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Dixon dominates chaotic practice session in challenging conditions



Dixon dominates chaotic practice session

During the start of the 2023 IndyCar season, Scott Dixon set the fastest time in Friday’s practice session at St Petersburg. However, the session was marked by difficult conditions such as strong winds, braking problems, and the resurfacing of the track, which caused considerable disruption for the drivers.

The 20th IndyCar race weekend in St Petersburg, which featured the largest-ever entry of 27 drivers, got off to a chaotic start with several high-profile drivers spinning or crashing into the wall.

The resurfacing of the track in the first sector, particularly at Turn 3, which used to be relatively easy but is now more challenging, coupled with a green track and new brake material on the cars, made Turn 4 a hazardous braking zone.

Simon Pagenaud, Graham Rahal, Josef Newgarden, Scott McLaughlin, and Helio Castroneves all experienced spins, lock-ups, or collisions with the wall.

Kyle Kirkwood from Andretti Autosport had a relatively calm session and held the top spot for almost the entire 1 hour and 15 minutes of practice.

However, in the final seven minutes of the session, Scott Dixon emerged as the fastest driver, achieving this feat at a track where he has never won before.

Andretti’s Colton Herta managed to secure the second spot with his last lap of the session, depriving Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing of a potential 1-2 finish.


Kyle Kirkwood expressed satisfaction with his fourth-place finish, considering it a perfect start to the season. Simon Pagenaud recovered from an early spin at Turn 4 and finished strong for Meyer Shank Racing in fifth place.

Ed Carpenter’s Rinus VeeKay also made significant improvements late in the session and finished in sixth place.

Dale Coyne’s David Malukas had been second before the flurry of late improvements by other drivers in the last seven minutes, eventually settling for seventh place.

Reigning champion Will Power was the top Penske driver in eighth place, while the best rookie, Ganassi’s Marcus Armstrong, finished in ninth place.

Last year’s winner, Scott McLaughlin, had some close calls with the wall at Turn 3 and Turn 10 but managed to keep his car relatively undamaged, finishing in the session and rounding out the top 10.

Ganassi’s Marcus Armstrong was the highest-finishing rookie in the session, but Agustin Canapino from Juncos Hollinger also impressed.

The former touring car driver was only 0.7 seconds off the best time, and just 0.3 seconds behind his teammate Callum Ilott, who is considered an ace driver, in his first competitive session.


The session was extremely competitive, with the top 23 drivers separated by less than a second, as demonstrated by Canapino’s 19th place finish.

Pato O’Ward was the highest-placed driver for Arrow McLaren in 11th, thanks to a late improvement, while Felix Rosenqvist dropped down the order after holding a position in the top five for a long time.

In addition, the session marked the first time that IndyCar used its new fuel produced by Shell, which is made using 100% renewable materials.

Results for the first practice session of the 2023 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

1Scott DixonChip Ganassi Racing Honda1m01.614s
2Colton HertaAndretti AutosportHonda1m01.647s
3Alex PalouChip Ganassi RacingHonda1m01.679s
4Kyle KirkwoodAndretti AutosportHonda1m01.685s
5Simon PagenaudMeyer Shank RacingHonda1m01.696s
6Rinus VeeKayEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet1m01.851s
7David MalukasDale Coyne RacingHonda1m01.861s
8Will PowerTeam PenskeChevrolet1m01.891s
9Marcus ArmstrongChip Ganassi RacingHonda1m01.944s
10Scott McLaughlinTeam PenskeChevrolet1m01.988s
11Pato O’WardArrow McLarenChevrolet1m02.017s
12Callum IlottJuncos Hollinger RacingChevrolet1m02.036s
13Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi RacingHonda1m02.073s
14Romain GrosjeanAndretti AutosportHonda1m02.106s
15Felix RosenqvistArrow McLarenChevrolet1m02.109s
16Devlin DeFrancescoAndretti AutosportHonda1m02.25s
17Jack HarveyRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda1m02.323s
18Helio CastronevesMeyer Shank RacingHonda1m02.329s
19Agustin CanapinoJuncos Hollinger RacingChevrolet1m02.362s
20Santino FerrucciAJ Foyt RacingChevrolet1m02.403s
21Alexander RossiArrow McLarenChevrolet1m02.461s
22Josef NewgardenTeam PenskeChevrolet1m02.515s
23Conor DalyEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet1m02.548s
24Sting Ray RobbDale Coyne RacingHonda1m02.815s
25Christian LundgaardRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda1m03.041s
26Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda1m03.138s
27Benjamin PedersenAJ Foyt RacingChevrolet1m03.513s

Dixon dominates chaotic practice session in challenging conditions Dixon dominates chaotic practice session in challenging conditions Dixon dominates chaotic practice session in challenging conditions

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