Bourdais, Honda Lead Opening Day Practice at Portland
- Sebastien Bourdais paces morning practice and leads the day
- Championship leader Scott Dixon runs third after strong morning run
- Rookies Santino Ferrucci, Jack Harvey impress
Sebastien Bourdais, a previous Portland race winner, led the first of two Verizon IndyCar Series practice sessions and headed the combined time sheets Friday at Portland International Raceway, as Indy car racing returned to the U.S. Pacific Northwest for the first time in 10 years.
Bourdais, one of the most experienced Indy car drivers at Portland with five previous starts, topped the morning session with a time of 57.3975 seconds (123.183 mph) around the 1.964-mile Portland road course in his Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda. Less than eighth-thousandths of a second separated Bourdais from Will Power in second, and just over 1.1 seconds covered the full, 25-car field in practice.
Scott Dixon continued to show championship form, with the current points leader ending the day third overall after his own fast first practice session results, and Marco Andretti ran well in the afternoon session to end the day fourth overall.
Making only his third IndyCar Series start, rookie Santino Ferrucci led the seven rookie drivers in the field with an impressive fifth-fastest effort, with fellow rookie Jack Harvey seventh for Meyer Shank Racing.
Yet another rookie, Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach, continued his late-season run of strong performances to end the day ninth. But teammate and championship contender Alexander Rossi was 11th overall after locking his brakes during a qualifying simulation in the afternoon session.
Activities continue Saturday at Portland with final practice and qualifying for Sunday’s 105-lap race. The penultimate round of the 2018 season beginning at 2:30 p.m. EDT Sunday, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.
Sebastien Bourdais (DCR Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda) Fastest in practice: “It was kind of a two-speed day. The first practice was pretty good. The Gorilla Automotive Products Honda was dialed in from yesterday’s test. Then it got quite a bit warmer in the afternoon, and the whole afternoon session was disjointed. So, it was difficult to get a real read about the car. We had a decent run on the ‘Black’ [primary] Firestone tires, then on the ‘Red’ [alternate] tires, I just didn’t get a ‘read’. We did our fast lap on the ‘Reds’ on Lap Six, which is far too late. My teammate, Santino [Ferrucci], was extremely quick and happy with his car on the ‘Red’ tires and I am a little too accustomed to not being super happy on ‘Reds’. We will have to regroup tonight, and analyze the data and see what happens.”
Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Third fastest in Friday practice: “I think it was a strong first day here in Portland. We had a good test day here yesterday, where we were fastest in the PNC Bank car, so that was a good start for us. I think today really was about getting familiarized with the track again and just putting in the laps. It’s been several years, but it’s great to be back in Portland. I’m excited for the weekend.”
Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Portland
Circuit: Portland International Raceway (1.9-mile road course) Portland, Oregon
2017 Winner: N/A (first IndyCar Series race here since 2007)
Weather: Partly sunny, mild, 76 degrees F
Top-10 Friday Practice Session Results:
|1.||Sebastien Bourdais||DCR with Vasser-Sullivan||Honda||57.3975||123.183 mph|
|3.||Will Power||Team Penske||Chevrolet||57.4053||+0.0078 seconds|
|3.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||57.4221||Practice 1|
|4.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Honda||57.4668||Practice 2|
|5.||Santino Ferrucci-R||Dale Coyne Racing||Honda||57.4818||Practice 2|
|6.||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Chevrolet||57.5836||Practice 1|
|7.||Jack Harvey-R||Meyer Shank Racing||Honda||57.6984||Practice 2|
|8.||Gabby Chaves||Harding Racing||Chevrolet||57.7222||Practice 2|
|9.||Zach Veach-R||Andretti Autosport||Honda||57.7225||Practice 2|
|10.||Jordan King-R||Ed Carpenter||Chevrolet||57.7873||Practice 1|
Other Honda Results
|11.||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Honda||57.7892||Practice 1|
|12.||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Honda||57.7915||Practice 1|
|14.||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Honda||57.8472||Practice 2|
|16.||Ed Jones||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||57.8816||Practice 1|
|18.||Carlos Munoz||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Honda||57.9141||Practice 2|
|19.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Honda||57.9253||Practice 2|
|21.||Pietro Fittipaldi-R||Dale Coyne Racing||Honda||58.0825||Practice 2|
|22.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Honda||58.0963||Practice 2|