ROOKIES RULE!

Colin Herta. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Colin Herta. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Rookie Colin Herta/No.98 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda grabbed the top spot for the second NTT IndyCar Series practice Friday noon for the IndyCar Grand Prix, turning a 1:08.0393 for 129.049 mph. He said “I’m super happy!” And again it was breezy and cold-53 degrees F. Ask any photographer who was out for the 45-minute session. Brrr.

Rookie Felix Rosenqvist/No.10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda was second fastest, followed by Spencer Pigot/No.21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, Sebastien Bourdais/No.18 GEICO Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda, and Scott Dixon/No.9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.All but Dixon led the laps at once time or another, with Herta holding on the longest. Also fastest at one point early on was Takuma Sato/No.30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda.

Sebastien Bourdais

Scott Dixon

Takuma Sato

Left to Right: Sebastien Bourdais; Scott Dixon; and Takuma Sato. Photos by Pablo Matamoros.

All but two of the drivers eclipsed the morning fastest time, and all 24 were fastest in the second practice than the first. Again, it was double-digit laps, from 13-23. Rosenqvist turned the most laps in each session, for a total of 46.

Ed Jones. Photo by Pablo Matamoros.

Marcus Ericsson

Santino Ferrucci

There was one brief Red Flag for Ed Jones/No.20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet when he ran out of gas and didn’t quite make Pit Row. Otherwise the session was uneventful.

Four of the five Rookies were in the top 11 drivers: Marcus Ericsson/No.7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda was ninth, and Santino Ferrucci/No.19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Dale Coyne Racing Honda was eleventh.

Helio CastronevesToday is the big 44 for Helio Castroneves/No.3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet. Happy Birthday, Helio!

Next up is qualifying and the Firestone Fast Six.

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