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IndyCar: Championship leader Dixon tops Sonoma Practice 3; Rossi ends session in fourth

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Points leader Scott Dixon topped final practice ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma (6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Dixon’s best lap of the session came in at 1:17.9697, actually just over a tenth of a second slower than Josef Newgarden’s fast lap (1:17.8156) from Practice 2, and four tenths of a second off Ryan Hunter-Reay’s quick lap from opening practice, which came in at 1:17.5742.

Nonetheless, Dixon, who was second fastest in each of Friday’s practices, appears to be one of the drivers to beat ahead of Saturday qualifying.

Will Power, who trails Dixon by 87 points, was second in Practice 3 with a time of 1:17.9793 – Dixon and Power were also the only two drivers below the 1:18 mark in the session.

Ryan Hunter-Reay ended practice in third, while Dixon’s main title rival Alexander Rossi, 29 points behind Dixon entering the weekend, was fourth.

Josef Newgarden, who like Power is still mathematically in the title picture at 87 points off the lead, was fifth. Of note: Newgarden was forced to sit out the final ten minutes of Practice 3 after hitting personnel during pit stop practice on Friday.

Simon Pagenaud, Zach Veach, Takuma Sato, Santino Ferrucci, and Marco Andretti rounded out the top 10. Other notables include Patricio O’Ward (21st), Colton Herta (22nd), and Tony Kanaan (23rd).

The lone stoppage of the session came with less than two minutes remaining after Carlos Munoz spun in Turns 9 and 9a, which comprise the chicane before the final hairpin.

However, Munoz was able to continue, and IndyCar officials allowed teams and drivers one extra lap of practice before displaying the checkered flag. Munoz ended up 19th.

Results are below. Qualifying begins 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 it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit! It’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: