Final practice for the IndyCar Classic was adventurous with off-course excursions and spins, but when the checkers waved to end the session, it was Alexander Rossi at the top of the board with a lap of 1 minute, 46.915 seconds.
“All of our figuring out was kind of done yesterday because our warmup was moved to last night instead of Sunday morning,” Rossi said on NBC Sports Gold after the session. “I hope we got enough done and enough understanding, but right now all of the focus is on qualifying.”
He beat Felix Rosenqvist (1:47.054) by .136 seconds. Rosenqvist was part of the highlight reel, after climbing on top of the curb in Turn 9 and eventually falling off into the grass.
With no track limit in Turn 19 in Saturday’s practice, several drivers tested that boundary, which contributed to several drivers sweeping wide.
As soon as the cameras in the NBC Sports Gold coverage cut to Graham Rahal, he spun with 26 minutes remaining in the session. He wound up third with a lap of 1:47.440.
Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:47.536) and Josef Newgarden (1:47.537) rounded out the top five.
It was an important session for Colton Herta after experiencing an engine failure in Practice 1 and missing Practice 2 while making the powerplant change. He landed 12th on the chart with a lap of 1:47.810.
Marcus Ericsson crashed with four minutes remaining in the session as Turn 19 finally exacted its revenge.
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.