Rinus VeeKay led all but two minutes of the opening practice session for the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis, holding a scant 0.0019s over Josef Newgarden…until Alexander Rossi shot to the top with a lap of 1m09.8784s.
As most of the field installed fresh tires in the waning moments of the 45-minute session, Rossi’s No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda moved to P1 as Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey took P2 in the No. 60 Honda (+0.0862s). Rounding out a tight top six were VeeKay in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy (+0.1840s), Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden in the No. 2 Chevy (+0.1859s), Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing’s Romain Grosjean in the No. 51 Honda (+0.2803s) and Andretti’s Colton Herta in the No. 26 Honda (+0.3466s).
“It’s Practice 1, so there’s not too much to say yet,” said Rossi, IndyCar’s king of pragmatism. “Looking forward to Practice 2 and qualifying today.”
Sebastien Bourdais was the cause of the first red flag while attempting to get up to speed and turn his first flying laps. Coming 27 minutes in, the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevy rolled to a stop before re-entering the oval near the short chute between Turns 1 and 2. Quickly removed with a tow back to the pits, the session resumed with 23 minutes left in the session as the No. 14 sat idle and fell to the bottom of the speed chart.
With a limited number of tires to use for the event, the standard practice of sitting and waiting for the opening half of the session to pass was on display. Between eight and 10 drivers ventured out to turn fast laps during the first 20 minutes or so, with VeeKay setting the mark for others to beat.
As the rest of the field ventured out to find speed, the clock wound down and fans saw a number of drivers lock brakes and drive across grassy runoff areas as they pushed hard on fresh tires. Despite the offtrack visits, no full-course yellow or red flags were required.
Fastest Driver: Alexander Rossi, 1m09.8784s
Slowest Driver: Sebastien Bourdais, 1m30.8667s
Most Laps Turned: 22, Jimmie Johnson
• Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou missed the session with a water leak in the No. 10 Honda.
• CGR was behind the curve in FP1 with Marcus Ericsson (P15) and Scott Dixon (P16) in unexpected territory.
• If CGR was searching for answers, the most recent winning team at Arrow McLaren SP were further adrift with Pato O’Ward (P18), Felix Rosenqvist (P20), and Juan Pablo Montoya (P21) at the wrong end of the list.
• Nice job by Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin, who went P7 at the track where he was meant to make his IndyCar debut in 2020 before COVID intervened.
• The Foyt team completed a total of seven laps with Charlie Kimball accounting for four and Bourdais delivering three.
UP NEXT: Practice 2, 1 p.m. ET, on Peacock