Rossi tops second Detroit practice

Phillip Abbott/Motorsport Images

Rossi tops second Detroit practice


Rossi tops second Detroit practice


The NTT IndyCar Series’ Saturday morning practice session stopped moments after it started when Kyle Kirkwood — Friday’s fastest driver — stuffed the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevy into the tire barriers while trying to pass David Malukas. It would foreshadow a messy morning as stoppages became the norm; a red flag with less than four minutes was required to get Kirkwood’s car extricated; both drivers were uninjured.

“They were really squishy and didn’t work on the first lap,” the Foyt driver said of his brakes. “We had a mechanical which wasn’t something we could fix on pit lane.”

Once the 45-minute session resumed, rapid-fire running saw Romain Grosjean settle at the top with a 1m16.3981s lap and soon after, Jimmie Johnson spun leaving the pits on new Firestone alternates with almost 26 minutes left in the session. Facing backwards at the crest of Turn 2, he was quickly sorted and sent on his way.

With the clock wound down to almost 20 minutes, Dalton Kellett became the second Foyt driver to hit the wall, but where Kirkwood nosed into the tires, Kellett hammered the Turn 13 exit wall leading onto the front straight and flattened the left side of his car.

“Yeah, that was a good one,” the uninjured Canadian said.

Rolling with 15 minutes remining, the majority of the 26-car field went straight to alternate tires to get a read ahead of qualifying. Another red was waved with 12 minutes to go for a spun and stalled Will Power.

Left with nine minutes to run, Alexander Rossi took the top spot with a 1m15.8101s before the session went red once again as the second-place runner Simon Pagenaud (+0.0702s) had his car stall. Around the same time, Grosjean hit the wall with the left side of his car and drove it into pit lane and climbed out of the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda.

Although the session would resume and give drivers time to complete one more lap, the order was set with Rossi’s No. 27 Andretti Honda leading Pagenaud’s No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden was third in the No. 2 Chevy (+0.1017s), MSR’s Helio Castroneves was fourth (+0.2311s) in the No. 06 Honda, Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports’ David Malukas fifth in the No. 18 Honda (+0.3079s) and Penske’s Scott McLaughlin closed the top six in the No. 3 Chevy (+0.4449s).

Elsewhere in the field, Felix Rosenqvist did a solid job to rebound from missing most of Friday after an early crash to run to seventh for Arrow McLaren SP. Andretti’s Devlin DeFrancesco impressed in eighth for Andretti and in ninth, Alex Palou was the first Chip Ganassi Racing driver, more than a half-second off of Rossi.

Santino Ferrucci was a strong 16th for Juncos Hollinger Racing despite sticking with Firestone’s slower primary tires. And Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s struggles continued as all three of its drivers, led by Christian Lundgaard, were 18th or slower.


UP NEXT: Qualifying, 12:30 p.m. ET