Story Credit: INDYCAR PR
Photo Credit: Getty Images
AUSTIN, Texas (February 12, 2020) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES concluded its first open test of the season Wednesday with 27 drivers using 25 cars to complete 1,480 laps at Circuit of The Americas.
The field included six former series champions and seven drivers who have yet to start an NTT INDYCAR SERIES race. And it was one of those former champs who posted the fastest lap around the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course that will host the season’s fourth race, the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge on Sunday, April 26.
Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet), the 2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champ, recorded a lap of 1 minute, 46.7603 seconds/114.987 miles per hour that was not far off his pole-winning speed of a year ago at COTA. He was inside 0.8 of a second from his pole effort of 1:46.0177/115.792 mph last March.
“It always feels great, you know,” Power said. “It’s good for all my guys to see we have the pace. We went through as many items as we could. Obviously, it was very rushed at the end there with red flags and everything, so didn’t get everything done, but kind of some of the big stuff that we needed to know, we understand.”
Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda) posted the second-fastest lap at 1:46.9999/114.729 mph. Interestingly, he qualified second to Power here last season.
“It was obviously great to finally get back on track,” Rossi said. “It’s been a long offseason. The waiting around for weather was hard, but I think the team did a good job. We got through a lot of our run plan with no dramas, despite the delays.
“The Aeroscreen was tentatively less dramatic than everyone was expecting it to be, and didn’t have any real issues until some slight, reflection issues at the end which we should be able to rectify. So that was positive. We worked through a good test list and found a pretty decent place in adapting the car with the 2020 needs within a half day. Generally, pretty happy.”
Two-time defending Virgin Australia Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin (No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet) made an immediate impression, recording the third-fastest lap of the session (1:47.2630/114.448 mph).
McLaughlin was followed by Team Penske teammate and defending NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden (No. 1 Team Penske Chevrolet), who was fourth at 1:47.2750/114.435 mph. Colton Herta (No. 88 Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport Honda), last year’s winner at COTA, rounded out the top five (1:47.3672/114.337 mph).
Inclement weather hampered Tuesday’s opening day of the test, with just 17 laps being run collectively by the field.