IndyCar: Hinchcliffe tops red-flag ruined practice 3

James Hinchcliffe the man to beat for pole this afternoon
James Hinchcliffe the man to beat for pole this afternoon

We have seen so many red flags in IndyCar practice at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend you would think the drivers are a bunch of rank amateurs. Final practice was no different and totally disjointed as a result.

James Hinchcliffe [Honda] was again the only driver to get down into the 1m08s bracket and his lap of 1m08.735s was a whopping 0.300s faster than 2nd quick Sebastien Bourdais [Honda] – a big gap given how tight the field is.

Scott Dixon was third quick in his Ganassi Honda ahead of Colton Herta and Takuma Sato who rounded out the top-5 as Honda powered cars again ran 1-2-3-4-5.

However, everyone feels Team Penske is sandbagging and focusing on race setups until qualifying begins.

Marcus Ericsson, Zach Veach and Graham Rahal were among those going off and causing red flags this session.

How much is Will Power and the Penske team sandbagging?
How much is Will Power and the Penske team sandbagging?

Given the lack of green-flag running in practice, and the fact the red tires have thrown teams for a loop will make qualifying a total crap shoot.

The talk remains about the lack of balance and stability when the cars were shod with the red-sidewall tire.

As unstable as the alternate reds felt for some drivers, the primary black tire felt the opposite for most. Usually, the softer alternate compound is stickier and faster but wears more quickly. On Friday, though, it was oddly out of sorts. Changing track conditions at NTT IndyCar Series road- and street-courses have made the primary the tire of choice on occasion over the years, so while Friday’s experience was rare, it wasn’t a total anomaly.

The temps are up at Barber and it is getting very humid, which will make the track rather slippery for qualifying where we expect several of the drivers to again run out of talent and crash – causing several red flags and ruining it for everyone. There is even a chance for thunderstorms during qualifying.

Like we said – a total crap shoot.

Practice 3 Results

Pos No Name FTime Diff Gap Laps Engine Team
1 5 James Hinchcliffe 1:08.735 –.—- –.—- 12 Honda Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
2 18 Sebastien Bourdais 1:09.035 0.3000 0.3000 12 Honda Dale Coyne w/Vasser-Sullivan
3 9 Scott Dixon 1:09.233 0.4983 0.1983 10 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
4 88 Colton Herta 1:09.244 0.5093 0.0110 14 Honda Harding Steinbrenner Racing
5 30 Takuma Sato 1:09.269 0.5341 0.0248 16 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
6 21 Spencer Pigot 1:09.278 0.5433 0.0092 12 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
7 22 Simon Pagenaud 1:09.284 0.5486 0.0053 16 Chevy Team Penske
8 10 Felix Rosenqvist 1:09.288 0.5533 0.0047 14 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
9 59 Max Chilton 1:09.311 0.5762 0.0229 15 Chevy Carlin
10 27 Alexander Rossi 1:09.348 0.6130 0.0368 12 Honda Andretti Autosport
11 31 Patricio O'Ward 1:09.427 0.6921 0.0791 13 Chevy Carlin
12 20 Ed Jones 1:09.454 0.7189 0.0268 12 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
13 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:09.479 0.7443 0.0254 9 Honda Andretti Autosport
14 60 Jack Harvey 1:09.528 0.7931 0.0488 14 Honda Meyer Shank Racing w/Arrow SPM
15 12 Will Power 1:09.596 0.8608 0.0677 14 Chevy Team Penske
16 4 Matheus Leist 1:09.629 0.8936 0.0328 13 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
17 2 Josef Newgarden 1:09.741 1.0058 0.1122 13 Chevy Team Penske
18 14 Tony Kanaan 1:09.863 1.1279 0.1221 12 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
19 15 Graham Rahal 1:09.972 1.2372 0.1093 13 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
20 98 Marco Andretti 1:10.038 1.3033 0.0661 10 Honda Andretti Herta w/Curb-Agajanian
21 7 Marcus Ericsson 1:10.155 1.4201 0.1168 7 Honda Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsport
22 19 Santino Ferrucci 1:10.559 1.8236 0.4035 11 Honda Dale Coyne Racing
23 81 Ben Hanley 1:10.912 2.1772 0.3536 15 Chevy DragonSpeed
24 26 Zach Veach 1:11.086 2.3513 0.1741 2 Honda Andretti Autosport

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