Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden’s Mid-Ohio weekend got off to a great start on Friday afternoon as the Tennessee native in the No.2 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet led the opening practice session ahead of Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 presented by HPD Ridgeline.
Newgarden set a faster time of 01:07.2524s ending the day just ahead of Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward in the No.5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet who set a 0101:07.5050s while Jack Harvey was third fastest for Meyer Shank Racing with a 01:07.5840s. Alexander Rossi in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda was fourth fastest with a time of 01:07.7245s.
Graham Rahal in the No.15 Fifth Third Bank Honda was fifth fastest with a time of 01:07.7561s ending the day just ahead of Romain Grosjean who only laid eyes on the track last week. The Frenchman set a fastest time of 01:07.7589s ending the session just ahead of defending champion Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing who set a time of 01:07.7657s ending the session just ahead of AJ Foyt Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais in the No.14 ROKiT Chevrolet who set a time of 01:07.7711s.
Championship leader Alex Palou in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda ended the day in ninth place with 01:07.7951s just ahead of Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe who set a time of 01:07.8223s and speaking to The Paddock Eye following the session, the Mayor of HinchTown said:
Mid-Ohio is always interesting. The first time on track is usually pretty slick. This was certainly no different. For how many things have been running over the last two days, I think everybody was a bit surprised how low grip it felt that first run.
But it actually came together pretty quick because a lot of stuff has been running, the temperatures pretty good. As the track heats up over the next couple of days, we actually might see some progression. But, yeah, typical Mid-Ohio, kind of scary first run but it’s come together.
Will Power in the No.12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet for Team Penske was 11th with a time of 01:07.8863s ending the day just ahead of his Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menards Chevrolet who set a time of 01:08.0046s.
On his return following injury, Felix Rosenqvist in the No.7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet was 13th fastest with a time of 01:08.0265s ending the day just ahead of Colton Herta with a time of 01:08.0330s. Ryan Hunter Reay was 15th in the No.28 DHL Honda with a time of 01:08.0740s ending the day just ahead of Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin who set a time of 01:08.1562s.
Conor Daly was 17th for Ed Carpenter Racing just ahead of his returning teammate Rinus VeeKay while Max Chilton was 19th for Carlin. Ed Jones rounded out the top 20 for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan Racing.
Marcus Ericsson was 21st just ahead of IndyCar newcomer Ryan Norman while Dalton Kellett was 23rd just ahead of Santino Ferrucci and Takuma Sato while Jimmie Johnson rounded out the order.