With a late flyer, Pato O’Ward went from 5th to 1st on the speeds charts for the morning practice session at Road America for the NTT INDYCAR Series. The Arrow McLaren SP driver went 1:45.2681-seconds in his No. 5 Dallara-Chevrolet to improve from 10th to 1st between Friday’s practice and Saturday morning’s.
O’Ward started on the front row in Barber and made the Fast 6 at Indy to make him a legitimate contender for the Fast 6 later today.
Practice 1 Recap Here
He will have to hold off the Penske, Ganassi and Andretti drivers though. A day after putting 8 cars in the top 8 of the speed charts, the trio combined to take the entire 9 spots of the top 10 behind O’Ward.
Will Power (1:45.3849-seconds) led the charge among them in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet. Power, was 4th fastest on Friday as the quickest Chevy driver and looks like a prime contender for a pole on Saturday afternoon. He has a top 4 finish in 6 of the 7 races run this year including a win last weekend. He was also on the podium here a year ago.
Alex Palou (1:45.4062-seconds) was the fastest Honda in 3rd in his No. 10 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing. He was 5th on Friday and is the defending race winner.
Alexander Rossi (1:45.5576-seconds) was fourth in his No. 27 Dallara-Honda while Josef Newgarden (1:45.5744-seconds) rounded out the top five in his No. 3 Dallara-Chevrolet.
For Rossi, he battled clutch problems all practice as he only turned 10 total laps. However, when he’s on track, he’s back and going to be a force to be reckoned with if he can qualify well. Kyle Kirkwood also battled issues and only turned 5 laps himself. The trio from AJ Foyt Racing made up the bottom 4 spots with Simona de Silvestro being 27th again among the 27 car field, a little more than 3 seconds behind the lead O’Ward.
Andretti Autosport went 4th (Rossi), 6th (Colton Herta), 8th (Romain Grosjean) and 18th (Devlin DeFrancesco). They were 1st (Rossi), 2nd (Herta), 11th (DeFrancesco) and 14th (Grosjean) on Friday. Chip Ganassi Racing went 3rd (Palou), 7th (Marcus Ericsson), 10th (Scott Dixon) and 23rd (Jimmie Johnson). They were 3rd (Ericsson), 5th (Palou), 7th (Dixon) and 23rd (Johnson) a day ago.
Penske was 2nd (Power), 5th (Newgarden) and 9th (Scott McLaughlin) this morning a day after being 4th (Power), 6th (McLaughlin) and 8th (Newgarden) on Friday.
AMSP gave the 4 teams a clean sweep of the top 11 via Felix Rosenqvist (1:46.0998-seconds) on Saturday.
Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing have combined to have won six of the last seven races here with Andretti taking the other. They all three combined to go 1-2-3-4 last year and have taken wins in 6 of the 7 races run in 2022 in general.
Rossi has 2 Fast 6 appearances (2018, 2019) at Road America, 2 top 10 starting spots all season but 1 was at Barber. 5 of his 7 qualifying attempts have seen him start 11th or worse with each of his last 5 Road America starts being 4th, 2nd, 11th, 10th and 9th respectively.
Herta has qualified 10th and 14th this year on natural road courses but has 3 front row starting spots in 4 tries at Road America though too. Romain Grosjean (14th on Friday) has qualified 8th and 10th on natural road courses this season.
For Penske, can they pick up their 1st natural road course win this year? They’re 3-for-3 on street courses and 1-for-2 on ovals but 0-for-2 on these types of tracks.
For Ganassi, Ericsson is wanting his 1st career pole, Dixon is hoping to finally make the 2nd round while Palou is eyeing back-to-back wins.
Honda vs. Chevy
Chevrolet went 4-for-4 to start the 2022 season off with. Then they went 0-for-2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. Last week the visited the victory circle again in Belle Isle. They’re 5-for-5 away from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but 0-for-2 on it.
Honda is 0-for-5 away from IMS. Can they pick up a win on Sunday?
They had the top 3 speeds in practice on Friday and 4 in the top 5. They also looked like this last weekend in Belle Isle but didn’t win the pole nor the race either.
They have won each of the last 4 races at Road America.
However, Chevrolet stormed back in going 1-2 on Saturday and having 3 cars in the top 5. Still, Honda had 5 of the top 8 too.