Scott Dixon/No.9 Degree Chevrolet was the fastest overall Verizon IndyCar Series driver Friday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway. He held the spot for most of the afternoon session in the heat of the day. His top time was 33.0839 seconds, translating to 217.629 mph. That was just a shade (pun intended) faster than the morning time of 217.451 set by Ryan Briscoe/No.5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda.
Second through fifth were Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet; Ed Carpenter/No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet-who had been second for much of the session; Takuma Sato/No.14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda-who jumped up the charts in the last ten minutes and only ran 30 laps; and Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet.
Marco Andretti/No.27 Snapple Honda – who had led early on, finished sixth; Briscoe finished seventh after running higher for a long time; and Rookie Sage Karam/No.8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet was eighth after running fifth most of the time. Karam shares the Chip Ganassi Racing ride with Sebastian Saavedra. Both drivers ran the Indianapolis 500.
The order changes came after the last, lengthy caution.
Briscoe turned the most laps – 57. In the overall scheme of things, he was second fastest for the day, after combining times with the first and second session. Thirteen drivers were faster in the morning, while ten were faster in the heat of the second session.
All 23 drivers were on course. The session had three cautions – two for Track Inspection, and a lengthy one for James Jakes/No.7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, who had an engine problem and pulled over after a puff of smoke appeared from the rear. The ‘mechanical malfunction’ caused a lengthy hiatus for the extensive application of oil dry in Turns One and Two. Understandably, Jakes turned the fewest laps of the session – 27. His crew went to work immediately to get the car ready for qualifying at 4:45pm PT.
All in all, the 75-minute session, which was extended 15 minutes, had more caution time (46.10 minutes) than green track time – 43.50 minutes. During the downtime, the drivers sat in their cars, fully suited up with helmets on, under an umbrella.
The ambient temperature was 94F degrees, while the track was 134F degrees. This second practice was the closest to the race conditions expected Saturday afternoon for the 250-mile race starting at 1:30pm local/Pacific time. The only shade in the pit/paddock area is found in garages, under overhangs, or inside. Several strategically placed Misters in the Admin Buildings area help the cooling process.
Gabby Chaves/No.98 Bowers & Wilkins Curb Honda was the fastest Rookie in the morning session, in twelfth place.
Pippa Mann/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda was last, as she was in the first session, turning a 209.884 mph lap, up two mph miles after the last caution. She turned the second-most laps – 56.