IMS IndyCar: Palou leads, Lundgaard impresses in practice

Championship leader Alex Palou drove to the top of the times in opening practice for the Big Machine Spiked Coolers GP on the Indy road course, while IndyCar debutant Christian Lundgaard finished the session in seventh.

IMS IndyCar: Palou leads, Lundgaard impresses in practice

May’s GP of Indy winner Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet was the first driver to duck into the 71sec bracket, with a 1min11.8641sec effort on his fourth lap, with Jack Harvey of Meyer Shank Racing-Honda – traditionally fast around here – his nearest competitor, 0.155sec behind.

With 20mins to go, Lundgaard, Formula 2 race winner, jumped up into sixth in the #45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda, while Helio Castroneves in the second MSR-Honda went second, displacing teammate Harvey, and Conor Daly put his ECR-Chevy into fourth.

Among the minor mistakes and use of run-offs, Penske-Chevrolet’s Will Power had a little adventure with 18mins to go when he locked up his brakes in the #12 Penske at Turn 1, then missed the rejoin route in the run-off and drifted onto the banking of Indy oval Turn 4. He was refired by the AMR Safety Team and returned to action.

In the final quarter-hour of the session as drivers took on a set of new Firestone primaries, May’s polesitter Romain Grosjean stuck his Dale Coyne Racing with RWR-Honda into P1, ahead of Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy), Scott McLaughlin (Penske), Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda’s points leader), and Ed Jones (Coyne-with Vasser-Sullivan).

Then Power sprung to the top of the times for drivers on primary tires, producing a 1min11.5371sec.

Naturally, times really started to come down once the softer-compound alternate Firestones were put on, and VeeKay clocked the first 70sec lap – 1min10.9062sec – before Lundgaard set time less than quarter-second slower.

Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Alex Palou hit P1 with a 1min10.8839sec, and Graham Rahal all-but matched Lundgaard to go fourth before the fun was put on hold with a red flag for Colton Herta’s Andretti Autosport-Honda which ground to a halt at pit exit with a dragging clutch and an oil-pressure problem.

With three minutes to go, most of the remaining 28 cars hit the track once more. Rahal fell off the track at Turn 7 for a second time, while veteran teammate Takuma Sato had an unnecessary run-in with Jones.

VeeKay drew to 0.0233sec behind Palou’s top time, while O’Ward bounced into third ahead of Harvey.

Josef Newgarden, who will take a six-place grid penalty,  snatched fifth at the last gasp, a couple of hundredths ahead of Penske teammate Power.

Lundgaard showed no qualms about using the extra grip from the Firestone reds to stay well inside the Top 10.

Ryan Hunter-Reay swerved around the recovering Rahal to take 10th, ahead of AA-Honda teammate Alexander Rossi.

Top Gun Racing made an encouraging return to action – the first time it has entered an IndyCar race since its DNQ at the Indy 500 – as RC Enerson did his traditionally impressive job to end up 22nd, just 1.1sec off the ultimate pace.

Despite finishing 27th of 28 cars, Jimmie Johnson could take huge encouragement from the session, too, within 1.5sec of pacesetting teammate Palou.

Qualifying begins at 7pm local (Eastern) time.

P

Name

FTime

Diff

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Team

1

Alex Palou

1:10.8839

1:10.8839

17

21

123.870

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

2

Rinus VeeKay

1:10.9062

0.0223

19

24

123.831

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

3

Pato O'Ward

1:10.9267

0.0428

20

21

123.795

Chevy

Arrow McLaren SP

4

Jack Harvey

1:10.9397

0.0558

15

16

123.773

Honda

Meyer Shank Racing

5

Josef Newgarden

1:11.0850

0.2011

22

22

123.520

Chevy

Team Penske

6

Will Power

1:11.1113

0.2274

24

24

123.474

Chevy

Team Penske

7

Christian Lundgaard

1:11.1412

0.2573

22

27

123.422

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

8

Graham Rahal

1:11.1553

0.2714

21

25

123.398

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

9

Marcus Ericsson

1:11.2854

0.4015

20

20

123.172

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

10

Ryan Hunter-Reay

1:11.2972

0.4133

23

23

123.152

Honda

Andretti Autosport

11

Alexander Rossi

1:11.3067

0.4228

16

16

123.136

Honda

Andretti Autosport

12

Simon Pagenaud

1:11.3710

0.4871

22

22

123.025

Chevy

Team Penske

13

Romain Grosjean

1:11.3919

0.5080

17

21

122.989

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing

14

Conor Daly

1:11.4393

0.5554

20

20

122.907

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

15

Scott Dixon

1:11.4858

0.6019

22

22

122.827

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

16

Helio Castroneves

1:11.5472

0.6633

18

22

122.722

Honda

Meyer Shank Racing

17

James Hinchcliffe

1:11.5860

0.7021

19

23

122.655

Honda

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

18

Sebastien Bourdais

1:11.6385

0.7546

20

20

122.565

Chevy

AJ Foyt Enterprises

19

Felix Rosenqvist

1:11.7291

0.8452

18

18

122.411

Chevy

Arrow McLaren SP

20

Scott McLaughlin

1:11.7720

0.8881

19

26

122.337

Chevy

Team Penske

21

Ed Jones

1:11.7966

0.9127

13

18

122.295

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan

22

RC Enerson

1:12.0191

1.1352

21

25

121.918

Chevy

Top Gun Racing

23

Takuma Sato

1:12.0270

1.1431

22

22

121.904

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

24

Max Chilton

1:12.1745

1.2906

23

23

121.655

Chevy

Carlin

25

Dalton Kellett

1:12.2029

1.3190

20

26

121.607

Chevy

AJ Foyt Enterprises

26

Colton Herta

1:12.2410

1.3571

3

16

121.543

Honda

Andretti Autosport

27

Jimmie Johnson

1:12.2995

1.4156

20

26

121.445

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

28

Cody Ware

1:13.5020

2.6181

22

22

119.458

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing

 

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