The 90-minute session was delayed by half an hour when a vintage IndyCar dropped oil on the track. Once the session got started, Romain Grosjean’s Andretti Autosport-Honda delivered a very consistent four laps to produce a 231.672, while Alex Palou ran three laps that dipped to 232.745-232.534.
Felix Rosenqvist’s Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet was able to split them, but then three-time polesitter Ed Carpenter’s first two laps were 233s, and his fourth had only dipped down to 232.689, so that his four-lap average was 232.958mph. Team Penske-Chevrolet’s only representative in the Top 12, 2018 winner Will Power, was a full 1mph off.
Pato O’Ward, by contrast, was only 0.037mph off, echoing his strong performance that left him second fastest on Day 1 of qualifying. Jimmie Johnson produced a 232.454mph average, but teammate Marcus Ericsson was the star of the first runs. His first and fastest lap wasn’t quite as good as Carpenter’s but he bled off less speed across the four laps and came up with an average of 232.960 – 0.002 faster than the ECR owner/driver.
Scott Dixon produced a run that looked very like Palou’s first, but like Palou he bailed after three laps. Rinus VeeKay then produced the first fastest first lap – 233.378mph – but had issues on his third and fourth laps. Palou ran again as did Rosenqvist but neither improved. However, Grosjean did, clocking 232.070mph average to move into sixth in the four-lap averages.
Then four-time polesitter Dixon hit the track again, and turned the first 234mph lap of the day, and his third and fourth laps were 233.5s. The result was a startling average of 233.774mph – almost 0.8mph faster anyone else’s average. Indeed, his average was 0.4mph faster than his rivals’ best laps.
Takuma Sato had a vicious-looking slide in his Dale Coyne Racing with RWR-Honda at Turn 1 and ducked out of his first run, while Tony Kanaan suffered electrical issues.
Ericsson’s 233.283mph average on his second run was a result of amazing consistency from the Swede, losing only 0.25mph across his four laps and after an aborted second run by Power, Johnson hit the track and made it a Ganassi 1-2-3 with a 233.261mph average. VeeKay wasn’t able to respond as his third and fourth laps were well off, while on his third run, he dropped from 233.5 to 231.8 as the track temperatures went from 88 to 97degF, although it improved his average to move up to seventh.
Sato lost 2mph from Lap 1 to Lap 2 on his final run, after setting a 233.441mph on his opener.
Best four-lap averages
|1||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda||233.774mph|
|2||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda||233.283mph|
|3||Jimmie Johnson||Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda||233.261mph|
|4||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet||232.958mph|
|5||Pato O’Ward||Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet||232.921mph|
|6||Alex Palou||Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda||232.763mph|
|7||Rinus VeeKay||Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet||232.626mph|
|8||Romain Grosjean||Andretti Autosport-Honda||232.070mph|
|9||Will Power||Team Penske-Chevrolet||231.990|
|10||Felix Rosenqvist||Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet||231.787mph|
|11||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda||229.991mph|
|12||Takuma Sato||Dale Coyne Racing w/ RWR-Honda||229.929mph|