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Power fastest in COTA test, McLaughlin third

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Will Power was the fastest driver in Wednesday’s IndyCar test session at Circuit of the Americas, while rookie Scott McLaughlin finished third in only his second series test.

Power’s best lap time of 1 minute, 46.7603 seconds was just over a half-second off of his pole time in last year’s race at the facility.

Andretti Aurosport’s Alexander Rossi was second-fastest, 0.2396 seconds behind Power, while McLaughlin was third-fastest in the No. 2  Team Penske Chevrolet.

McLaughlin, the two-time defending Australian Supercars champion, is scheduled to make his IndyCar debut in May’s GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He finished just ahead of teammate and defending series champion Josef Newgarden.

“It’s an altogether new feeling,” McLaughlin said. “I’m a race driver. I like going fast, so this is a lot faster. I’m having fun. A lot of grip and it’s tough to drive.

“You turn that pit speed (limiter) off and there’s a lot of power and a lot of braking. I’m just really privileged to drive this car. Roger (Penske) and Team Penske have given me a go. I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as I can with a smile on my face.”

Colton Herta was fifth-fastest in the No. 88 Honda, while Simon Pagenaud ended the day sixth-fastest in the No. 22 Chevrolet.

Arrow McLaren SP rookie Oliver Askew ended the day seventh fastest, while Scott Dixon, Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward rounded out the top ten.

With inclement weather hampering Tuesday’s on-track action, Wednesday’s schedule was expanded to allow for more testing. Cars were on track from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time, with a half-hour lunch break at noon.

The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season begins Sunday, March 15 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. NBCSN will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the race, which is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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Robert Wickens shares more positive strides toward recovery in new video

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Robert Wickens has made massive steps since sustaining a spinal cord injury in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway.

Since the accident, Wickens publicly has shared his recovery, often uploading videos of his physical rehabilitation on Twitter.

In his most recent update on Wednesday, Wickens shared a video of him walking on a treadmill. Fellow NTT IndyCar Series competitor Tony Kannan, who competes in triathlons during his spare time, also was visible running on the treadmill behind Wickens.

“When I am @TonyKannan [sic] age, I hope to run as fast as him…” Wickens tweeted. “Today was a good day!”

Wickens, who will turn 31 on March 13, first made his return to the IndyCar paddock in last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg. Since then, he’s made a return to the driver’s seat, piloting a specialized Acura NSX prior to the start of last year’s IndyCar race in his hometown of Toronto.

In September, Wickens fulfilled a vow to his wife Karli, by standing with her during their wedding. The new husband and wife also danced together during their reception.

Should Wickens fully recover to resume racing, Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt has stated that the team’s No. 6 entry will be available for him to drive. Wickens continues to remain as a “driver coach and consultant” for the team.

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