INDIANAPOLIS – Baby girl was found up front on Friday morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In a rare 90 minute single practice session of the weekend, Alexander Rossi took his No. 27 Dallara-Honda to the top of the speed charts with a lap of 1:10.0919-seconds. Rossi was quickest in 2 of the 3 segments which is a vast improvement from his time here in May.
The Andretti Autosport driver was 15th and 17th respectively in the two Friday sessions a couple of months ago. He even qualified 16th.
However, the speed was shown on Friday and he’s eyeing his first Fast 6 appearance here since the Harvest Grand Prix race weekend to where he qualified 3rd for Race 2 that year.
Josef Newgarden was P2 in his No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet in setting a time of 1:10.1121-seconds. The Team Penske driver was cleared on Thursday to practice and will be revaluated here in the moments after. If cleared, he can qualify in 2 hours.
Newgarden completed 27 laps around the 2.439-mile track in the 90 minute session. He qualified 2nd for both races last weekend and was 3rd here in qualifying this May. He’s actually qualified in the top 3 in 3 of the last 5 tries on the road course including 2 of the 3 being on the outside of the front row.
The May winner, Colton Herta, was P3 (1:10.1507-seconds) in his No. 26 Honda. Herta was also 3rd in the 2nd practice session in May and has 6 top 8 starting spots in 7 tries here. 5 of the 6 landed him in the top 2 Rows.
Scott McLaughlin (1:10.2065-seconds) was fourth in his No. 3 Dallara-Chevrolet while Alex Palou (1:10.2093-seconds) rounded out the top five in the incident free session in his No. 10 Dallara-Honda.
RLL Cars Strong
RLL had a great weekend in Toronto. They looked good again on Friday in being P6, P8 and P14. Graham Rahal was sixth (1:10.2948-seconds) in his No. 15 Dallara-Honda. Rahal was 4th and 15th in practice back in May and has 10 top 10 finishes in his last 11 starts here. The second generation driver also has 3 top 10 finishes in his last 5 starts on the season at that.
Rookie Christian Lundgaard was 8th in his No. 30 Dallara-Honda. This is the weekend he made his INDYCAR debut last year to where he qualified 4th. He also qualified 8th here in May and finished 9th.
Jack Harvey was 14th in his No. 45 Dallara-Honda. He has 7 top 10 starts here in as many tries including 4 of which in the Fast 6.
Championship Drivers Playing From Behind
Points leader Marcus Ericsson was 11th in the 1st practice. 2nd is points is Will Power. He was only 17th. Scott Dixon is in a tie for 3rd with Josef Newgarden. He was 15th.
Newgarden though was 2nd.
Pato O’Ward was a disappointing 20th to give us 4 of the top 5 in points entering the weekend being 11th or worse in Practice 1.
Ericsson qualified 18th here in May but finished 4th for his 5th top 10 in his last 6 starts. He’s qualified 14th, 15th, 16th, 15th, 11th and 18th in his last 6 tries here. He’s started 12th or worse in 3 of his last 4 starts on the season too.
Power’s lack of pace was surprising. He won the pole here in May as he has 6 poles in general on this road course. He also scored a pole in both races at Iowa. However, 6 of his previous 7 starts prior to Iowa he qualified 11th or worse including 6 of the 7 being 15th or further back at that.
O’Ward won the pole here last year and was on the pole the last time out on a natural road course in Mid-Ohio. He also qualified 5th in May, so to be 20th in session 1 is puzzling.
That could open the door to Newgarden now.
Honda vs. Chevy
Honda has 3 wins on the 2022 season. 2 of which came right here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway including on the road course in May. However, Chevy is usually the team to beat on this track though. Honda is looking like flipping the script for a road course sweep.
They had 2 of the top 3 practice speeds and 4 of the top 6 in general.