Dixon tops practice 2 at Watkins Glen (Update)

UPDATE Updated with quotes.

Dixon fastest at the Glen
Dixon fastest at the Glen

Scott Dixon was fastest for both practice sessions today at the Glen. Dixon, who is second in the championship points race, is no stranger to the Glen. Dixon has won here four times and hopes to increase his points with a win here on Sunday.

Rounding out the top five were: Graham Rahal in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda (1:22.9716, 146.219 mph), Simon Pagenaud in the No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet (1:23.0915, 146.008 mph) and Alexander Rossi in the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda (1:23.1124, 145.971 mph). Earlier today, Andretti Autosport announced it had signed Rossi and sponsor NAPA Auto Parts to a multiyear extension for 2018 and beyond.

Eight drivers – Newgarden, Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Pagenaud, Power, Rahal, Rossi and Takuma Sato – remain mathematically eligible to win the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series championship. Of those, only Dixon (four times), Pagenaud (2016) and Power (2014) are past champions.

A third practice is set for 10:30 a.m. ET Saturday, ahead of Verizon P1 Award knockout qualifying at 3 p.m. Both sessions will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com, with NBCSN airing a delayed qualifying telecast at 7 p.m.

The Hondas and Chevrolets were mixed in the top 10 today despite the fact that Dixon thought the Hondas would be at a disadvantage at this track with the extra down force they produce.

Quotes

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): "We made a few changes to the Menards Chevy and we made some gains in the second session today. I think we are getting closer. But it looks like weather is going to play a factor this weekend so we have to keep an eye on that and figure out the best way to adjust. I feel good about the direction we are going."

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was a good day for the DeVilbiss Chevrolet team. I think there are still some things to find and some room to grow. The pace of the car is good, but the differences are so small in the Verizon IndyCar Series. You can't leave a stone unturned. If you do, then you're behind. We'll continue to look at the data and collect all of the information from my teammates. It's important to have it ready for qualifying tomorrow, so that's what we'll do."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "We were really happy with the Hitachi Chevy in the second practice session. We made a lot of improvements from the morning. We ran into a little traffic and we had a little incident where we went off track briefly, but after we came in and looked at the car we actually went faster so it was all good. I'm really looking forward to qualifying tomorrow."

CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "I think today was a good day for us. We missed out on running a second set of black tires in the first session which is a shame. But we made a good improvement in the second session. It's close again as usual. I think we have a good direction to go and we're not far out of that top 12 so that's what we have to aim for tomorrow."

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Honda): "It all happened very quickly. I'm not sure if something failed or what it was. This morning the Gallagher car was quick, and then this afternoon we've been battling a balance problem and we really didn't change anything. I went through the bus stop and caught it once, and then when I went back to the throttle it came back around. I'm not sure if something broke in the rear but it's very unusual. This is a track that really works for me and for something to happen like that when I wasn't pushing that hard is very bizarre."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 NTT Data Honda): "The NTT Data car was really fast out there. We still have a little bit of work to do out there, but the team brought some really good race cars to Watkins Glen this weekend. The team is very strong here – these high-speed road courses like Mid-Ohio are where we seem to excel. I think this place really suits my driving style and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying."

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Honda): "We struggled a little bit today, especially in that first practice. We found a problem with the car during the first session, but with it being a shorter session, we couldn't fix it until after that practice ended and we got back to the garage. Because of that, we spent this afternoon playing catch up, but I think we have a pretty good idea on a direction to go. Out of the four cars on our team, I was the only one who didn't come here to test earlier in the season because I was in Le Mans and then Dixon came here by himself. It's a momentum track, so it takes you a little bit to really get going. I would say we have a high possibility to be in the Firestone Fast Six tomorrow, but it's going to be really hard to beat Dixon out there especially after having a start like that."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet):
"We learned a lot today. The Verizon Chevy was pretty good. It was good to get a feel of the red tires (Firestone alternate) versus the black tires (Firestone primary). I feel like the course has changed a little over the last year, but it's still super fast. Qualifying is important as ever. It's not easy to pass here and I don't think the weather will affect it that much should it be wet on Sunday. Maybe before everyone is able to get their braking zones figured out. Overall, though, it was a good day and we look forward to some fine tuning tomorrow in practice before qualifying."

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): "First my mechanic Pat (Jordan) is good. Hopefully he will have a quick recovery. I feel sorry for him – it was my mistake. It was an okay day as far as practice goes. We did some changes for Practice 2, but it didn't work as we planned. We thought we'd go quicker but we didn't. We have to think about tomorrow and make a good prep."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): "Overall, it was a very good day. I feel like we made really good gains on the setup. The car rolled off the trailer extremely competitive and that's what you need because you don't want to have to reinvent the wheel during the weekend. The guys have done a great job. The car is close. Do we want to be a little bit better? Yes, but overall we are pretty close. This is a phenomenal place. There is a lot of grip, and the track is very smooth just as we left it last year. It should be a great race this weekend."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 UNIFIN Honda):
"We're a bit lost with the set up. I thought the car was pretty close this morning and that the car just needed a couple of tweaks. We found what we thought was going to be the solution to our issue and applied it for the afternoon session, but we ended up going backwards. We're fighting the car in the quick corners and understeer in the slow corners. It's not a happy recipe right now, just very difficult. We'll keep at it and see what we can do. That said, it feels good to be out there, for sure, but we're all competitors and being in the car just doesn't do it. You want to be in the car and feel good and be fighting at the front."

ED JONES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): "We had a decent morning and then we made some changes to try and improve the car for the afternoon, but it didn't work at all. So we struggled a lot in the second session. We have a lot of work to do for tomorrow. Nothing felt right, but we'll work on it and hopefully tomorrow will be much better."

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet):
"We had a pretty good session this morning, but seemed to struggle a little bit this afternoon. I thought we made some improvements in the first session and while we tried a couple of different things this afternoon, it didn't work out the way we had planned. Hopefully we can go back and get the same kind of feeling we had from the car this morning."

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet): "I really enjoy Watkins Glen. I'm definitely hopeful we can be quick here because I like the place a lot. It was a weird couple of sessions for us today. We've got a couple of things going on with the car that we're having a hard time explaining right now. We're going to work to get to the bottom of it and get a better feel for what we need to be doing and address how to go quicker tomorrow. That's pretty much our main goal. We'll do a little bit of problem solving tonight and we'll see where we can pick up some time."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): "It was a productive day. We had a good test here about a month ago, but the conditions today were quite different – I guess that is due to the change in wind direction. I was quite surprised at how different (the car) acted and we had to catch a lot of balance to correct it. In the end, the car was better, not the best though. We still have a lot of work to do before tomorrow to find the speed, but it was a positive direction. Hopefully tomorrow morning is better."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda):
"We had a pretty decent start to the day and showed some competitive speeds in the first practice. Everything was going good in Practice 2, then about midway through we lost balance in the rear in a big way. Not having rear grip really hurt my pace. We went from running decent to running bad. We need to get the rear grip back and hopefully it will help."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "Following a really good test here, we're scratching our heads in a few areas because I was really happy with the DHL car a few weeks ago. Hopefully we'll find it tonight when we put our heads together and hopefully roll out with a better car tomorrow. With all that said, we're not that far off – we're within in reach, we just need to make the necessary changes."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Honda):
"This afternoon was a nice recovery after the morning session. We had an electrical issue that kept us from running during the first practice, but the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing guys did a great job getting it all fixed up and tuned up. We were able to get a few good laps in this afternoon. I'm pretty happy to be inside the top 10, but obviously tomorrow we'll be aiming higher for the Firestone Fast Six. We need to make the car a little bit better, handling-wise and setup-wise, but I think we've got a good direction heading into tomorrow's sessions."

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda): "It was a pretty good Friday. I think we're pretty competitive up to third, but the top two guys are a bit ahead of us. It's the normal culprits on high-commitment road courses, so we'll work overnight. There's a bit of room in the car that I think we know where it is to improve. Overall, we're feeling confident in the NAPA Auto Parts car this weekend."

Practice 2 Results

Pos No Name FTime Diff Gap Laps FSpeed Engine Team
1 9 Scott Dixon 1:22.619 –.—- –.—- 14 146.843 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
2 12 Will Power 1:22.713 0.0942 0.0942 15 146.676 Chevy Team Penske
3 15 Graham Rahal 1:22.972 0.3529 0.2587 18 146.219 Honda Rahal Letterman
4 1 Simon Pagenaud 1:23.091 0.4728 0.1199 15 146.008 Chevy Team Penske
5 98 Alexander Rossi 1:23.112 0.4937 0.0209 17 145.971 Honda Andretti Herta Autosport
6 3 Helio Castroneves 1:23.276 0.6573 0.1636 12 145.684 Chevy Team Penske
7 83 Charlie Kimball 1:23.387 0.7684 0.1111 18 145.490 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
8 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:23.468 0.8496 0.0812 16 145.349 Honda Andretti Autosport
9 26 Takuma Sato 1:23.515 0.8965 0.0469 18 145.267 Honda Andretti Autosport
10 2 Josef Newgarden 1:23.584 0.9655 0.0690 18 145.147 Chevy Team Penske
11 10 Tony Kanaan 1:23.767 1.1485 0.1830 18 144.830 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
12 18 Sebastien Bourdais 1:23.777 1.1582 0.0097 16 144.813 Honda Dale Coyne Racing
13 4 Conor Daly 1:23.816 1.1971 0.0389 15 144.746 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
14 14 Carlos Munoz 1:23.875 1.2565 0.0594 18 144.643 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
15 20 Spencer Pigot 1:23.892 1.2735 0.0170 19 144.614 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
16 27 Marco Andretti 1:23.907 1.2884 0.0149 18 144.588 Honda Andretti Autosport
17 8 Max Chilton 1:24.240 1.6216 0.3332 8 144.017 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
18 7 Jack Harvey 1:24.397 1.7785 0.1569 20 143.749 Honda Schmidt Peterson
19 5 James Hinchcliffe 1:24.401 1.7825 0.0040 13 143.742 Honda Schmidt Peterson
20 21 JR Hildebrand 1:24.458 1.8391 0.0566 20 143.646 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
21 19 Ed Jones 1:24.615 1.9966 0.1575 18 143.378 Honda Dale Coyne Racing

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