It was a Penske perfect Saturday morning from the Pacific Northwest. One that saw them sweep the top 3 spots on the speed chart in the 45-minute long session.
Current NTT INDYCAR Series points leader Will Power was P1 with a time of 58.3946-seconds in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet. He was 10th quickest on Friday afternoon. 2nd in points is his teammate Josef Newgarden. The 31-year old driver was 2nd quickest in the second session too with a time of 58.4083-seconds in his No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet. Scott McLaughlin was P3 in his No. 3 Dallara-Chevrolet (58.4910-seconds).
Colton Herta (58.7201-seconds) was P4 in his No. 26 Dallara-Honda while the Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing duo of Christian Lundgaard (58.7463-seconds) and Graham Rahal (58.7479-seconds) rounded out the top 6 in the incident free practice.
It’s a strong start of the weekend for rookies with David Maulkas being 2nd on Friday and Lundgaard 5th on Saturday. Callum Ilott was 14th yesterday but 9th as the fastest non Penske Chevrolet in session No. 2.
Chip Ganassi Racing still has some work to do. Scott Dixon was 7th on Saturday but 11th on Friday. Alex Palou was 9th on Friday and chimed in 13th on Saturday. Marcus Ericsson was 16th and 15th respectively in the two sessions himself. Jimmie Johnson was 24th quick in each practice.
With Penske’s pace in having 2 of the top 3 speeds on Friday and the entire top 3 on Saturday, it goes to show that the test here last week greatly impacted their improved pace at Portland. They chose to test at Portland over Laguna Seca because they felt like they were worst on this 1.964-mile track over Monterey in 2021.
Ganassi tested here last year and not only started 1st and 3rd, but put 2 cars on the podium too. They in turn elected to test at Laguna Seca earlier this week.
Andretti Autosport tested at Portland 8 days ago too and went 4th by Herta on Saturday and 4th by Rossi on Friday. Herta was also 5th on Friday as well.