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Practice report

Nashville IndyCar: Herta leads FP1, O’Ward and Daly shunt

Colton Herta topped the first-ever session on the new street track in Nashville, while Pato O’Ward suffered an early shunt and Conor Daly brought the session to a premature end in the tyre wall.

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport Honda

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport Honda

Joe Skibinski

Sebastien Bourdais, Colton Herta, Alex Rossi and Graham Rahal were the first drivers to duck under the 1m20s barrier, with Jack Harvey soon joining them.

Rossi’s Andretti Autosport then went down to a 1m18.8551s, while Herta and Pato O’Ward were discussing bumps knocking the steering-wheel out of their hands and causing them blurred vision.

That didn’t stop the pair of them from vaulting Rossi in the times, Herta landing a 1m18.2899s, but then O’Ward’s Arrow McLaren SP clipped the inside wall at Turn 3 which spat him into the outside wall, busting the front suspension on both sides. Out came the red flag with 52 minutes of the 75-minute session remaining.

“I got caught out by that inside wall and it sent me off there,” said O’Ward. “The damage doesn't seem to be too bad. We'll be ready to go tomorrow, we'll see what we've got for qualifying."

Action resumed with just under 45 minutes remaining, and Scott McLaughlin swiftly slotted his #2 Penske into second spot, while Felix Rosenqvist rose to fourth in the second Arrow McLaren SP entry and then first with a time 0.3s clear of the opposition.

Then Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing’s points leader closed that deficit to 0.1762s with second fastest, Team Penske’s Will Power split them, and then Romain Grosjean hit the top spot with his Dale Coyne Racing with RWR. His lap of 1m17.9511s was a mere 0.0444s faster than Rosenqvist, and equated to an average of 96.984mph around this 2.17-mile track.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Joe Skibinski

Herta was the next driver to lead, with an impressive 1m17.6726s, some 0.28s faster than Grosjean, who then shaved that gap to 0.18s. With 20 minutes to go, Dixon who’d had a quiet session hitherto, appeared in sixth with his 15th lap – albeit 0.6s off the top – while McLaughlin and Power moved into second and third respectively.

Herta kept stroking out his lead, the first driver to duck under 1m17s – and by some margin. With under 10 minutes to go, he was almost 0.6s faster than team-mate Rossi who then slid down an escape road after going second fastest. Dixon also got under 1m17s to grab second ahead of Grosjean.

Then Conor Daly slid sideways into the tyres at Turn 9 with under five minutes to go and embedded the #20 Ed Carpenter Racing car deep enough in the tyre wall to end the session early.

That left Herta on top, 0.3778s ahead of Dixon with Grosjean a further 0.1652s adrift. Marcus Ericsson and Palou ensured three Ganassi cars in the top six, while Rosenqvist, Power, McLaughlin and Simon Pagenaud were the top four Chevrolet-powered drivers.

Local hero Newgarden was 12th in the fourth Penske car, while reigning and four-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves was 20th in his first road/street course IndyCar race of the year, about oen second off Meyer Shank Racing team-mate Jack Harvey.

Jimmie Johnson was 3.3s off the ultimate pace, but ahead of Max Chilton’s Carlin, Santino Ferrucci (Rahal Letterman Lanigan) and Cody Ware (third Coyne entry).

Dalton Kellett ran only an installation lap before the AJ Foyt Racing crew discovered an electrical gremlin in the #4 car.

Results

P Name FTime Diff Gap FL Laps FSpeed Engine Team
1 Colton Herta 1:16.5875 1:16.5875 0.000 26 27 98.711 Honda Andretti Autosport
2 Scott Dixon 1:16.9653 0.3778 0.3778 24 25 98.226 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
3 Romain Grosjean 1:17.1305 0.5430 0.1652 26 27 98.016 Honda Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing
4 Alexander Rossi 1:17.1742 0.5867 0.0437 22 24 97.960 Honda Andretti Autosport
5 Marcus Ericsson 1:17.2168 0.6293 0.0426 26 28 97.906 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
6 Alex Palou 1:17.2264 0.6389 0.0096 23 25 97.894 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
7 Felix Rosenqvist 1:17.2264 0.6389 0.0000 19 24 97.894 Chevy Arrow McLaren SP
8 Will Power 1:17.2436 0.6561 0.0172 28 30 97.872 Chevy Team Penske
9 Scott McLaughlin 1:17.4072 0.8197 0.1636 24 25 97.665 Chevy Team Penske
10 Simon Pagenaud 1:17.4535 0.8660 0.0463 22 23 97.607 Chevy Team Penske
11 Jack Harvey 1:17.4673 0.8798 0.0138 25 26 97.590 Honda Meyer Shank Racing
12 Josef Newgarden 1:17.6603 1.0728 0.1930 24 25 97.347 Chevy Team Penske
13 James Hinchcliffe 1:17.8570 1.2695 0.1967 21 22 97.101 Honda Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport
14 Graham Rahal 1:17.9825 1.3950 0.1255 26 26 96.945 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
15 Sebastien Bourdais 1:18.0334 1.4459 0.0509 25 28 96.882 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
16 Rinus VeeKay 1:18.1627 1.5752 0.1293 27 28 96.721 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
17 Takuma Sato 1:18.2167 1.6292 0.0540 25 26 96.655 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
18 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:18.2922 1.7047 0.0755 24 26 96.561 Honda Andretti Autosport
19 Ed Jones 1:18.3479 1.7604 0.0557 18 23 96.493 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan
20 Helio Castroneves 1:18.4276 1.8401 0.0797 24 29 96.395 Honda Meyer Shank Racing
21 Pato O'Ward 1:18.6224 2.0349 0.1948 6 7 96.156 Chevy Arrow McLaren SP
22 Conor Daly 1:18.8007 2.2132 0.1783 20 24 95.938 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
23 Jimmie Johnson 1:19.8877 3.3002 1.0870 22 29 94.633 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
24 Max Chilton 1:20.1985 3.6110 0.3108 19 23 94.266 Chevy Carlin
25 Santino Ferrucci 1:21.3815 4.7940 1.1830 19 22 92.896 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
26 Cody Ware 1:24.0268 7.4393 2.6453 18 22 89.971 Honda Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing
27 Dalton Kellett No Time --- --- -- --- --- Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises

 

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