Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden in the No.2 PPG Chevrolet led the opening practice session on Friday as the NTT IndyCar Series returned to competitive action at the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200.
Newgarden set a fastest time of 01:07.0549s ending the session just ahead of defending champion Alex Palou in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda who set a fastest time of 01:07.2610s.
Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist who took his first and to date only NTT IndyCar Series victory here a few years ago with Chip Ganassi Racing was third fastest with a time of 01:07.3171s and speaking following the action he said:
We did an experiment in that first practice session and it felt pretty good. We just couldn’t get clean runs on the black Firestones. Each time we went out, it was just traffic, traffic, traffic, and even on the last run on reds I got stuck in traffic. It is what it is, and it is the same for everyone.
“Ending the session P3, I think we were competitive on the red tires. Like always, the session was just messy, so we will go back and see what happened. But, this was a positive start to the weekend.
Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson was fourth fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing with a time of 01:07.3720s.
Colton Herta was the leading Andretti Autosport driver in fifth place with a time of 01:07.4998s and speaking following the action he commented saying:
“It’s always amazing to come back here. There’s always a good crowd, there’s a lot of people here for a Friday. The car was relatively good. I was happy with it. It’s the same story for everybody but traffic seems to be a problem when trying to get clean laps. Luckily, my red (Firestone tire) run was clean. I think we’re at a good starting point.”
“I don’t think we rolled off too bad, but we’re not very happy yet. I think there’s going to be some things we need to look into for tomorrow and see what we need to change in order to get the car in a bit more of a happy window of being able to attack. If we find that, I think we’re going to be in good shape.”
Alexander Rossi was seventh with a time of 01:07.5355s and speaking following the action he commented saying:
“Decent start to the weekend. It is a different tire than we have had in the past with the track being a little bit different. Overall, the car performance is good and we will make a few changes overnight to be better tomorrow.”
David Malukas was eighth fastest with a time of 01:07.5361s just ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda with a time of 01:07.5609s while Scott McLaughlin rounded out the top ten with a time of 01:07.5825s.
It was a great session for AJ Foyt Racing’s Kyle Kirkwood as he ended up in P11 with a time of 01:07.6241s.
Romain Grosjean was 12th with a time of 1:07.649s and speaking following the action he commented saying:
“The first practice session went well in the new ForeverLawn colors. It is difficult to find long-grip conditions but we will find a good setup for tomorrow There are a few bits and pieces that we need to adjust in the car, but Mid-Ohio is such a cool track that I love driving here.”
Helio Castroneves was P13 with a time of 01:07.7469s just ahead of Team Penske’s Will Power in the No.12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet who set a time of 01:07.7623s. Takuma Sato was P15 with a time of 01:07.8270s just ahead of Rinus VeeKay with a time of 01:07.8573s while Conor Daly was P17.
Simon Pagenauud was P18 with a time of 01:07.9860s just ahead of Devlin DeFrancesco and Graham Rahal who rounded out the top twenty with a time of 01:08.2083s just ahead of Callum Ilott and Jack Harvey.
Dalton Kellett was 23rd with a time of 01:08.6510s just ahead of Christian Lundgaard and Simona De Silvestro and Tatiana Calderon.
Jimmie Johnson rounded out the order in 27th place.