Team Penske’s Will Power topped the opening 45-minute practice session for Sunday’s Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.
Power (1m7.5987s) was well clear of his Chevy-powered teammate Josef Newgarden (+0.3154s), who lost a few minutes with a harmless spin and stall across the Turn 5 gravel trap. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon was third (+0.6640s) and his former teammate Max Chilton, now driving for Carlin Racing, was an impressive fourth (+0.6895s) as the new IndyCar team posted its strongest practice performance to date.
Ganassi’s Ed Jones, fresh off his first podium of the year at Long Beach, was fifth (+0.7099s) and Penske’s Simon Pagenaud completed the top six (+0.7135s) as the Captain’s team showed its early hand on the Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to the natural terrain road course.
While the Penske Chevy drivers were happy, Andretti Autosport’s quartet of Honda-powered drivers struggled to match the dominant display presented at Long Beach. Race winner Alexander Rossi joined Newgarden with a spin of his own in the final corner complex that left his car stalled in the grass, and of the four Andretti entries, rookie Zach Veach was the fastest in 10th position (+0.8229s).
Among the other notable drivers, St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais was ninth (+0.8144s) in his Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda, and leading rookie Robert Wickens was 13th (+0.9508s), five positions ahead of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate James Hinchcliffe.
UP NEXT: FP2, 3:50 p.m. ET.