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Practice report
IndyCar Road America

IndyCar Road America: Palou pips Herta by 0.07s in first practice

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou made a late surge in the final minutes to lead opening practice for Sunday’s IndyCar Series round at Road America.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Palou, a two-time and defending race winner at the 4.014-mile, 14-turn natural terrain road course, put down a flyer of 1m43.1709s on a set of softer alternate tires to take the top spot.

“Great start so far,” said Palou, the reigning IndyCar champion. “Doesn't mean anything, but it just means that the car is really good, easy to drive and it's great to be back here.

“Proper track for IndyCar. Atmosphere, the track is awesome. So yeah, looking forward to tomorrow.”

Colton Herta, who led the majority of the session on the harder primary compound, ended up second on the leaderboard, with his No. 26 Andretti Global Honda off the mark by 0.0797s.

AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci also made a push up the leaderboard in the final few minutes while on the alternates, finishing up third at 0.1909s behind Palou.

“Obviously we were pretty good here last year as a team and as a whole,” Ferrucci said, who finished 16th last year after qualifying 11th.

“I felt like we'd have a good car coming here. We made some improvements over our setup from what we had learned.”

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Six-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was sixth in the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, ahead of Team Penske’s duo of Will Power and Scott McLaughlin in seventh and eighth, respectively.

Pato O’Ward put the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet in ninth, with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Armstrong, fresh off his maiden podium last weekend in Detroit, ending up 10th.

Several drivers ventured off course, including Lundgaard, Power and Dixon.

The worst of them, though, was undoubtedly Romain Grosjean, who brought out the only red flag of the session with 58 minutes remaining.

He was coming to start his opening lap when he went into Turn 14 with too much pace and plunged head-on into the tire barrier, destroying the left front of his No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet in the process.

Grosjean said: “Things didn't go to plan, so we're going to look at data, analyze everything in the car. I think the front left was damaged, but the rest should be all right.”

The 38-year-old Swiss-born Frenchman was quick to appraise team-mate Nolan Siegel, who has been called at the last minute as a substitute while Agustin Canapino takes an abrupt leave of absence following the fallout from his controversial week.

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“I was just looking at Nolan and seeing that he was following Palou, so he’s learning from one of the best and that’s good for the team,” Grosjean quipped.

Siegel ended up 26th overall, logging 18 laps in total at 1.9318s behind Palou.

   
1
 - 
3
   
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 Spain A. Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 10 16

1'43.1709

  140.063
2 United States C. Herta Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian 26 13

+0.0797

1'43.2506

0.0797 139.955
3 United States S. Ferrucci A.J. Foyt Enterprises 14 16

+0.1909

1'43.3618

0.1112 139.804
4 United States J. Newgarden Team Penske 2 13

+0.2103

1'43.3812

0.0194 139.778
5 Denmark C. Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 45 19

+0.2275

1'43.3984

0.0172 139.755
6 New Zealand S. Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 9 15

+0.3631

1'43.5340

0.1356 139.572
7 Australia W. Power Team Penske 12 16

+0.4020

1'43.5729

0.0389 139.519
8 New Zealand S. McLaughlin Team Penske 3 17

+0.4506

1'43.6215

0.0486 139.454
9 Mexico P. O'Ward Arrow McLaren 5 14

+0.5106

1'43.6815

0.0600 139.373
10 New Zealand M. Armstrong Chip Ganassi Racing 11 18

+0.5248

1'43.6957

0.0142 139.354
11 Brazil P. Fittipaldi Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 30 29

+0.5425

1'43.7134

0.0177 139.330
12 Sweden F. Rosenqvist Meyer Shank Racing 60 13

+0.5709

1'43.7418

0.0284 139.292
13
C. Rasmussen Ed Carpenter Racing
20 25

+0.5839

1'43.7548

0.0130 139.275
14 United States K. Kirkwood Andretti Global 27 16

+0.6049

1'43.7758

0.0210 139.246
15 Netherlands R. van Kalmthout Ed Carpenter Racing 21 22

+0.6928

1'43.8637

0.0879 139.128
16 United States A. Rossi Arrow McLaren 7 15

+0.8178

1'43.9887

0.1250 138.961
17 United States G. Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 15 19

+0.8959

1'44.0668

0.0781 138.857
18 Italy L. Ghiotto Dale Coyne Racing 51 22

+0.9300

1'44.1009

0.0341 138.811
19 France T. Pourchaire Arrow McLaren 6 23

+1.0859

1'44.2568

0.1559 138.604
20 Sweden M. Ericsson Andretti Global 28 18

+1.1826

1'44.3535

0.0967 138.475
21 United States K. Simpson Chip Ganassi Racing 4 24

+1.2734

1'44.4443

0.0908 138.355
22 Brazil H. Castroneves Meyer Shank Racing 66 17

+1.3907

1'44.5616

0.1173 138.200
23 Sweden L. Lundqvist Chip Ganassi Racing 8 24

+1.4291

1'44.6000

0.0384 138.149
24
R. Robb A.J. Foyt Enterprises
41 18

+1.7701

1'44.9410

0.3410 137.700
25 United Kingdom J. Harvey Dale Coyne Racing 18 17

+1.7951

1'44.9660

0.0250 137.667
26
N. Siegel Juncos Hollinger Racing
78 18

+1.9318

1'45.1027

0.1367 137.488
27 France R. Grosjean Juncos Hollinger Racing 77 1

+15'05.6401

16'48.8110

15'03.7083 14.324

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