Scott Dixon leads IndyCar practice; VeeKay, Carpenter, Hunter-Reay spin

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Scott Dixon paced the first practice of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, turning a 215.995 mph lap at Texas Motor Speedway.

Colton Herta was second (214.491), followed by Pato O’Ward (214.326), Zach Veach (214.298) and Marco Andretti (214.264).

The two-hour session was interrupted by three yellow flags.

Just 15 minutes into the session, Rinus VeeKay spun into the outside wall after putting his Dallara-Chevrolet below the white line in Turn 3.

RESULTS: Click here for speeds from IndyCar practice at Texas Motor Speedway

The rookie was OK but needed a backup car after sustaining heavy rear and left-side damage.

“I have to call it a rookie mistake,” VeeKay told NBC Sports Gold’s Kelli Stavast. “Got too low. But I definitely will learn from this. It’s just quite hard getting into a car without doing any sim work. Just trying to get there as quick as possible. If you make a mistake, it’s done.”

“I’ll look on the data. I’ll reset for qualifying and hopefully, it’s going to be OK.”

The Ed Carpenter Racing rookie arrived in the United States several days ago after waiting out a quarantine period in Mexico while awaiting approval for entry.

Teammate Ed Carpenter escaped without significant damage to his car after a spin through the grass off Turn 4.

About midway through the practice, Ryan Hunter-Reay’s Dallara-Honda made right-front contact with the outside SAFER barrier after he wiggled exiting the remnants of the traction compound, which was applied for last November’s NASCAR weekend.

Several drivers seemed to struggle with grip exiting the compound. Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage told IndyCar on NBC broadcast team said the track had recently had scraped the surface where the compound had been applied last year.

Qualifying for tonight’s Genesys 300 will be at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The race will be on NBC at 8 p.m. ET with prerace beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.