Hunter-Reay fastest in Laguna Seca P2; title contenders run off-course

Chris Jones / IndyCar

MONTEREY, Calif – Ryan Hunter-Reay was the fastest driver in the second practice session for IndyCar’s championship-deciding race Friday afternoon at Laguna Seca Raceway, posting a best time of 1 minute, 9.9105 seconds around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course.

Hunter-Reay led Rookie of the Year candidate Felix Rosenqvist by 0.02 seconds.

Fellow rookie Colton Herta, who was fastest both during testing on Thursday and in Friday morning’s first practice session, was third fastest in the second practice with Simon Pagenaud the fastest of the four championship contenders in fourth.

Pagenaud and fellow title contender Scott Dixon (seventh fastest) turned heads when they simultaneously went off course and brought out the lone red flag of the session with roughly 20 minutes remaining in the session in Turns 1 and 10, respectfully. Neither car was damaged

Points leader Josef Newgarden was sixth fastest in the practice.

After finishing dead last in the morning session, Alexander Rossi, who trails Newgarden by 41 points, didn’t fare much better in P2, finishing 23rd of 24 drivers.

Santino Ferrucci finished the session fifth fastest.

Live coverage of Practice 3 for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey begins Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold, qualifying is at 4:30 p.m. on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold and race coverage begins Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC and NBC Sports Gold.

Click here for full practice results

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Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023


Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.