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IndyCar: Newgarden overcomes food poisoning to top Sonoma practice 2; Dixon second, Rossi sixth

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Josef Newgarden overcame a bout with food poisoning to top Practice 2 for Sunday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma (6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Newgarden’s best lap around the 12-turn, 2.52-mile Sonoma Raceway came in at 1:17.8156, almost three tenths of a second slower than Ryan Hunter-Reay’s quick lap (1:17.5742) from opening practice earlier on Friday.

Championship leader Scott Dixon was second quickest with a best lap ofย 1:17.8992, just under one tenth of a second behind Newgarden. Of note: Newgarden, who sits 87 points behind Dixon entering Sonoma, and Dixon were the only two drivers in the 1:17 bracket in second practice.

Patricio O’Ward, making his Verizon IndyCar Series debut with Harding Racing, was an impressive third at the end of the session, and even led briefly early on.

Will Power (third in the championship, 87 points behind Dixon) and James Hinchcliffe rounded out the top five.

Alexander Rossi, who trails Dixon by 29 points entering the weekend, was just outside the top five in sixth, ahead of Ed Jones, Santino Ferrucci (making his third IndyCar start with Dale Coyne Racing), Pietro Fittipaldi, and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Practice 2 ran without any stoppages, though several drivers had off-course excursions. Practice 2 was held at the same time of day that Saturday qualifying will be held. With the Firestone alternate red tires also available for the session, drivers began pushing the limits of car and track.

Notables who went off course were Newgarden (in Turn 4), Dixon, and Sebastien Bourdais, both in Turn 2. Bourdais in particular got dangerously close to the barriers, but continued on without incident. Bourdais ended the session 18th on the speed charts.

Results are below. Practice 3 rolls off at 2:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. local time) on Saturday. Qualifying will be held at 6:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. local time), and will air on NBCSN at 8:00 p.m. ET.

 

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With tree in tow, Robert Wickens is already in the Christmas spirit

Robert Wickens' official Twitter page
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It may be a week before Thanksgiving, but IndyCar driver Robert Wickens is already obviously in a festive Christmas mood.

Wickens took to Twitter and Instagram Wednesday to post a video showing he just gave himself an early yuletide present: a Christmas tree:

“Got myself a tree! I figured itโ€™s time to get into the Christmas spirit! Itโ€™s a very real tree and my arms are itchy to prove it!”

He even ended his tweet with a Christmas tree emoji.

And for good measure, Wickens — wearing a winter ski cap with his name on it — and some of the staff at his rehab facility broke into an impromptu version of “Oh, Christmas Tree!”

Check out what Wickens posted and enjoy a little early Christmas cheer sure to put a smile on your face: