After topping yesterday’s second practice, James Hinchcliffe was once again the fastest driver in an eventful third practice session for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday.
The Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver was the only driver to post a lap under 1 minute, 9 seconds. His fastest lap of 1 minute, 8.7351 seconds knocked Sebastien Bourdais (1 minute, 9.0351 seconds) off the top spot in the final lap of the session.
Just as Hinchcliffe remained quick, Practice 3 continued another trend of red flags coming out for cars off-course.
Zach Veach was the first driver to bring out the red flag, when he locked up entering Turn 5 and slid his No. 26 Andretti Autosport car into a gravel trap with 35 minutes remaining in the session.
Hinchcliffe’s teammate, Marcus Ericsson, later brought out another red flag after going off in Turn 1 and making contact with the outside wall with 15 minutes to go, causing significant suspension damage to his No. 7 car. Ericsson walked away from the accident safely.
Right before Ericsson’s trouble, Jack Harvey had spun unassisted in Turn 1 and Ryan Hunter-Reay also went off there. But both drivers were able to avoid further trouble; Hunter-Reay in particular managed to go through the gravel pit and avoid the wall.
The session almost ended under red after Graham Rahal became stuck in the gravel pit near Turn 5. However, INDYCAR officials allowed drivers to make one more lap under green before waving the checkered flag on the only practice session of the day.
Scott Dixon (1 minute, 9.2334 seconds) was third fastest, with Colton Herta (1 minute, 9.2444 seconds) and Takuma Sato (1 minute, 9.2692 seconds) rounding out the top five.
Qualifying will take place later today at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN & NBC Sports Gold.