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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 of 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.



Sprint Car driver Greg Hodnett killed in Pennsylvania race crash

Photo: World of Outlaws
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YORK HAVEN, Pa. (AP) — Sprint Car driver Greg Hodnett died after a crash Thursday night at BAPS Motor Speedway.

The 49-year-old Hodnett, from Spring Grove, Pa., was the World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year in 1993 and went on to win 20 World of Outlaws races. He won the opening night this year at the Knoxville Nationals.

“Greg represented the true gentleman competitor in the pit area,” World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter said.

A statement was posted on Hodnett’s racing website, saying: “Please keep (wife) Sherry, the entire Hodnett family, and the Heffner racing team in your thoughts and prayers.

“Greg was a professional in every sense of the word, and will be desperately missed!”

Several NASCAR drivers took to Twitter to express their condolences: