IndyCar spring training test: Colton Herta stays on top at Austin – IndyCar

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Colton Herta held onto the top spot in the solo Harding Steinbrenner Racing entry on day one of IndyCar’s ‘Spring Training’ test at Austin.

Herta’s 1m46.6258s lap of the United States Grand Prix Formula 1 venue – which hosts IndyCar for the first time this season – was 1.4 seconds quicker than his nearest opposition when he set it with an hour and seven minutes of the three-hour afternoon session to run.

Penske’s Will Power whittled that deficit down to 0.48 seconds three laps from the end, but then spun coming into the final turn.

“I’m super happy with how the day went,” said Herta, the 2018 Indy Lights runner-up and now sole driver for the Andretti-affiliated HSR team after Patricio O’Ward’s last-minute departure.

“We did some great things to the car and I’m very happy with how the boys got everything together in time for this test.

“Everyone did a fantastic job and there were no issues with the car; it was perfect. We kept chipping away and kept finding time.

“By the end of the day, we were quickest by quite a margin. I can’t wait for tomorrow now.”

Power’s part-time team-mate Helio Castroneves was allowed to halt his full-fuel load runs in the additional fourth Penske Dallara-Chevrolet to jump up to third place, albeit a second off the ultimate lap from Herta.

Rookie Felix Rosenqvist outpaced Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara-Honda team-mate Scott Dixon by 0.0023s to grab fourth spot, while Simon Pagenaud made it three Penske drivers in the top six just behind them.

Alexander Rossi was fastest of the Andretti Autosport drivers in seventh place, a couple of tenths faster than Graham Rahal – who showed major improvement from Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s form at the Laguna Seca test last Friday.

Dale Coyne Racing’s Santino Ferrucci slotted into ninth ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing driver Spencer Pigot who, along with Rosenqvist, turned the most laps of the session with 38.

Marcus Ericsson and James Hinchcliffe were 11th and 12th for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, followed by Josef Newgarden in the final Penske entry.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, whose car had to be towed into the pits early in the three-hour session, ended up 15th between his Andretti Autosport team-mates Zach Veach and Marco Andretti.

Carlin’s two cars were 18th and 21st with RC Enerson and Max Chilton, with ECR’s Ed Jones pipping his 2017 Dale Coyne Racing team-mate Sebastien Bourdais to 19th.

Kyle Kaiser’s Juncos Racing entry was 24th, 3.25s off Herta’s pace after missing the morning session due to clutch problems.

Tony Kanaan’s AJ Foyt Racing Dallara-Chevrolet broke its gearbox, so he only completed six laps and brought up the rear of the 25-car field.

Afternoon times

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Colton Herta Harding Racing Dallara/Honda 1m46.6258s 22
2 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m47.1044s 0.4786s 28
3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m47.6949s 1.0691s 36
4 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m48.0451s 1.4193s 38
5 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m48.0474s 1.4216s 28
6 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m48.0582s 1.4324s 33
7 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m48.1216s 1.4958s 30
8 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m48.3410s 1.7152s 32
9 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m48.3851s 1.7593s 22
10 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m48.3987s 1.7729s 38
11 Marcus Ericsson Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m48.4057s 1.7799s 28
12 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m48.4101s 1.7843s 28
13 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m48.4210s 1.7952s 22
14 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m48.5693s 1.9435s 26
15 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m48.7096s 2.0838s 21
16 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m48.7143s 2.0885s 20
17 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 1m48.9015s 2.2757s 27
18 R.C. Enerson Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m48.9955s 2.3697s 27
19 Ed Jones Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m49.2077s 2.5819s 28
20 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m49.2231s 2.5973s 30
21 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m49.2661s 2.6403s 30
22 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m49.4975s 2.8717s 17
23 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m49.5239s 2.8981s 19
24 Kyle Kaiser Juncos Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m49.8747s 3.2489s 34
25 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m51.0791s 4.4533s 6

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