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Power tops Spring Training, McLaughlin stuns with P3

Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Will Power finished top of IndyCar Spring Training at Circuit of The Americas, although his teammate, Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin, was a remarkable third fastest in only his second NTT IndyCar Series test.

Power tops Spring Training, McLaughlin stuns with P3

Power lapped the course in 1min46.760sec, an average speed of 114.987mph, which was only 0.6sec off his pole position time from last year which was set on Firestone’s softer compound. Today’s lap time was all the more remarkable because IndyCar has forced drivers to obey track limits through Turn 19, so they carry far less speed in, unable to use the run-off on exit.

Power commented: "It always feels great, you know. It's good for all my guys to see we have the pace. We went through as many items as we could.

"Obviously, it was very rushed at the end there with red flags and everything, so didn't get everything done, but kind of some of the big stuff that we needed to know, we understand."

Andretti Autosport-Honda’s Alexander Rossi was second fastest, 0.2396 behind Power, and 0.2631sec ahead of the remarkable McLaughlin who marginally outpaced his teammate and reigning champion Josef Newgarden.

Rossi remarked: "The waiting around for weather was hard, but I think the team did a good job. We got through a lot of our run plan with no dramas, despite the delays.

"The aeroscreen was tentatively less dramatic than everyone was expecting it to be, and didn't have any real issues until some slight, reflection issues at the end which we should be able to rectify. So that was positive.

"We worked through a good test list and found a pretty decent place in adapting the car with the 2020 needs within a half day. Generally, pretty happy."

Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta, who won the race here at COTA last year was fifth, but had to sit out five minutes of ‘happy hour’ after spinning into the Turn 19 sandtrap and causing a red flag late on.

Between Herta and former Indy Lights teammate Pato O’Ward spinning his Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy off at Turn 18, the last 45 minutes of the day were messy, with not every driver showing their full potential due to red flags at inconvenient times, and then a crowded track as everyone poured on to the 3.4-mile course for their last-gasp chance to improve.

Simon Pagenaud ensured all four Penskes finished in the Top 6, while two more highly impressive rookie performances came from O’Ward’s teammate Oliver Askew who clocked seventh, and Alex Palou in the Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh entry which finished the day ninth and within one second of Power’s P1 lap.

Scott Dixon, Felix Rosenqvist and Marcus Ericsson were eighth, 11th and 19th respectively for Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, while Max Chilton was 15th for Carlin, just behind the Andretti Autosport entries of Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay and the Meyer Shank Racing car of Jack Harvey.

Former F2 race winner Sergio Sette Camara took over the second Carlin car from former IMSA champion Felipe Nasr halfway through the day to claim P21 – a very strong performance on his IndyCar debut. Nasr himself turned 49 laps, showing great car control while the track was still damp.

Nothing has yet been confirmed regarding the how and when these two drivers will share the #31 Carlin-Chevy in 2020, although there would be only one date clash between the IMSA Prototype schedule and the IndyCar season for Action Express Racing's star Nasr. 

Sebastien Bourdais handed off the #14 AJ Foyt Racing car to Dalton Kellett who ended the day propping up the time sheets, just over four seconds away from the top spot.

P No Name FTime Diff Gap FL Laps FSpeed Engine Team
1 12 Will Power 1:46.760 --.---- --.---- 49 57 114.987 Chevy Team Penske
2 27 Alexander Rossi 1:47.000 0.2396 0.2396 46 49 114.729 Honda Andretti Autosport
3 2 Scott McLaughlin 1:47.263 0.5027 0.2631 58 62 114.448 Chevy Team Penske
4 1 Josef Newgarden 1:47.275 0.5147 0.0120 50 53 114.435 Chevy Team Penske
5 88 Colton Herta 1:47.367 0.6069 0.0922 38 43 114.337 Honda Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport
6 22 Simon Pagenaud 1:47.557 0.7965 0.1896 62 66 114.135 Chevy Team Penske
7 7 Oliver Askew 1:47.561 0.8008 0.0043 72 76 114.130 Chevy Arrow McLaren SP
8 9 Scott Dixon 1:47.692 0.9318 0.1310 46 52 113.992 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
9 55 Alex Palou 1:47.707 0.9467 0.0149 57 60 113.976 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh
10 5 Pato O'Ward 1:47.715 0.9548 0.0081 66 67 113.967 Chevy Arrow McLaren SP
11 10 Felix Rosenqvist 1:47.780 1.0193 0.0645 55 59 113.899 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
12 98 Marco Andretti 1:47.838 1.0782 0.0589 48 57 113.837 Honda Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian
13 60 Jack Harvey 1:47.890 1.1299 0.0517 52 61 113.782 Honda Meyer Shank Racing
14 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:47.891 1.1311 0.0012 47 51 113.781 Honda Andretti Autosport
15 59 Max Chilton 1:47.963 1.2025 0.0714 63 72 113.706 Chevy Carlin
16 15 Graham Rahal 1:47.987 1.2267 0.0242 46 51 113.680 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
17 26 Zach Veach 1:48.005 1.2451 0.0184 46 59 113.661 Honda Andretti Autosport
18 21 Rinus VeeKay 1:48.220 1.4595 0.2144 75 82 113.436 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
19 8 Marcus Ericsson 1:48.306 1.5462 0.0867 49 65 113.345 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
20 18 Santino Ferrucci 1:48.364 1.6037 0.0575 44 52 113.285 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan
21 31 Sergio Sette Camara 1:48.471 1.7104 0.1067 26 28 113.173 Chevy Carlin
22 30 Takuma Sato 1:48.690 1.9293 0.2189 36 40 112.945 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
23 4 Charlie Kimball 1:48.692 1.9322 0.0029 44 52 112.942 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
24 14 Sebastien Bourdais 1:48.836 2.0758 0.1436 34 35 112.793 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
25 20 Conor Daly 1:49.078 2.3178 0.2420 47 62 112.543 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
26 31 Felipe Nasr 1:50.768 4.0080 1.6902 47 49 110.826 Chevy Carlin
27 14 Dalton Kellett 1:50.994 4.2340 0.2260 17 20 110.600 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
Bourdais leads test with three hours to go, Palou stars

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Series IndyCar
Event COTA February testing
Teams Team Penske
Author David Malsher-Lopez
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