Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi set the fastest time in the second IndyCar practice session at Road America on Saturday morning, but he was overshadowed by two major crashes involving the front-runners in the series.
Rossi topped the 45-minute course around the legendary 4.048-mile road course with a best lap of 1 meter, 41.9112 seconds.
While the track is much faster on the racing line, thanks to the track’s first complete repaving since 1995 that took place this past October and November, there’s a huge variance in grip off the line that would draw attention to the unwary if they ran wide.
The session was red-flagged after just seven minutes when championship leader Alex Ballou flew off the track backwards at the final corner and smashed hard into the tire barrier while making a spin, severely damaging the right-hand side of his car.
The Spaniard had just set the fastest lap time at that point at 1 minute 42 1368 seconds, but Chip Ganassi Racing has less than two hours to fix it before qualifying.
“I was just trying to push to see what the limit was,” Ballou said. “I didn’t want to crash, obviously, hopefully we’ll have enough time [to fix it] Since the players will have to work a lot now. It’s not perfect, we lose a new tire, but the car is fast.”
On the restart, there was an even more shocking crash, as Ganassi’s co-star Scott Dixon – who had just spun at the exit of Canada Corner and let Romain Grosjean pass before getting back up to speed – suddenly swerved into the path of Team Penske’s Will Power. , who was in a warm embrace.
The pair collided, smashing the left front wheel of Dixon’s car before both crashed into the concrete wall. Bauer, whose car was badly damaged at three corners, immediately radioed: “What is this body? What ****?”
Bauer then got out of his car, removed his helmet, and shoved an apologetic Dixon into the shoulder as he protested with his fellow Antipodean. The couple then discussed the incident in the medical car on the way back to the residential care facility, where they were given a clean bill of health.
A third red flag was required when Santino Ferrucci spun and disabled his AJ Foyt Racing car at Canada Corner, after Ganassi’s third driver, Marcus Ericsson, went off the final corner and missed the barrier. Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta had earlier suffered a wild spin at Turn 7, clipping a banner ad but managed to get back into the pits.
Alex Zanardi’s fastest-ever racing lap of 1min 41.874secs fell at the halfway point, with Arrow McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist topping the times with a lap of 1m41.2572secs on the primary tyre.
After that, Hertha took over with a lap of 1 minute and 41.0584 seconds, one-tenth ahead of Friday, which was Alexander Rossi (McLaren). Rossi then turned the tables around, going 0.147 seconds faster in the final lap of 1 minute and 40.9112 seconds in the primary, while Hertha sprinted into Canada Corner to cause a fourth red flag.
Simon Pagenaud (Meyer Shank Racing) then caused the final red by spinning out at the final corner in the closing moments of the incident-filled session.
Rosenqvist finished third, ahead of David Mallukas (Dale Coen Racing), Marcus Armstrong (Ganassi), Ferrucci, Pato Oward (McLaren), Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti), Scott McLaughlin (Pensic) and Rinus Vichai (Ed Carpenter Racing).
Dario Franchitti’s qualifying record of 1m 39.866 seconds will be tested in the heats later at 12:55pm local time (1:55pm ET).
“Devoted travel trailblazer. Freelance beer scholar. Passionate analyst. Hardcore twitter fanatic.”