On the newly resurfaced track, Scott Dixon – driving Charlie Kimball’s #83 car – set an average speed of 220.432mph at Texas Motor Speedway this afternoon to put Chip Ganassi Racing and Honda at the top of the times.
The four-time series champion, who won at this track in 2015 and 2008, was more than 3mph quicker than last year’s pole time set by Carlos Munoz, who at that time was driving for Andretti Autosport. However, the track has also been slightly shortened by lowering the Turn 1 white line further toward the infield.
He was followed by defending race-winner, Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda, who clocked a 219.172mph ahead of the four Penskes, led by Simon Pagenaud and split by Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti.
Takuma Sato’s 215.849mph lap put him eighth fastest, ahead of another Texas winner, Ed Carpenter, followed by the two AJ Foyt Racing-Chevys.
The day’s running was notable for the arrival of Gabby Chaves in the Harding Racing-Chevrolet, a Larry Curry-run combo that is confirmed as an entry for this year’s Indy 500, but which is rumored to be considering other races, too. Chaves finished the day last with a best lap of 211mph but successfully turned a total of 49 laps.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports took no tangible part in today’s open test, due to an official complaint by Chevrolet. IndyCar had stated this morning that some Honda-powered entries would not take part, due to those engines being high-mileage, and one of those was the Mikhail Aleshin’s SPM car. The team, along with Honda and IndyCar decided to allow Aleshin to use a manufacturer-spec engine for the test
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Honda and IndyCar came to a decision to allow Hinchcliffe to share his car with Aleshin and run a manufacturer spec engine.
However, Chevy cited Rule 16.5.3 that no manufacturer spec engine may be allowed to run during an official series open test. Instead, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports were granted only an install lap for the #5 car. IndyCar rules allow for the use of spec engines only for safety, engine or tire tests. Hinchcliffe will test with the spec engine tomorrow, as planned.
1. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda 220.432mph
2. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda 219.172mph
3. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske-Chevrolet 219.015mph
4. Helio Castroneves Team Penske-Chevrolet 218.683mph
5. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport-Honda 218.287mph
6. Will Power Team Penske-Chevrolet 216.468mph
7. Josef Newgarden Team Penske-Chevrolet 216.027mph
8. Takuma Sato Andretti Autosport-Honda 215.849mph
9. Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet 215.102mph
10. Conor Daly AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet 214.682mph
11. Carlos Munoz AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet 214.373mph
12. Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet 213.837mph
13. Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport-Honda 213.800mph
14. Gabby Chaves Harding Racing-Chevrolet 211.308mph