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Rahal leads incident-filled third practice at Mid-Ohio

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Graham Rahal topped a chaotic third practice for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (3:00 p.m. ET, CNBC).

Rahal’s quick lap of 1:05.206 was just over four hundredths of a second quicker than Josef Newgarden, with his Team Penske teammate Will Power ending the session in third. Alexander Rossi and Scott Dixon rounded out the top five.

However, the session was red flagged three times for separate incidents on the track. The first came within the first 15 minutes of running, when Pietro Fittipaldi spun in Turn 3 and ended up in the gravel trap.

Fittipaldi did not suffer any wall contact and was able to continue, but the next incident did see wall contact, as Matheus Leist spun exiting Turn 9 and bounced off the outside wall with just over 20 minutes remaining.

And the final incident of the session came in the final minutes and also saw contact, as Simon Pagenaud spun exiting Turn 11, slid through the Carousel, and gently nosed into the tire barrier.

Simultaneously, Spencer Pigot also spun in Turn 1 after clipping the inside curbing. However, he did not suffer any damage and continued on.

INDYCAR officials ultimately got everything cleaned up to allow all drivers and teams to get one more flying lap if they chose to do so, but no one was able to turn in a lap quick enough to knock Rahal off the top spot.

Results from Practice 3 are below. Qualifying rolls off at 1:30 p.m. ET.

 

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Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.