IndyCar

IndyCar: Rossi, Dixon once again 1-2 in final Gateway practice

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Perhaps leaving the best for last, Alexander Rossi roared to the top of the speed chart in the final two minutes of Friday night’s final practice for Saturday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park (8 pm ET on NBCSN).

Rossi, who is looking to win his third consecutive IndyCar race Saturday, turned in a best lap of 183.060 mph at 24.5821 seconds.

And, just like in the first practice earlier in the day, Rossi once again was No. 1, and Scott Dixon also waited until the last minute before he grabbed the second-fastest spot again in the second session at 183.022 mph (at 24.5872).

Arguably the biggest surprise of the session was rookie IndyCar driver Pietro Fittipaldi, driver of the Dale Coyne Racing No. 19 Paysafe Honda.

Pietro – the grandson of two-time F1 champion, as well as USAC and CART champion Emerson Fittipaldi – put down a very solid top lap at 182.294 mph at 24.6854 seconds to give him third-fastest speed of the session.

“Obviously I’m happy, the car has a lot of performance,” Fittipaldi told the IndyCar Radio Network. “This is practice, it’s disappointing I’ll have to start from the back tomorrow since qualifying was cancelled (due to rain).

“I know we have a strong car and we’ll do our best tomorrow.”

Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Ed Jones, also turned in a big lap, coming in fourth-fastest (182.268 mph at 24.6889), while Zack Veach (182.250 at 24.6913) rounded out the top five.

Sixth through 10th were Ryan Hunter-Reay (182.195 at 26.6988), Tony Kanaan (181.773 at 24.7562), Graham Rahal (180.978 at 24.8649), Sebastien Bourdais (180.924 at 24.8723) and Will Power (180.843 at 24.8835).

Because rain impacted part of the day’s first practice session, which ultimately ended about six minutes early due to the wet stuff, IndyCar officials subsequently cancelled qualifying and then extended the final practice from a scheduled 60 minutes to 90 minutes.

The extra time significantly helped teams in determining a number of areas, including race set-up, tire degradation, balance, wing adjustment and more.

There was one minor incident in the session. With about 40 minutes left, defending race winner and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden grazed the Turn 4 wall.

While the contact looked slight, it obviously had a big impact on Newgarden’s Chevrolet-powered ride, as he ultimately parked it with about 23 minutes left in the session after 61 laps around the 1.250-mile oval. Newgarden’s best lap speed was 180.584 mph at 24.9192 seconds, good for 12th-fastest among the 21-driver field

“I made a mistake there and we’re not 100 percent sure with it, but something’s not right with the right rear,” Newgarden told the IndyCar Radio Network. “We just didn’t have enough time to fix it.

“We lost a little bit of track time but I still think we have a good car for tomorrow.”

Dixon holds a 29-point edge over Rossi in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings. Newgarden is 66 points back and his Team Penske teammate Will Power is 81 points back, with three races remaining on the 2018 schedule.

While Dixon still leads the points standings, Rossi comes into Saturday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 having won the last two races (Mid-Ohio and Pocono).

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Dean Wilson out for rest of Supercross season

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“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”

With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.

Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.

Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.

Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.

“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.

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Such a massive gut punch on Saturday. Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye. Started off Denver topping free practice then went on to qualify P1 in qualifier 1. Qualifier 2 didn’t get the cleanest laps but ended with a 4th. On to the main event I was running around 7th on lap 7 moving forward and as I came around for the rhythm section I tripled in and something freak happened causing the bike to nose dive after I tripled in and pile driving me into the ground. The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year. It’s tough just hoping to have a ride each year. 2nd part is people saying “wilson’s hurt again, big surprise there” when it was something that wasn’t my fault. It’s a tough pill To swallow.. I injured my shoulder and got a contusion on my kidneys. Got MRI and good news is I dodged a bullet on my shoulder and I am just going to give it a few weeks of rest and therapy and see where we are at. Huge disappointment to end my SX season like this. Thanks to my whole team for everything and everybody checking in on me. I really appreciate it. I will be back.

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Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold

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