Photo: Walter G. Arce Sr. /ASP Inc.

Dixon Paces Opening Practice at Mid-Ohio

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

LEXINGTON, Ohio — Five-time Mid-Ohio Indy car winner Scott Dixon put the rest of the field on notice that he is ready to get his sixth win at the 2.258 mile track in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200.

The No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing PNC Bank Honda turned in a fastest lap of 1 minute, 6.0973 seconds to average 122.982 mph. Dixon was happy to be first but knew there was a lot more track time ahead.

“It’s okay, like it’s first session right, so you’ve got to keep that in mind,” said Dixon. “It’s one of those things where if you roll off [first] it’s definitely nice for the weekend. You’d rather be first than tenth and there was actually a pretty big spread in that session too I think as far as time, like tenth was like almost a second off, more than what we normally see here.

“We knew that the Chevies were going to be strong, they had a test day here so yeah, it feels good right now but it’s practice one. If it were qualifying we’d be feeling even better!”

Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot was second fastest in the No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet. The 2015 Indy Lights champion turned a fastest lap of 1 minute, 6.2455 seconds to average 122.707 mph. Pigot has one win at Mid-Ohio in Road to Indy competition and is hoping to turn around the bad luck he’s had the last couple of years at this track.

Third fastest was 2016 Mid-Ohio winner Simon Pagenaud in the No. 22 Team Penske Menards Chevrolet. Pagenaud’s fastest lap was a 1 minute, 6.2665 seconds to average 122.668 mph. Pagenaud is third in the championship standings and is coming off of a fourth place finish at Iowa Speedway last weekend.

The second Friday practice session goes green at 3:15 p.m. ET.

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.