The NTT IndyCar Series made an hour of practice available to teams prior to Saturday’s qualifying session and as fans have seen for many years, most drivers elected to stay in the garage and wait for showtime.
Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey was fastest with a lap of 230.425mph in the No. 60 Honda as nine drivers took part in the cool morning run.
“Just wanted to reset before qualifying,” Harvey said. “I think if we put together a total best effort, then maybe we can be right on the edge of the Fast Nine.”
Harvey was followed by two more Honda-powered drivers with Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s defending race winner Takuma Sato (230.312mph) and Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay (230.196mph).
“I think it’s important,” Sato said of taking part in the session. “We believe this way you can practice and optimize for the afternoon.”
Best among the Chevy brigade was Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin in P4 (229.875mph) as all four of Penske’s drivers searched for missing speed.
AS IT HAPPENED
Andretti’s Ryan Hunter-Reay was one of four drivers to get rolling at 9:30 a.m. ET, posting a best lap of 230.196mph, and he was followed by Sato who improved the fastest lap to 230.312mph. Behind them, Marco Andretti, with a fresh engine installed over his shoulders, was P3 at 229.660mph.
Penske’s Josef Newgarden eclipsed Andretti with his first qualifying simulation, taking P3 with a best of 229.744mph. Teammate McLaughlin was next to claim P3, hitting 229.875mph.
At 10:05 a.m., Harvey claimed P1 with a lap of 230.425mph. Behind him, Penske’s Will Power was completing a qualifying simulation of his own, with a 229.649mph as his best, good enough for P7 of the seven drivers who’ve posted laps.
Penske’s Simon Pagenaud was last among his quartet to join in, running P5 with a 229.855mph, but needing to cut one run short to have the right-rear wheel ramp bodywork attached. A.J. Foyt Racing’s Charlie Kimball was the only driver to appear from their stable, going P9 and last with a 228.584mph.
If there was one surprise, it was in how many teams lacking significant speed elected to stay in their garages and hope their overnight chassis setup changes will deliver the goods.
UP NEXT: Qualifying, 12-5:50 p.m. ET