By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The recent manufacturer change of Chip Ganassi Racing from Chevrolet to Honda hasn’t affected their standing at the front of the field as Scott Dixon’s No. 9 GE LED Lighting Honda led the second Friday practice session for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the opening round of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Dixon’s lap of 1 minute 2.5591 seconds (103.582 mph) was 1.3 seconds faster than his first session time that netted him third-place in the first session.
For the manufacturer battle, Honda again had four of the top five cars, but a Chevrolet was second fastest as Team Penske’s Will Power piloted his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to a lap of 1:02.8416. Tony Kanaan was third fastest in his No. 10 NTT Data Honda followed by Charlie Kimball in his No. 83 Tresiba Honda and Sebastien Bourdais in his No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda was fifth.
The session was briefly stopped after Takuma Sato’s No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda hit the wall in Turn 13, bringing out the red flag eight minutes into the session.
The results from the second session are actually quite odd in that in every multi-car team, one driver did really well while another driver tended to struggle. For example, Conor Daly/s No. 4 car was 20th for AJ Foyt Racing while his teammate Carlos Munoz was tenth.
Bourdais had fifth in the second session, while rookie Ed Jones was 19th in car No. 19.
Meanwhile, Graham Rahal was 17th as the lone representative for Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing.
Full results here: INDYCAR 2017 Practice 2 St. Pete