Laguna Seca IndyCar: Newgarden leads Herta, Palou in practice

Two-time IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden set the fastest time in the first 45-minute practice session at Laguna Seca, the Team Penske driver beating Andretti Autosport's 2019 event winner Colton Herta.

Laguna Seca IndyCar: Newgarden leads Herta, Palou in practice

In IndyCar's first visit to the hilly California venue since the 2019 finale, after a planned double-header in 2020 was scrapped due to the ongoing pandemic, Newgarden came out of the blocks fastest to shade Herta by a mere 0.080 seconds with a benchmark time of 1m11.7125s set on his fourth of 11 laps completed.

Behind the top two, championship leader Alex Palou was third fastest, lapping the 2.238-mile circuit 0.262s slower than Newgarden. He was comfortably clear of his Chip Ganassi Racing team-mates Marcus Ericsson and Scott Dixon, who set the tenth and 11th fastest times, and nearest title rival Patricio O'Ward's Arrow-McLaren SP car in 14th.

Ed Jones was one of the stars of the session, going fourth fastest in his Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan entry, as Alexander Rossi in a second Andretti car completed the top five.

Oliver Askew did his hopes of landing a full-time drive with Rahal Letterman Lanigan in 2022 no harm at all by going sixth quickest in the team's third car, outpacing team leader Graham Rahal (17th) and the DCR-linked Takuma Sato (19th).

James Hinchcliffe made it three Andretti cars in the top 10 in seventh spot, just ahead of Jack Harvey (Meyer Shank Racing) and top rookie Romain Grosjean's Dale Coyne Racing with RWR machine.

Oliver Askew, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Oliver Askew, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Photo by: Joe Skibinski

Harvey's team-mate Helio Castroneves brought out the red flag when he skidded into the gravel at the 180-degree Turn 2 with 18 minutes to go. The four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, the only driver other than Herta to have won at the track in Indy cars after his victory for Team Penske in 2000, appeared to have inflicted only minor damage.

At a track where he's tested twice before, NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson was encouraged by lapping only 1.5s off the pace in 24th.

He outpaced Max Chilton (Carlin), Dalton Kellett (AJ Foyt Racing) and Juncos-Hollinger’s Callum Ilott, who will be making his second IndyCar start this weekend.

 

IndyCar Laguna Seca Practice results:

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap
1 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 11 1'11.712  
2 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 10 1'11.792 0.080
3 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 14 1'11.975 0.262
4 United Arab Emirates Ed Jones United States Dale Coyne Racing 16 1'12.016 0.304
5 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 12 1'12.062 0.350
6 United States Oliver Askew United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 18 1'12.151 0.439
7 Canada James Hinchcliffe United States Andretti Autosport 16 1'12.188 0.476
8 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Meyer Shank Racing 13 1'12.228 0.516
9 France Romain Grosjean United States Dale Coyne Racing 17 1'12.321 0.608
10 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 12 1'12.356 0.643
11 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 11 1'12.441 0.729
12 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 17 1'12.446 0.733
13 Brazil Helio Castroneves United States Meyer Shank Racing 15 1'12.475 0.763
14 Mexico Patricio O'Ward United States Arrow McLaren SP 11 1'12.498 0.785
15 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 18 1'12.570 0.857
16 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist United States Arrow McLaren SP 13 1'12.701 0.988
17 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 13 1'12.848 1.136
18 France Sébastien Bourdais United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 14 1'12.950 1.238
19 Japan Takuma Sato United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 15 1'12.992 1.279
20 France Simon Pagenaud United States Team Penske 10 1'13.031 1.319
21 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 15 1'13.071 1.359
22 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Andretti Autosport 13 1'13.102 1.389
23 United States Conor Daly United States Ed Carpenter Racing 15 1'13.140 1.427
24 United States Jimmie Johnson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 18 1'13.260 1.548
25 United Kingdom Max Chilton United Kingdom Carlin 16 1'13.398 1.685
26 Canada Dalton Kellett United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 17 1'13.725 2.013
27 United Kingdom Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Racing 20 1'13.739 2.027
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