IndyCar title contender Josef Newgarden set the pace in free practice 1 at the season finale at Laguna Seca by more than four-tenths of a second.
The Penske Team driver set a 1: 11.4103 in the 75 minutes on Friday afternoon, while the next best was Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian’s Colton Herta in 1: 11.8266.
Followed by two other Andretti Autosport drivers, Romain Grosjean and Alexander Rossi, while the second in contention for the title is Will Power of Penske, series leader, seventh overall with 1: 11.9858.
Among other noteworthy things, Jimmie Johnson (Chip Ganassi Racing) had a mid-session prang while Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske) had a wild and rough moment in the closing minutes of the proceedings.
In the early stages, Devlin DeFrancesco (Andretti Autosport) was the fastest of the rookies as they raced on the blacks, with a 1: 12.7385 in the 26th minute.
The next to move the benchmark was Newgarden with a 1: 12.3512 at the start of his first run, just before teammate Power scored a 1: 12.3497.
Scott McLaughlin scored a one-two-three Penske to take the lead with a 1: 12.2219 before the end of his first heat, although he was quickly ruined when Ganassi’s Alex Palou moved up to second place with 1: 12.3102 and then to the McLaren SP Pato O’Ward split those two at 1: 12.2529.
A red flag was called in the 48th minute when Johnson escaped and hit the tire wall at Turn 6 in Entrance No. 48 by Ganassi, before the proceedings resumed with 20:56 left on the clock.
This marked the start of the switch to red tires, with Simon Pagenaud (Meyer Shank Racing) moving the scorer to 1: 11.9821 and David Malukas (Dale Coyne Racing w / HMD Motorsports) taking second place with 1: 12.0418.
With less than a dozen minutes to go, Power, who had to serve a drive-through for speeding in the pit lane, moved up to second place with 1: 11.9858.
In a flash, Callum Ilott (Juncos Hollinger Racing) went fastest in 1: 11.9490, then Rossi in 1: 11.9034, then Herta in 1: 11.8266, then Newgarden in 1: 11.4103.
The order would then be established, meaning that Newgarden prevailed over Herta, Grosjean in 1: 11.8697, Rossi, Ilott, Pagenaud, Power, O’Ward and Malukas, with another of the title contenders Marcus Ericsson of Ganassi who completed the top 10 in 1: 12.0803s.
McLaughlin finished 11th with 1: 12.8077 in a session that finished spraying through gravel at the exit of Turn 10.
He was not alone, with the other four mathematical possibilities of lifting the Astor Cup this weekend by going completely or partially out during free practice 1, while McLaughlin and Power himself, as well as Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, rookie Christian Lundgaard, have shortened the corkscrew once each.
Scott Dixon of Ganassi, who is second in the series with Newgarden 20 points behind Power, finished 17th with 1: 12.3911.
Practice 2 begins Saturday at 1:15 pm ET / Sunday at 03:15 AEST, followed by qualifying Saturday at 5:05 pm ET / 07:05 AEST, with both sessions live and ad-free on Stan Sport.
Results: Practice 1
|Pos||num||Driver||C / E / T||Fastest lap||Divide 1 ° / prev||Tour|
|1||2||Josef Newgarden||D / C / F||1: 11.4103||14/18|
|2||26||Colton Herta||G / H / F||1: 11.8266||0.4163 / 0.4163||16/12|
|3||28||Romain Grosjean||G / H / F||1: 11.8697||0.4594 / 0.0431||15/18|
|4||27||Alessandro Rossi||G / H / F||1: 11.9034||0.4931 / 0.0337||17/20|
|5||77||Callum Ilott||D / C / F||1: 11.9490||0.5387 / 0.0456||17/13|
|6||60||Simone Pagenaud||G / H / F||1: 11.9821||0.5718 / 0.0331||19/10|
|7||12||Will||D / C / F||1: 11.9858||0.5755 / 0.0037||21/14|
|8||5||Pato O’Ward||D / C / F||1: 12.0333||0.6230 / 0.0475||9/16|
|9||18||David Maluka||G / H / F||1: 12.0418||0.6315 / 0.0085||16/22|
|10||8||Marco Ericsson||G / H / F||1: 12.0803||0.6700 / 0.0385||15/10|
|11||3||Scott McLaughlin||D / C / F||1: 12.0877||0.6774 / 0.0074||15/10|
|12||7||Felix Rosenqvist||D / C / F||1: 12.1036||0.6933 / 0.0159||8/14|
|13||29||Devlin De Francesco||G / H / F||1: 12.2135||0.8032 / 0.1099||22/26|
|14||10||Alex Palù||G / H / F||1: 12.3102||0.8999 / 0.0967||19/6|
|15||30||Christian Lundgaard||G / H / F||1: 12.3193||0.9090 / 0.0091||17/20|
|16||06||Elio Castroneves||G / H / F||1: 12.3840||0.9737 / 0.0647||22/13|
|17||9||Scott Dixon||G / H / F||1: 12.3911||0.9808 / 0.0071||16/12|
|18||51||Takuma Sato||G / H / F||1: 12.4401||1.0298 / 0.0490||17/19|
|19||45||Jack Harvey||G / H / F||1: 12.9774||1.5671 / 0.5373||13/15|
|20||15||Graham Rahal||G / H / F||1: 13.0487||1.6384 / 0.0713||13/16|
|21||21||Rinus Vee Kay||D / C / F||1: 13.1004||1.6901 / 0.0517||19/13|
|22||20||Conor Daly||D / C / F||1: 13.1450||1.7347 / 0.0446||15/19|
|23||14||Kyle Kirkwood||D / C / F||1: 13.2761||1.8658 / 0.1311||20/28|
|24||4||Dalton Kellett||D / C / F||1: 13.6331||2.2228 / 0.3570||23/27|
|25||48||Jimmie Johnson||G / H / F||1: 13.9251||2.5148 / 0.2920||18/20|
|26||16||Simona De Silvestro||D / C / F||1: 14.0544||2.6441 / 0.1293||25/27|
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