JR Hildebrand fastest on final day of Phoenix IndyCar test
Ed Carpenter Racing’s JR Hildebrand set the pace on the second and final day of IndyCar’s Phoenix Raceway test, despite a crash in the evening session.
Hildebrand, returning to IndyCar full-time in 2017, put in the fastest ever lap at the circuit with the help of a tow, setting a 19.0401s – averaging 193.234mph – in the afternoon session.
His record-breaking time proved to be unbeatable in the evening running, although the American’s session came to an abrupt end in the final half an hour after a crash at Turn 4.
“We'd certainly rather be quick than not and we felt good about the laps we've been putting in," Hildebrand said on his best time.
“We were running at a really good time of day. The conditions tailed off a little after we ran our time.”
His boss Ed Carpenter was second fastest overall on day two with a 19.1223s lap, just ahead of day one pace-setter Josef Newgarden and his Penske team-mates Hélio Castroneves and Will Power.
The quickest Honda-powered driver was Mikhail Aleshin in sixth, ahead of Tony Kanaan, defending champion Simon Pagenaud, Sébastien Bourdais - who suffered a late scare after clashing wheels with Newgarden - and James Hinchcliffe.
Ryan Hunter-Reay put in the best time of the evening session, but it only proved good enough for 12th in the overall times from day two.
His Andretti team-mates Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato suffered difficult days. 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Rossi crashed in the first five minutes of the day at Turn 2.
He was 21st in the final order, with Sato down in 16th after also backing his car into the wall at the second corner. Graham Rahal also crashed in the evening session at Turn 1 and ended the day 13th.