Ryan Hunter-Reay set the pace during Friday afternoon’s IndyCar practice at Mid-Ohio in an ultra-competitive session that saw the first 16 drivers within a second on the 2.258-mile road course.
Driving Andretti Autosport’s Honda, Hunter-Reay turned a fastest lap of 1m05.1950s around the twisting, 13-turn circuit, with everyone’s best laps being turned on the red optional Firestone tires.
Will Power spun off course but came back 10 minutes later to post the second-fastest lap of 1m05.3371s in his Team Penske Chevy, and Graham Rahal was third-best at 1m05.4141s in his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda.
Spencer Pigot continued to impress in Ed Carpenter Racing’s No.21 Chevy with a lap of 1m05.4312s, while Alexander Rossi rounded out the top five at 1m05.4526s for Andretti.
Sebastien Bourdais, who posted the fastest time in the morning session, wound up 14th in the afternoon in the No.18 DCR Honda. Elsewhere, Zach Veach and Josef Newgarden brought out brief red flags with harmless early-session spins and went on to finish the afternoon in P12 and P9 respectively, while Carlin’s Charlie Kimball ended up 23rd on the timing sheets after being forced to sit out the last 15 minutes of the session for contact in opening practice.
Based on today’s times, Simon Pagenaud’s track record of 1m03.8700s (set in 2016) would appear to be safe with the reduced downforce in the new aero kits.
NEXT UP: Final practice at 10 a.m. ET Saturday with qualifying at 1:35 p.m.