O’Ward paces testing at Portland

It was a day of big heat and spins as Arrow McLaren SP, Chip Ganassi Racing, and Meyer Shank Racing put Portland International Raceway to thorough use during a private test. In a sentence that has been written many times this year, Pato O’Ward was fastest of those who were in attendance, leading the eight entries with a lap of 59.36s around the 2.0-mile road course with the No. 5 AMSP Chevy.

In another familiar note for IndyCar fans, Scott Dixon was right there at the sharp end of the field, posting a lap of 59.46s in his No. 9 CGR Honda. CGR’s Alex Palou completed the top three in the No. 10 Honda, with a nearly identical 59.49s lap as the three drivers leading the NTT IndyCar Series championship were covered by 0.13s.

“I enjoy Portland, and I ended up very pleased with our day,” O’Ward told RACER. “We did a lot of testing and I think we got the car to a happy spot for when we come back, and hopefully what we learned today will help in other places we go like the Indy road course. We did a lot of big changes and I love how much we got from them.”

With five sets of new Firestone tires to use throughout the day, teams were economical in their test run plans, with most opting to put in work during the cooler morning conditions and again in the afternoon where peak track temperatures increased nearly 50F to reach a high of 145F.

“It was a good day,” Palou added. “It’s a nice track to drive—this was my first time here. Did lots of stuff; as usual, half of the things worked and half didn’t. The morning was fine and then it kept going up and up. Track grip was changing so much. It was nice to see the difference in how the car reacts in the really high track temperature. But there was no big dramas, no big stuff, except maybe five red flags for guys that spun, but that was all.”

Unofficial times:

  1. Pato O’Ward, AMSP Chevy, 59.36s
  2. Scott Dixon, CGR Honda, 59.46s
  3. Alex Palou, CGR Honda, 59.49s
  4. Jack Harvey, MSR Honda, 59.51s
  5. Felix Rosenqvist, AMSP Chevy, 59.59s
  6. Marcus Ericsson, CGR Honda, 59.62s
  7. Helio Castroneves, MSR Honda, 59.62s
  8. Jimmie Johnson, CGR Honda, 60.38s