Josef Newgarden made it two for two in the weekend’s practice sessions, topping the timesheets for IndyCar’s second session from the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.
The two-time series champion has won the last two events held on this circuit, and looks to be making a bid to become the perennial favorite around the temporary course.
The grip was high and times dropped from yesterday’s already quick pace, with Newgarden clocking a time of 1:00:0622 at an average speed of 107.888 mph.
Alexander Rossi was second on the timesheet, laying down a time of 1:00.1749, just one tenth of a second off the fastest of the session.
Romain Grosjean continued to impress in his rookie IndyCar season, and after spending some time at the front of the field, ended the final practice session in ninth place, just behind reigning series champion Scott Dixon.
Jimmie Johnson once again brought up the rear, but driving an open wheel car on a street course is considered one of the toughest parts of the discipline and his pace is not far off the mark.
He received a penalty for leaving his pit box and starting the practice session about 10 seconds earlier than allowed, but he was able to put that behind him and logged some valuable practice time.
As was the case during the first practice session, the field was very tight from front to back. A full 20 drivers were all able to lap within one second of the top time, setting the stage for an entertaining qualifying session later today.
It is predicted that the all-time lap record, and possibly the one-minute barrier, could be broken during qualifying.
The current track record is held by Jordan King who set a time of 1:00.0476 in qualifying around the 1.8-mile temporary circuit in 2018.
A standard “Fast-6” qualifying session takes place in just a few hours’ time at 13:45 Eastern Time.