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Sato tops Practice 3 in Toronto; Newgarden, Wickens hit tire barrier at the end

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Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato continued what has been a strong weekend so far for Honda by topping Practice 3 for Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto (3:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Sato’s quick lap of 58.677 seconds is also an unnofficial track record – Simon Pagenaud set the mark last year at 58.91 – possibly setting a precursor ahead of Saturday’s qualifying. Honda has also topped every session so far, with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon leading both of Friday’s practices as well.

Josef Newgarden was second quickest with a time of 58.775, but also saw his session come to an end just before time expired in what was the lone incident of session.

Robert Wickens slid wide exiting Turn 8 and nosed his No. 6 Lucas Oil Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports gently into the tire barrier. Newgarden, in the aftermath, then spun into the same tire barrier.

While the incident brought out a red flag and ended the session a few seconds shy of its full 45 minutes, neither car appeared to be damaged badly.

Will Power, Alexander Rossi, and Spencer Pigot rounded out the top five.

Times are below. Qualifying rolls off at 1:55 p.m. ET and airs on NBCSN at 5:00 p.m. ET.


F1 races in Austin, Mexico City hitting financial rough patches

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AUSTIN, Texas — Two of Formula One’s three races in North America are facing financial issues that are raising concern about their future.

Organizers of the U.S. Grand Prix won’t get at least $20 million from the state of Texas for the 2018 race after missing a paperwork deadline set by state law. And new questions lurk about the future of the Mexican Grand Prix after the country’s new president suggested the government may not spend on the race like it has the last four years.

Both races have been popular with drivers and fans, and have enjoyed key dates on the F1 calendar. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton clinched season championships in Texas in 2015 and in Mexico City in 2017 and 2018.

Officials in Formula One and at the Circuit of the Americas, host of the U.S. Grand Prix, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.