Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Newgarden leads Palou and Rosenqvist in first practice

Three-time 2022 IndyCar winner Josef Newgarden of Team Penske led Ganassi’s Alex Palou and Felix Rosenqvist of Arrow McLaren SP in opening practice for Sunday’s Mid-Ohio race.

Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Newgarden leads Palou and Rosenqvist in first practice

David Malukas was the first driver to turn a 70-second lap, turning a 70.3589s for Dale Coyne Racing with HMD, before improving to a 68.4831s, an average of 118.698mph around the 2.238-mile course in Lexington, OH.

His fellow rookies were out on track with him at this early stage, taking advantage of the extra set of primary tyres supplied by Firestone. They were joined by Simona De Silvestro of Paretta Autosport, Jimmie Johnson in the #48 Chip Ganassi car and Dalton Kellett of AJ Foyt Racing.

Devlin De Francesco of Andretti Autosport got closest to Malukas, albeit 0.7s away, by the time they pitted.

Then some of the veterans came out and started creeping up the order, with five-time Mid-Ohio polesitter Will Power of Team Penske the first of the drivers to join Malukas in the 68s bracket, before finally displacing him from the top with his sixth lap – a 68.3743s (118.887mph).

At that point, Alexander Rossi and Romain Grosjean (both Andretti) and Helio Castroneves (Meyer Shank Racing) were into the top five, and then Pato O’Ward sprung up to third in another Arrow McLaren SP entry, having turned the fastest time in the first sector.

Takuma Sato (Dale Coyne Racing with RWR) had just started his fourth lap, when he had a very dramatic-looking trip across the sandtrap at Turn 1, bringing out the red flag.

In hot and humid conditions, the track continued to evolve as more rubber went down, and 2021 Mid-Ohio winner Newgarden moved into the top slot with a 68.0778s lap on his 11th tour, just ahead of Ganassi’s defending champion Palou (12th lap) and Penske’s IndyCar sophomore Scott McLaughlin in third with his 10th lap.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Autograph Session

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Autograph Session

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Barber Motorsports Park polesitter Rinus VeeKay moved into fifth for Ed Carpenter Racing.

Johnson, Malukas, De Silvestro and Tatiana Calderon of AJ Foyt Racing were the first to strap on Firestone alternate tyres. All drivers had access to one set of reds to simulate qualifying runs and try out the life of this softer rubber, before handing them back to Firestone at the end of the session.

Malukas was the first to make this change count, with 67.5361s, an average of 120.362mph, but was then usurped by Palou who produced a 67.2610s, with Rossi third and VeeKay fourth.

O’Ward’s first real flyer on reds moved him up to second but was still a quarter-second short of Palou in top spot, but Newgarden appeared to have no problem in delivering a 67.0549s, two tenths clear of his nearest opposition, an average of 121.226mph.

Palou’s team-mate and championship leader Marcus Ericsson slipped into third seven minutes before the end of the session, just ahead of Colton Herta.

Another Swede, Felix Rosenqvist of AMSP, pushed Ericsson out of the top three, while one of the late converts from blacks to reds, Power, couldn’t find a clear lap while his tyres were at their best, and finished up 14th.

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team appeared to be struggling, Graham Rahal, Jack Harvey and Christian Lundgaard finishing the session in 20th, 22nd and 24th respectively.

De Silvestro showed notable improvement in her exploitation of the soft tyres, finishing up 1.87s off top spot, three quarters of a second faster than Calderon and 0.9s ahead of Johnson.

FP1 result:

P

Name

FTime

Diff

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Josef Newgarden

1:07.0549

-

20

25

121.226

Chevy

A

Team Penske

2

Alex Palou

1:07.2610

0.2061

16

24

120.855

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

3

Felix Rosenqvist

1:07.3171

0.2622

18

20

120.754

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

4

Marcus Ericsson

1:07.3720

0.3171

18

21

120.655

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

5

Colton Herta

1:07.4998

0.4449

19

23

120.427

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport w/Curb-Agajanian

6

Pato O'Ward

1:07.5263

0.4714

13

16

120.380

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

7

Alexander Rossi

1:07.5355

0.4806

17

22

120.363

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

8

David Malukas

1:07.5361

0.4812

18

26

120.362

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing with HMD

9

Scott Dixon

1:07.5609

0.5060

19

22

120.318

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

10

Scott McLaughlin

1:07.5825

0.5276

19

23

120.280

Chevy

A

Team Penske

11

Kyle Kirkwood

1:07.6241

0.5692

29

30

120.206

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

12

Romain Grosjean

1:07.6498

0.5949

24

24

120.160

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

13

Helio Castroneves

1:07.7469

0.6920

17

21

119.988

Honda

A

Meyer Shank Racing

14

Will Power

1:07.7623

0.7074

23

28

119.961

Chevy

A

Team Penske

15

Takuma Sato

1:07.8270

0.7721

15

16

119.846

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing w/RWR

16

Rinus VeeKay

1:07.8573

0.8024

15

22

119.793

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

17

Conor Daly

1:07.8870

0.8321

20

25

119.740

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

18

Simon Pagenaud

1:07.9860

0.9311

18

22

119.566

Honda

A

Meyer Shank Racing

19

Devlin DeFrancesco

1:08.0138

0.9589

29

34

119.517

Honda

A

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

20

Graham Rahal

1:08.2083

1.1534

18

19

119.176

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

21

Callum Ilott

1:08.3351

1.2802

25

25

118.955

Chevy

P

Juncos Hollinger Racing

22

Jack Harvey

1:08.4985

1.4436

24

25

118.671

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

23

Dalton Kellett

1:08.6510

1.5961

27

28

118.408

Chevy

P

AJ Foyt Enterprises

24

Christian Lundgaard

1:08.7706

1.7157

26

30

118.202

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

25

Simona De Silvestro

1:08.9286

1.8737

28

33

117.931

Chevy

A

Paretta Autosport

26

Tatiana Calderon

1:09.6944

2.6395

32

32

116.635

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

27

Jimmie Johnson

1:09.8167

2.7618

23

37

116.431

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

 

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