Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin in the No.3 Good Ranchers Chevrolet was the pacesetter during a stop/start opening session for this weekend’s Children’s Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Friday. The New Zealander set a fastest time 01:06.6610s ending up just ahead of Colton Herta and Will Power who improved following a red flag moment in the final part of the session.
Six-time series champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC BANK Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, who is searching for his first win here, was fourth just ahead of his teammate Marcus Ericsson.
Christian Lundgaard had a great session for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was sixth with a 01:07.0200s ending the session just ahead of Josef Newgarden and Pato O’Ward while Simon Pagenaud in the No.60 AutoNation Sirius XM Honda ended the day in ninth place just ahead of Alex Palou in the No.10 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda who rounded out the top ten.
Speaking to Paddock Eye following the action, Simon Pagenaud said that while it may only be the opening day of the weekend, the team are happy where they are in terms of how they have made a step forward and it is something that they can build on for the rest of the weekend.
Alexander Rossi was 11th, just ahead of Graham Rahal and Rinus VeeKay. Callum Ilott was P14 and speaking ahead of the race this weekend, the Englishman said:
“Barber was the first weekend for us last year where it started to really click, and we really started to show our pace. It’ll be nice to go into that weekend with a baseline which we know works and I’m confident that we can do a great job there. It’s one of my favourite tracks on the calendar, and after Long Beach it will be great to restart and do a great job. It’s a cool place, a cool environment and a cool track.”
David Malukas was P15 just ahead of Devlin DeFrancesco and Marcus Armstrong, while Conor Daly set 01:07.5920s. Romain Grosjean, who suffered an engine failure, ended the session in 19th just ahead of Jack Harvey and Felix Rosenqvist while Kyle Kirkwood was 22nd.
Helio Castroneves was 23rd just ahead of Agustin Canapina and Sting Ray Robb while AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci and Benjamin Pedersen rounded out the order.