ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — Josef Newgarden picked up where he left off on Friday. The two-time defending Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete turned in a lap of 1:00.0622-seconds in his No. 2 Chevrolet which proved to be quickest among the 24 drivers in the Saturday morning NTT IndyCar Series practice session.
He went 1:00.8029-seconds on Friday afternoon but that session was run exclusively on the Firestone Primary tires. On Saturday, they were allowed to use both the Primary Blacks as well as the faster alternate Reds which is why the bump in the speed department.
It leaves us wonder if the track record will get broken for a second straight week. Jordan King’s lap of 1:00.0476-seconds set back in 2018 is certainly in jeopardy. Newgarden was just .2 seconds off that on Saturday morning.
Alexander Rossi was P2 with a time of 1:00.1749-seconds in his No. 27 Honda. Rossi, was fourth fastest on Friday. Jack Harvey (1:00.2192-seconds) was third while Colton Herta (1:00.2216-seconds) was fourth giving Andretti Autosport or their alliances 3 cars in the top four.
Herta, like Rossi, was also in the top five of the speed charts on Friday chiming in third in that 45 minute session.
Right now, you can almost Sharpie Newgarden, Rossi and Herta into the Fast Six for later this afternoon.
Marcus Ericsson (1:00.2219-seconds) rounded out the top five while Simon Pagenaud went from fifth on Friday to sixth on Saturday (1:00.2735-seconds).
Team Penske has won 5 of the last 7 years here and after putting 3 cars in the top five on Friday and all four in the top 8, they put 3 of their 4 cars in the top 7 on Saturday.
We saw 4 different teams in the top 5 of the speed charts with just 2 tenth of a second separating 1st to 8th.