Practice Three Done, Qualifying Next

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Practice Three for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was more normal than what we have seen in the previous two races of the young 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season. It’s looking more and more like Team Penske has this track figured out. Does this mean the winning car on Sunday will come from Team Penske? Not necessarily, but chances are good that Chevy may pick up its first win of the season.

Four of the Top-Five cars in this morning’s practice were Chevy powered Penske cars, with the first three all running for The Captain. Will Power was the quickest with a time of 1:06.9953. Josef Newgarden was about a tenth of a second off of Power’s time, but still was good enough for second quick. Helio Castroneves came in third quickest for the session. Mikhail Aleshin was the fastest Honda and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the Top-Five.

The last five cars were all Hondas; starting with James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal and Max Chilton. Tony Kanaan, who has been curiously slow all weekend could only manage fourteenth quickest in the final practice before qualifying.

Speaking of Simon Pagenaud, I had forgotten that he was given a penalty in qualifying at Long Beach. That carried over to this race where he will have the very last and undesired last pit on pit road. I spotted his pit among the usual backmarkers and it looked a little odd.

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I took a few shots before and during practice. One was of the red and black car of Mikhail Aleshin. I didn’t realize the red on his car was reflective like Hinch’s gold Arrow car. It doesn’t show up as much on television, but it really looks striking in person.

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I caught this shot of James Hinchlffe’s crew huddled around his pitted car. At the time, he was running twentieth. They must have done something right. When he went back out he suddenly shot up to the second spot on the speed chart. He ended the session as the sixth quickest car.

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Just before practice, I caught two of the NBC guys, Marty Snider and Townsend Bell relaxing near the Penske garage. Paul Tracy was just out f the shot signing autographs.

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As you can see from this shot, it is a cloudy day here and quite windy. The radar is not looking good either, but this was predicted. I just hope it will hold off until after qualifying is over around 4:30. Tomorrow looks to be sunny but much cooler. The high probably will not reach sixty-five. The predicted wind will make it feel cooler than that. Throw whatever data the teams gathered in hot weather this weekend out the window. Race Day will be much cooler.

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Anyway, that’ll do it for now. I’ll have a finial wrap-up today after qualifying. For now, we’re headed to the Fan Zone across the track. Please follow me on Twitter @Oilpressureblog or Susan at @MrsOilpressure for photos and comments. Please check back later after qualifying.

George Phillips

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4 Responses to “Practice Three Done, Qualifying Next”

  1. Ron Ford Says:

    Just a quick thank you for the photos.

  2. I agree with Ron, great photos as well as presenting the feel of being there. Jack and I were all over the fabulous coverage by NBC of today’s qualifications. That was awesome. We both love Barber and next year I will spring for the complete weekend.

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