Bourdais, Honda Lead Opening Day Practice at Portland
  • Sebastien Bourdais paces morning practice and leads the day
  • Championship leader Scott Dixon runs third after strong morning run
  • Rookies Santino Ferrucci, Jack Harvey impress

Sebastien Bourdais, a previous Portland race winner, led the first of two Verizon IndyCar Series practice sessions and headed the combined time sheets Friday at Portland International Raceway, as Indy car racing returned to the U.S. Pacific Northwest for the first time in 10 years.

Bourdais, one of the most experienced Indy car drivers at Portland with five previous starts, topped the morning session with a time of 57.3975 seconds (123.183 mph) around the 1.964-mile Portland road course in his Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda.  Less than eighth-thousandths of a second separated Bourdais from Will Power in second, and just over 1.1 seconds covered the full, 25-car field in practice.

Scott Dixon continued to show championship form, with the current points leader ending the day third overall after his own fast first practice session results, and Marco Andretti ran well in the afternoon session to end the day fourth overall.

Making only his third IndyCar Series start, rookie Santino Ferrucci led the seven rookie drivers in the field with an impressive fifth-fastest effort, with fellow rookie Jack Harvey seventh for Meyer Shank Racing.

Yet another rookie, Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach, continued his late-season run of strong performances to end the day ninth.  But teammate and championship contender Alexander Rossi was 11th overall after locking his brakes during a qualifying simulation in the afternoon session.

Activities continue Saturday at Portland with final practice and qualifying for Sunday’s 105-lap race. The penultimate round of the 2018 season begining at 2:30 p.m. EDT Sunday, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Sebastien Bourdais (DCR Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda) Fastest in practice: “It was kind of a two-speed day. The first practice was pretty good. The Gorilla Automotive Products Honda was dialed in from yesterday’s test. Then it got quite a bit warmer in the afternoon, and the whole afternoon session was disjointed. So, it was difficult to get a real read about the car. We had a decent run on the ‘Black’ [primary] Firestone tires, then on the ‘Red’ [alternate] tires, I just didn’t get a ‘read’. We did our fast lap on the ‘Reds’ on Lap Six, which is far too late. My teammate, Santino [Ferrucci], was extremely quick and happy with his car on the ‘Red’ tires and I am a little too accustomed to not being super happy on ‘Reds’. We will have to regroup tonight, and analyze the data and see what happens.”

Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Third fastest in Friday practice: “I think it was a strong first day here in Portland. We had a good test day here yesterday, where we were fastest in the PNC Bank car, so that was a good start for us. I think today really was about getting familiarized with the track again and just putting in the laps. It’s been several years, but it’s great to be back in Portland.  I’m excited for the weekend.”

Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Portland 
Circuit:               Portland International Raceway (1.9-mile road course) Portland, Oregon
2017 Winner:    N/A (first IndyCar Series race here since 2007)
Weather:           Partly sunny, mild, 76 degrees F

Top-10 Friday Practice Session Results:

Ps. Driver       Team Manufacturer Best Time Notes
  1. Sebastien Bourdais DCR with Vasser-Sullivan      Honda 57.3975 123.183 mph
  3. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 57.4053 +0.0078 seconds
  3. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 57.4221 Practice 1
  4. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda 57.4668 Practice 2
  5. Santino Ferrucci-R Dale Coyne Racing                 Honda 57.4818 Practice 2
  6. Josef Newgarden Team Penske Chevrolet 57.5836 Practice 1
  7. Jack Harvey-R Meyer Shank Racing Honda 57.6984 Practice 2
  8. Gabby Chaves Harding Racing Chevrolet 57.7222 Practice 2
  9. Zach Veach-R Andretti Autosport Honda 57.7225 Practice 2
10. Jordan King-R Ed Carpenter Chevrolet 57.7873 Practice 1

Other Honda Results

11. Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Honda 57.7892 Practice 1
12. Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 57.7915 Practice 1
14. James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 57.8472 Practice 2
16. Ed Jones Chip Ganassi Racing             Honda 57.8816 Practice 1
18. Carlos Munoz Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 57.9141 Practice 2
19. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda 57.9253 Practice 2
21. Pietro Fittipaldi-R Dale Coyne Racing                 Honda 58.0825 Practice 2
22. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 58.0963 Practice 2
News Reporter