Returning legend Tony Kanaan topped an extended practice session at IndyCar’s first oval outing of the season at Texas, while qualifying has been cancelled meaning the championship standings will now decide the grid order for each race.
A rain delay halted practice by over an hour and a half, and IndyCar elected to cancel qualifying and extend practice to 90 minutes instead.
Once started, the session went unaffected in terms of rain and no one made the costly mistake of crashing, which could have jeopardised getting a car repaired in time – something that happened to Takuma Sato after his qualifying crash last year.
Kanaan is taking over the #48 Chip Ganassi Racing car usually driven by Jimmie Johnson for his first outing of the season, and topped the timesheets for the majority of the session. His lap was 220.173mph on the 1.5-mile oval.
Patricio O’Ward (below) for Arrow McLaren SP and Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Sato rounded out the top three, with last year’s winner Scott Dixon in fourth.
The first half of the session was quiet as drivers didn’t feel they had enough tyres in their allocation to run for 90 minutes of practice.
A number of changes have been brought in for the Texas race this weekend and drivers cycled through those adding to their knowledge from the Texas test at the end of March.
New aero parts are available to use including a small bargeboard and a smaller hole in the floor than usual, which has increased downforce with the intention of allowing cars to follow one another more easily. Drivers practised slipstreaming and following through the session.
There’s also a new Texas tyre that has not been raced at the venue, but none of the changes appears to have fixed the track’s tendency to be a single lane around the race track, meaning overtaking could remain difficult.
This weekend’s race follows a condensed schedule. In 2019 there were three hours of practice before qualifying and the race but starting last year when the Texas race opened the season after the coronavirus hiatus a new schedule was used.
With practice, qualifying and a race on the same day in 2020, this year the event had two races but still only one practice and one qualifying on the schedule.
Now qualifying has been cancelled, the order for each race will be set by the championship order. Points leader Alex Palou will lead Saturday night’s race (1910 ET, 1210 BST) to green.
|1||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||153||35||30||53||35||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2||Patricio O'Ward||Arrow McLaren SP||131||34||11||35||51||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|3||Alex Palou||Chip Ganassi Racing||127||53||14||33||27||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|4||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||116||7||40||28||41||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|5||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||107||26||15||30||36||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|6||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||102||18||36||20||28||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|7||Colton Herta||Andretti Autosport||100||8||54||8||30||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|8||Will Power||Team Penske||99||41||24||16||18||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|9||Scott McLaughlin||Team Penske||99||16||19||40||24||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|10||Jack Harvey||Meyer Shank Racing||90||19||32||26||13||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|11||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||84||17||28||22||17||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|12||Rinus VeeKay||Ed Carpenter Racing||84||29||22||10||23||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|13||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing||79||24||26||11||18||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|14||Sébastien Bourdais||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||68||31||20||6||11||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|15||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||65||22||9||24||10||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|16||Felix Rosenqvist||Arrow McLaren SP||58||9||18||17||14||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|17||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||56||6||16||14||20||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|18||Ed Jones||Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan||51||15||10||18||8||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|19||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport||44||13||12||7||12||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|20||Conor Daly||Ed Carpenter Racing||43||14||14||9||6||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|21||Dalton Kellett||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||38||12||7||12||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|22||Romain Grosjean||Dale Coyne Racing with RWR||37||20||17||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|23||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing||34||0||0||19||15||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|24||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||33||0||0||13||20||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|25||Pietro Fittipaldi||Dale Coyne Racing with RWR||24||0||0||15||9||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|26||Jimmie Johnson||Chip Ganassi Racing||19||11||8||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|