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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.

 

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Christopher Bell wins third straight Chili Bowl

@cbnationals, Twitter
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Christopher Bell passed Kyle Larson on the final lap of the 55-lap A-Feature to win the 33rd Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. Bell is only the second driver in event history to win three consecutive Golden Drillers, joining Kevin Swindell who holds the record with four.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to win the Chili Bowl,” Bell said at ChiliBowl.com. “To do it three straight times is just unbelievable, but man, I don’t even care about three straight. What about that race? I don’t think I’ve ever really been a part of a last lap race like that, so I’m just glad that thing came out in the end.”

As the white flag waved on his eighth appearance in Saturday’s main event, it seemed Larson was finally going to walk away with his first Golden Driller. This was closest he’s been to the win.

Larson took the lead from Logan Seavey on Lap 21 after a five-lap hot pursuit. Bell moved into second for the first time on Lap 27 but a caution forced him back to third as the field realigned to the last completed lap.

On Lap 33, Bell passed Seavey again for second before another caution reset the field. On the next restart Bell road the rim diving to the hub in Turns 3 and 4. With Larson in sight, Bell started to think about where he was going to put his third trophy.

The final caution flag of the night waved with 20 to go to set up the Bell vs. Larson shootout fans had been waiting for since Larson retired early from the race last year. Larson pulled away on the highline in Turns 1 and 2. He switched to the low in 3 and 4.

With five laps to go Larson hit traffic. That gave Bell the opportunity to close the gap. With two to go Bell was on top of Larson and challenging for the lead. On the final lap Bell passed Larson in Turn 2 as they bumped tires. Glued together through the final pair of turns, they touched twice more before Bell pulled away on the final stretch.

The action wasn’t over, however. Bell wound up on his lid following the win. His donuts got a little out of control and he rolled his midget.

Justin Grant took third by passing Brady Bacon on Lap 36. Bacon followed for fourth with Zach Daum in tow to complete the top five.

Tyler Courtney was the hard charger of the night finishing sixth after starting in 22nd. Brad Sweet and CJ Leary finished seventh and eighth.

Seavey was able to hold onto third until late in the race but ultimately the pole sitter who led the first 20 laps faded to ninth.

Tanner Thorson rounded out the top ten.

Friday’s Main Event

1. Christopher Bell
2. Kyle Larson
3. Justin Grant
4. Brady Bacon
5. Zach Daum
6. Tyler Courtney
7. Brad Sweet
8. CJ Leary
9. Logan Seavey
10. Tanner Thorson
11. Danny Stratton
12. Jonathan Beason
13. Tucker Klaasmeyer
14. Colby Copeland
15. Rico Abreu
16. Michael Faccinto
17. Chad Boat
18. David Gravel
19. Cole Bodine
20. Robert Dalby
21. Jake Neuman
22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
23. Shane Golobic
24. Sean McClelland