Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Bourdais leads incident-filled first practice
Sebastien Bourdais put his Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan entry on top of the times at Mid-Ohio in opening practice as a red flag brought FP1 to a slightly premature conclusion.
Will Power spun in the closing minute as he had to swerve off line to avoid his Team Penske-Chevrolet teammate Simon Pagenaud who was driving very slow at Turn 9, the blind-crested right-hander.
Power let his broadside and stalled car roll backward to get as far off the racing line as possible, but Tony Kanaan’s AJ Foyt Racing-Chevy was rammed off course by an unsighted Charlie Kimball in the #23 Carlin-Chevy, and lost his front wing. Meanwhile Kanaan had to be bump-started.
This followed on from two more incidents, that saw Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Robert Wickens stopping on track with an engine failure exiting Turn 4, after he'd completed just six laps, and Matheus Leist also brought out a red flag by running off course in the second Foyt machine.
Penske’s defending race-winner Josef Newgarden finished second, 0.34sec off Bourdais’ top time of 65.5784sec – 123.955mph around the 2.258-mile course.
Five-time Mid-Ohio winner Scott Dixon was third fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda, with teammate Ed Jones in sixth. Between them were Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato and Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot.
Ryan Hunter-Reay was top of the Andretti Autosport contingent in seventh, with teammates Alexander Rossi, Marco Andretti and Zach Veach in 10th, 12th and 15th.
James Hinchcliffe was eighth for SPM ahead of local hero Graham Rahal (RLLR).
Pietro Fittipaldi, who is making his IndyCar return this weekend after his leg-breaking sportscar shunt at Spa in May, was 17th, 1.5sec behind Coyne teammate Bourdais. He is having his brake master-cylinder changed for FP2 to make the brake pedal more sensitive, in order to help ease his recovering left leg.
Conor Daly, preparing for his second start with the Harding Racing team in place of Gabby Chaves, was 24th and last.
Second practice begins at 2.35pm local (Eastern) time.
Mid-Ohio, IndyCar first practice
How an unloved device created "the greatest motor race"
Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Hunter-Reay leads Power in FP2