PPG 375 | Final Practice Report: Dixon leads Newgarden

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The first half of the session saw the drivers working the high line, in order to help with the racing ahead of the race tomorrow.

The grid was split in two groups to do so, with the first half of the drivers doing their FP2 without any major problems, aside from big swarm of bees on and around the track.

However, during the second group of the high line session, Conor Daly spun upwards at Turn 4, almost hitting Marcus Ericsson and Benjamin Pedersen, rotating three times on the track before finally going on the grass. Luckily he managed to return on track in the end without hitting neither the wall, nor anyone else.

The sessions were followed by a full hour of practise, in which Helio Castroneves didn’t take part in due to a broken bearing in his gearbox.

The fastest driver after the first ten minutes of the session Josef Newgarden, with a speed of 221.792 mph, followed by Alexander Rossi two miles off his pace and Colton Herta. Many overtakes were seen in the whole hour of practise, with drivers both doing race simulations on used tyres and going for top speed on new rubber.

Rookie driver Sting Ray Robb went slightly off track to overtake a fellow driver, but returned on track with no problems.

At the half hour mark, the Team Penske driver is still leading, with Scott Dixon and Takuma Sato completing the provisional podium. The drivers on track are doing race simulations in conditions very likely to be rather close to those of the race tomorrow, which will end around this time tomorrow.

Many are also trying to complete overtakes on the outside, favoured by the new aereodynamic innovations introduced this year, with this kind of move also helping to save tyres. Most drivers stay clear off the high line, but a couple, like Rossi, are seen completing single laps on the other racing line after the earlier session as well.

McLaughlin goes second fastest, just a mile off Newgarden’s best fast lap speed, whereas reigning champion Will Power slots in P4.

In the final fifteen minutes of the session, top five finisher in St. Petersburg Callum Ilott went fifth fastest with a 220.462 mph, but moves backwards as Sato nears the 221 mph to return in provisional P3.

The lead is taken by Scott Dixon, the first driver to break the wall of the 222 mph, followed by defending Texas winner Josef Newgarden and returning Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato.

Photo: Penske Entertainment | Joe Skibinski