Hawksworth, Rahal head Honda field in Indycar Series practice at Watkins Glen

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Hawksworth, Rahal Lead Effort Friday at Watkins Glen

  • Hawksworth runs sixth, Rahal seventh, in IndyCar return to the Glen
  • Lap record expected Saturday as times tumble on fresh Watkins Glen pavement

A.J. Foyt Racing’s Jack Hawksworth and Graham Rahal, winner of last weekend’s race in Texas, paced the Honda field Friday in opening practice as the Verizon IndyCar Series returned to the historic Watkins Glen International Raceway for the first time since 2010.

Hawkwsworth ran sixth, and Rahal, seventh. A combination of fresh pavement on the full length of the rolling, 3.37-mile Watkins Glen road course, coupled with increased downforce provided by the IndyCar Series road course aero kits, resulted in lap times some five seconds – more than 10 mph – quicker than the last time the open-wheel racers ran here in 2010.

Activities at Watkins Glen continue Saturday with final practice and qualifying. Sunday’s 60-lap race starts at 2 p.m. EDT, with live network television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Jack Hawksworth (#41 A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “It was a fun day. We hadn’t tested here so we worked our way into it and ran through our plan [for the day]. It was good because we worked systematically. By the end, I think we had a decent understanding of the track. We had really nice conditions, a really cool track, incredibly fast, I’ve never been to a track like this in my entire life. Literally…never! So, so fast and the grip level is incredible. I mean it’s a three and half-mile track and we’re doing 1:23s, I don’t know what the average speed is, but it’s insane. I really enjoyed it, and we did some good work, so we’ll try to continue that tomorrow and see if we can put it together in qualifying.”