I feel the combination of forces will be greatly beneficial,” Jones said. “I’m extremely excited to get underway.”

Jones will yield driving duties in the No. 20 Chevy for four races to team owner Ed Carpenter on oval tracks, while Spencer Pigot returns as the team’s full-time driver in the No. 21 Chevrolet.

“I am very excited to welcome Ed Jones to the ECR family, as well as Scuderia Corsa and Giacomo (Scuderia Corsa co-founder Giacomo Mattioli),” Carpenter said. “I was very surprised when Ed became available at the end of the season. I look forward to working together to get ECR back in Victory Lane.”

The 23-year-old Jones, who hails from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, previously drove for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2018 (finished 13th in the final season standings) and Dale Coyne Racing in 2017 (finished 14th). He won the Indy Lights championship in 2016, as did new teammate Pigot in 2015.

During the 2018 season, Jones had two podium finishes (Long Beach and Belle Isle II) and eight top-10 finishes in the 17-race campaign.

Since forming in 2012, Scuderia Corsa has earned more than 100 wins over numerous racing platforms, primarily sports-car based. However, it made its first foray into IndyCar racing by backing Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and driver Oriol Servia’s effort in the 2018 Indy 500.

Jones began his new job with ECR immediately, watching new boss Carpenter take part today (Wednesday) in a closed Firestone tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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