IndyCar Texas: Pagenaud leads Rosenqvist in opening practice

Meyer Shank Racing driver Simon Pagenaud topped the opening practice session at Texas Motor Speedway, leading Arrow McLaren SP's Felix Rosenqvist in the only on-track running prior to qualifying.

IndyCar Texas: Pagenaud leads Rosenqvist in opening practice

Pagenaud, who joined MSR from Team Penske during the off-season, lapped at 223.087mph to edge Rosenqvist's 222.878mph effort.

Fresh from being announced as part of the McLaren Formula 1 team's testing lineup, Andretti Autosport driver Colton Herta was third-fastest while oval racing rookie Callum Ilott was a remarkable fourth-quickest for Juncos-Holinger Racing with the aid of a tow.

There was a very early yellow when Indy Lights graduate David Malukas’ Dale Coyne Racing with RWR machine was slow on track and trickled into pitlane, but action swiftly resumed. However, 10 minutes into the session, IndyCar oval debutant Jimmie Johnson’s Chip Ganassi Racing came down onto the apron with his engine off, briefly causing a second yellow.

Pagenaud set the early pace around the 1.5-mile oval, with his 16th tour of 46 proving the fastest of the session.

Rosenqvist’s seventh lap of 41 would remain the closest Pagenaud would come to a challenge, although St. Petersburg winner Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske) and Rosenqvist’s team-mate Pato O’Ward were also swiftly into the 222mph bracket.

With 18 minutes remaining, Herta moved up to third, albeit with the aid of a tow.

Ganassi’s six-time IndyCar champion and five-time Texas winner Scott Dixon then also moved into the 222mph bracket to set the fifth-fastest time, before Ilott grabbed fourth spot on his 41st of 43 laps to usurp McLaughlin, Dixon and 2021 Texas winner O’Ward.

Callum Ilott, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet

Callum Ilott, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: IndyCar Series

Marcus Ericsson and reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou ensured there were three Ganassi cars in the top 10, the pair split by another Texas newcomer in Romain Grosjean (Andretti Autosport).

While rookie Kyle Kirkwood was 15th in the lead AJ Foyt Racing entry, just ahead of Pagenaud's team-mate Helio Castroneves, the other two Foyt cars were left to bring up the 27-car field.

Series returnee JR Hildebrand could only muster 219.007mph and trailed team-mate Dalton Kellet on 219.605s in 26th spot.

Qualifying begins at 1:00pm local time, before IndyCar's additional practice session organised to open up a second lane around the track that is hoped to improve passing opportunities.

IndyCar Texas practice times:

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Mph
1 France Simon Pagenaud United States Meyer Shank Racing 46 23.237   223.087
2 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist United States Arrow McLaren SP 41 23.259 0.021 222.878
3 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 39 23.269 0.031 222.786
4 United Kingdom Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Racing 43 23.324 0.086 222.257
5 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 42 23.326 0.089 222.234
6 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 46 23.328 0.091 222.215
7 Mexico Patricio O'Ward United States Arrow McLaren SP 34 23.329 0.092 222.204
8 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 42 23.355 0.117 221.964
9 France Romain Grosjean United States Andretti Autosport 56 23.367 0.129 221.848
10 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 46 23.378 0.140 221.744
11 Canada Devlin DeFrancesco United States Andretti Autosport 49 23.379 0.141 221.737
12 Japan Takuma Sato United States Dale Coyne Racing 33 23.392 0.155 221.609
13 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 45 23.399 0.161 221.547
14 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 16 23.415 0.177 221.397
15 United States Kyle Kirkwood United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 56 23.419 0.181 221.354
16 Brazil Helio Castroneves United States Meyer Shank Racing 51 23.433 0.195 221.225
17 Denmark Christian Lundgaard United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 48 23.437 0.199 221.188
18 United States David Malukas Dale Coyne Racing with HMD 45 23.439 0.201 221.166
19 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 46 23.445 0.208 221.105
20 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 32 23.476 0.238 220.818
21 United States Ed Carpenter United States Ed Carpenter Racing 28 23.513 0.275 220.469
22 United States Jimmie Johnson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 69 23.518 0.280 220.426
23 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 53 23.528 0.291 220.328
24 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 18 23.529 0.292 220.317
25 United States Conor Daly United States Ed Carpenter Racing 23 23.574 0.336 219.899
26 Canada Dalton Kellett United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 52 23.606 0.368 219.605
27 United States J.R. Hildebrand United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 26 23.670 0.432 219.007
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IndyCar adds practice session to work in extra lane at Texas
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