Rossi leads wild second practice at Barber

Alexander Rossi led the second practice this afternoon for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst at Barber Motorsports Park, a session that resembled NTT P1 Award qualifying with a last-lap frenzy of quick times.

Rossi’s best lap of 1 minute, 6.0797 seconds in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda came on the final lap of the 45-minute session.

“It’s all good right now,” Rossi said. “We’ve just got to see how the track evolves right now. It’s hotter than this morning.”

Josef Newgarden slowed on the front straight due to a mechanical problem with four minutes remaining, triggering the third red flag of the session. That forced Rossi, Scott Dixon and a handful of other drivers who had just switched from the Firestone primary black tires to the Firestone alternate red tires to have just one lap with the more grippy reds.

Rossi made the most of it, as did Marcus Ericsson, who ended up second at 1:06.2190 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to pace a 2-3-4 performance on the time sheets by Chip Ganassi Racing in this session.

Six-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Dixon was third at 1:06.3018 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda on his only flying lap on the red tires, while first session leader Alex Palou was fourth at 1:06.3204 in the No. 10 SEGI.TV Honda.

Felix Rosenqvist rounded out the top five at 1:06.3948 in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.

Colton Herta, who was second quickest in the first practice this morning, was unhurt in an incident 26 minutes into the session. Herta’s No. 26 Gainbridge Honda understeered in Turn 2 and veered off-course and through the gravel trap, hitting the outside barrier. Herta was unhurt, but his car suffered damage to both left-side wheel-suspension assemblies and the left-front wing.

“I just went too fast,” Herta said. “The tires weren’t up to temp and just a little bit of a silly move by me to push it too hard at that point.”

NTT P1 Award qualifying starts at 5:55 p.m. (ET) today on the 17-turn, 2.38-mile circuit. Expect the track record of 1:06.6001 set by Sebastien Bourdais in qualifying in 2016 to be smashed, as 10 drivers were quicker than that time during the second practice.

2021 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – Second Practice Results

1Alexander Rossi2701:06.079718125.30318–.—-–.—-
2Marcus Ericsson801:06.219018125.04180.13930.1393
3Scott Dixon901:06.301817124.883170.22210.0828
4Alex Palou1001:06.320417124.848180.24070.0186
5Felix Rosenqvist701:06.394812124.709140.31510.0744
6Ed Jones1801:06.474715124.559160.39500.0799
7Pato O’Ward501:06.515015124.483150.43530.0403
8Will Power1201:06.523017124.468200.44330.0080
9Conor Daly2001:06.559311124.4140.47960.0363
10Jack Harvey6001:06.589414124.344170.50970.0301
11Sebastien Bourdais1401:06.622218124.283190.54250.0328
12Scott McLaughlin301:06.664315124.204180.58460.0421
13James Hinchcliffe2901:06.679312124.176130.59960.0150
14Josef Newgarden201:06.716116124.108170.63640.0368
15Colton Herta2601:06.75519124.035110.67540.0390
16Ryan Hunter-Reay2801:06.788513123.973150.70880.0334
17Romain Grosjean5101:06.856117123.848170.77640.0676
18Simon Pagenaud2201:07.097018123.403211.01730.2409
19Rinus VeeKay2101:07.09956123.399141.01980.0025
20Takuma Sato3001:07.276419123.074191.19670.1769
21Max Chilton5901:07.304717123.023171.22500.0283
22Dalton Kellett401:07.464514122.731171.38480.1598
23Graham Rahal1501:07.468117122.725201.38840.0036
24Jimmie Johnson4801:07.88217121.976171.80240.4140

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