Things are bustling at Phoenix International Raceway for the Verizon IndyCar Series, which is returning to the desert tri-oval for the first time since 2005. This weekend is the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix, set for Saturday night. Twenty-two season’s regulars are entered, including four drivers who raced in the last Indy Car race at PIR – Helio Castroneves/No.3 REV Group Team Penske Chevrolet; Scott Dixon/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet; Tony Kanaan/No.10 GE LED Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Chevrolet; and Ed Carpenter/No.20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. Both Castroneves and Kanaan are previous PIR winners: Castroneves in 2002, and Kanaan in 2003 and 2004. Kanaan is the only active Indy Car driver who won at PIR and went on to win the championship – in 2004.
This is the second IndyCar race of the eighteen-race 2016 season and things are seemingly going smoothly Friday morning. Cars are going through Technical Inspections, drivers, team managers and spotters have their obligatory morning meeting, and the sixteen Indy Lights cars were on track for their first (45-minute) practice. The temperature is a mild 64F degrees, and the track is a warmer 75F.
Felix Serrales/No.4 Carlin Racing, winner at the season’s opener race at St. Petersburg, ended up the fastest Indy Lights driver, at 166.769 mph. He was followed by Ed Jones/No.11 Carlin Racing; Rookie Dean Stoneman/No.27 Andretti Autosport – who led much of the session; Kyle Kaiser/No.18 Juncos Racing; and Rookie Zachary Clan De Melo/No.13 Juncos Racing.
Indy Lights have another early afternoon 45-minute practice, followed by qualifying at 4:30pm local time.
IndyCar has its first practice at 10am local time, followed by qualifying at 2pm, and a night practice at 6:15pm.
Stay tuned! We’re just getting started.