Newgarden paces opening Mid-Ohio practice

Jake Galstad/Motorsport Images

Newgarden paces opening Mid-Ohio practice

IndyCar

Newgarden paces opening Mid-Ohio practice

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Josef Newgarden fired the opening salvo for this weekend’s NTT IndyCar Series race at Mid-Ohio by topping the times in Friday’s sole practice session.

Newgarden had made the top spot his own 15 minutes into the session with a 1m08.2942s; he eventually whittled more than a second off that to finish the day at 1m07.2524s. Until relatively late in the running, that was around 0.9s clear of the field, but some late flyers from elsewhere eventually closed the gap.

Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward came closest to unseating the Team Penske, but still came up more than 0.2s short. Behind him, Jack Harvey gave Meyer Shank Racing an encouraging start to its home race by going third fastest, 0.07s down on O’Ward’s time, leaving Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi and Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal to round out the top five.

The field narrowly avoided having to deal with rain — that arrived moments after the checker — but the dry track was more than capable of delivering a few scares. The first came courtesy of Colton Herta, who ran wide at Thunder Valley and skidded off the track and onto the grass. He somehow avoided a catastrophic tankslapper and found his way back onto the black to continue on with nothing worse than some elevated heart rates on Andretti’s No. 26 pitwall to show for it.:

Moments later, Felix Rosenqvist — returning this week after being sidelined following his huge Detroit crash — over-rotated the No.7 AMSP Chevy at the exit of the first corner, caught the inside curb and spun across the track and stopped on the grass. The incident triggered a red flag, but the car was returned to the pitlane unscathed other than some destroyed Firestones.

Takuma Sato was less fortunate, and sustained some damage to his left-front after running off the track at the last corner with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Elsewhere, Rinus VeeKay marked his return from injury by going 18th fastest in ECR’s No. 21 Chevy, and four spots further back, Road to Indy veteran Ryan Norman kicked off his IndyCar debut weekend as part of the rotating line-up in Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 52 by finishing the day in 22nd.

RESULTS

UP NEXT: Practice 2, Saturday, 9:05 a.m. ET, Peacock

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