Newgarden fastest in opening practice session

Josef Newgarden is the fastest man in Toronto after FP1.

Newgarden fastest in opening practice session
Josef Newgarden, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport Honda
James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport Honda
Will Power, Penske Racing Chevrolet
Will Power, Penske Racing Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda
Juan Pablo Montoya, Penske Racing Chevrolet

TORONTO – In three starts on the 1.7-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit, Josef Newgarden has a best finish of 11th after starting 18th – also a high at the Verizon IndyCar Series venue.

He got off to a fast start in the initial practice session for the Honda Indy Toronto, leading the initial practice session with a lap of 1 minute, 0.2385 seconds (104.883 mph) in the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car.

A second 45-minute session is at 1:55 p.m. (ET), which will be streamed live on IndyCar.com in conjunction with real-time Timing & Scoring and the IMS Radio Network broadcast with Paul Page. Qualifications for Race 1, which features a standing start, are at 10 a.m. (ET) July 19, followed by the 85-lap race at 3 p.m. on NBCSN.

Newgarden is coming off a spirited run in the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB on July 12, when he charged to second following a late-race restart to tie his career-best finish.

"It's a strong start for us, but the name of the game is trying to figure out how to keep it that way," Newgarden said. "It's promising to start, but we have to keep it up."

Will Power, who has won at Toronto in 2007 and 2010, was .2112 of a second back in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario, was third in the 45-minute session (1:00.5728) in the No. 27 United Fiber & Data entry for Andretti Autosport.

Series championship points front-runner Helio Castroneves finished fourth in the practice (1:00.6363) in the No. 3 PPG Team Penske car, while rookie Carlos Munoz was fifth (1:00.6514) in the No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM car.

Hinchcliffe and Castroneves have struggled for big points results at Toronto in the past.

“I’m not superstitious, but I think I certainly come in here with just a little bit of tempered expectations,” said Hinchcliffe, who has one top-10 finish in four races. “There’s no reason to really, the car’s been running well on these types of tracks, so I’m probably more excited than ever this year in terms of getting out there, because there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be competitive based on what we saw at Houston and what we saw at Detroit.”

In 10 career starts at Toronto, Castroneves has picked up one pole (2000) and four top-10 finishes while leading a total of 29 laps at the venue. He won the 1997 Indy Lights race at Toronto.

“It's just a very tough track, much like all of the temporary street courses in the Verizon IndyCar Series,” he said. “I'm encouraged by the way we have run on those types of tracks this year, Houston especially. A lot of unusual things usually happen at Toronto and it's very hard to stay out of trouble there. With a little good fortune, we will be fine."

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