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Practice report
IndyCar Indianapolis Road Course

IndyCar Indy GP: Herta fastest from Canapino, as engine issues spark concerns

Andretti Global’s Colton Herta led a frantic opening session for this weekend’s Indy Grand Prix, which endured multiple red flags and three cars suffered engine woes.

Colton Herta, Andretti Global w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Herta, the current points leader in the IndyCar Series championship, delivered flying lap of 1m09.2863s on a set of softer alternates to set the quickest time on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course layout.

The quick lap set by Herta came with less than three minutes remaining in the 75-minute practice, bumping the feel-good story of Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Agustin Canapino from the top spot by 0.0850s.

Team Penske’s Will Power, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay and Andretti Global’s Marcus Ericsson rounded out the rest of the top five.

After setting the initial fastest time in the early running, with a lap of 1m09.8152s on a set of harder primary rubber, Josef Newgarden brought out the first red flag after his No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet spun and stalled in Turn 14 in the opening 15 minutes.

Another red flag came returned 10 minutes later after Graham Rahal’s No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda stopped on track near the pit exit; he reported “something isn’t right… it’s letting go” over the radio before being towed back to the garage area.

Shortly after the session resumed, a massive plume of smoke erupted on pit lane with 45 minutes left in the session as the rear end of Marcus Armstrong’s No. 11 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda was on fire. Like Rahal’s, it was a brand new engine for this event.

“I felt a bit of a vibration,” Armstrong said. “They didn't see anything on the data, but you know when there's something not right, so I just boxed.

“I think we may have saved it. If I kept going, we wouldn't have had a fire extinguisher or anything out there.”

Rahal provided his perspective on his engine problems shortly after Armstrong’s assessment.

“Yeah, I think I just caught it before him frankly because I heard it coming out of (Turn) 13 right away,” Rahal said. “I did like one up shift and I just, I clutched right away because I could tell. But we'll see. These are new engines. We’ve got to see what the issues are.”

Armstrong’s team elected for an engine change before the end of practice, with Rahal’s team mulling on doing the same.

Once the cloud of smoke settled on pit road and the session continued, it was VeeKay that vaulted to first with 26 minutes to go with a 1m09.7872s lap to dethrone Newgarden on a set of primaries.

Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward then equipped a set of softer alternates and went P1 with 14 minutes to go with a 1m09.7199s lap.

The flood of times began to come in as the softer alternates saw a rotation of the top spot as the likes of Scott McLaughlin, VeeKay, Power and Canapino went quickest before Herta settled it in the final moments.

To round out the engine issues, the Chevrolet in Theo Pourchaire’s Arrow McLaren entry also appeared to expire in the closing moments, causing him to pull off the track.

   
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3
   
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 United States C. Herta Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian 26 15

1'09.2863

  126.726
2 Argentina A. Canapino Juncos Hollinger Racing 78 19

+0.0850

1'09.3713

0.0850 126.571
3 Australia W. Power Team Penske 12 21

+0.1067

1'09.3930

0.0217 126.531
4 Netherlands R. van Kalmthout Ed Carpenter Racing 21 14

+0.1331

1'09.4194

0.0264 126.483
5 Sweden M. Ericsson Andretti Global 28 23

+0.1823

1'09.4686

0.0492 126.394
6 Denmark C. Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 45 23

+0.1922

1'09.4785

0.0099 126.376
7 New Zealand S. McLaughlin Team Penske 3 20

+0.2207

1'09.5070

0.0285 126.324
8 Sweden F. Rosenqvist Meyer Shank Racing 60 17

+0.2908

1'09.5771

0.0701 126.197
9 United States A. Rossi Arrow McLaren 7 16

+0.3753

1'09.6616

0.0845 126.044
10 United States S. Ferrucci A.J. Foyt Enterprises 14 22

+0.3780

1'09.6643

0.0027 126.039
11 Mexico P. O'Ward Arrow McLaren 5 21

+0.4336

1'09.7199

0.0556 125.938
12 New Zealand S. Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 9 21

+0.4428

1'09.7291

0.0092 125.922
13 United States K. Kirkwood Andretti Global 27 19

+0.5124

1'09.7987

0.0696 125.796
14 United States J. Newgarden Team Penske 2 20

+0.5289

1'09.8152

0.0165 125.766
15 United Kingdom T. Blomqvist Meyer Shank Racing 66 23

+0.5382

1'09.8245

0.0093 125.750
16
C. Rasmussen Ed Carpenter Racing
20 30

+0.5693

1'09.8556

0.0311 125.694
17 Spain A. Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 10 20

+0.6499

1'09.9362

0.0806 125.549
18 Brazil P. Fittipaldi Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 30 22

+0.6763

1'09.9626

0.0264 125.501
19 France T. Pourchaire Arrow McLaren 6 31

+0.7758

1'10.0621

0.0995 125.323
20 United Kingdom J. Harvey Dale Coyne Racing 18 23

+0.8828

1'10.1691

0.1070 125.132
21 France R. Grosjean Juncos Hollinger Racing 77 19

+0.9825

1'10.2688

0.0997 124.954
22 United States K. Simpson Chip Ganassi Racing 4 24

+0.9891

1'10.2754

0.0066 124.943
23 Sweden L. Lundqvist Chip Ganassi Racing 8 24

+1.0356

1'10.3219

0.0465 124.860
24 Italy L. Ghiotto Dale Coyne Racing 51 32

+1.2673

1'10.5536

0.2317 124.450
25 United States G. Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 15 3

+1.4962

1'10.7825

0.2289 124.048
26
R. Robb A.J. Foyt Enterprises
41 21

+2.0143

1'11.3006

0.5181 123.146
27 New Zealand M. Armstrong Chip Ganassi Racing 11 2

+5'00.2858

6'09.5721

4'58.2715 23.758

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