By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
TORONTO — Trying to defend his Honda Indy Toronto win from last year, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon put the rest of the field on notice by turning the fastest lap in Friday’s morning practice session.
The five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion turned a lap of 1 minute, 1.0723 seconds on the 1.786 mile street circuit around Exhibition Place in the frequently-interrupted session.
Team Penske teammates Josef Newgarden (2015 and 2017 Toronto winner) and Will Power (2007 and 2010 Toronto winner) spun coming off of Turn 11 and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato also had a slide coming off the final corner, all three requiring a red flag to interrupt the 45 minute session.
“I had one or two laps where if you tried to prepare [Turn 11] too much, go out wider and cut back and do it as a normal apex, it’s really hard to get back in it,” said Dixon. “By the time you get back you’ve got so much lock in the car that right at the exit it gets very loose. It almost feels like they’ve been running a lot of cars and it’s kind of moved stuff to the outside and then with us once we actually get out there it’s just very slippery so maybe if they sweep it before our session it should be fine.”
Dixon turned 18 total laps in the session and was happy with his car after the first session.
“It was okay, I think it felt really good but there were so many cautions that I actually didn’t do the quicker laps until maybe 12, 13, 14 laps on the tires so the tires were already shot,” said Dixon. “I think had we done it on our first run if the session kept running we would’ve been probably another half second faster. It bodes well, good way to start the weekend.”
The next practice session is at 3:15 p.m. ET and can be followed on the NBC Sports Gold app or on racecontrol.indycar.com.