Final Practice & Alonso At Barber

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The final warm-up for the Verizon IndyCar Series was delayed a few minutes for a track repair after the Porsche GT3 race this morning. Marco Andretti paced the field with a time of 1:14.3711; almost eight seconds slower than Will Power’s pole time set yesterday. Of course, this practice was run in the wet with rain tires. From the looks of things, the race will have a dry start later today – but that’s just a guess. Another cloudburst will change that.

The second and third quickest cars were also Hondas, Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi respectively. Spencer Pigot paced the Chevy brigade as the fourth quickest car, while Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the Top-Five.

The Penske cars that have been so dominant over the weekend were led by Will Power in sixth and Josef Newgarden as the seventh quickest car. Max Chilton, Conor Daly and Graham Rahal completed the Top-Ten.

What does all of this mean? Absolutely nothing. Morning warmups rarely point to anything significant, even less so in the rain. I’m expecting the Penske cars to run up front all day, but I still stand by my prediction that Scott Dixon will win. But I’m still impressed how Josef Newgarden as been consistently up front in every session. I will not be surprised to see the Nashville native standing atop the Baber podium for the second time in three races here.

I was lucky enough to attend the Fernando Alonso press conference here on the grounds a 11:00. Unlike what we hear about the elite drivers in Formula One, he was funny and seemed humbled by the task in front of him next month.

When asked what his peers thought, he said he didn’t know because he never talked to them. He said t’s a different world over there. When asked how it will be racing against Juan Montoya, he asked “will he be up front?” The room busted out laughing.

Other than a few signs of a very dry wit and god sense of humor, he said all the right things. During the press conference, I was able to take a shot of Alonso flanked by Mark Miles, Michael Andretti and Zak Brown. Then I got one of him leaving the room with Michael Andretti.

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Alonso

That’s going to do it for now. I’ll be back here for a quick wrap-up after the race and then I’ll have my usual “Random Thoughts” post here on Monday. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter at @Oilpressureblog or Susan at @MrsOilpressure. Check back here after the race.

George Phillips

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