Rossi leads opening practice on Indy road course

Michael Levitt / Lumen

Rossi leads opening practice on Indy road course


Rossi leads opening practice on Indy road course


While Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou was the fastest driver for much of Friday’s 90-minute opening practice session for Saturday’s Gallagher Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, things changed once the field switched over to Firestone’s faster alternate tires. After that, Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi took charge with a 1m10.0919s lap in the No. 27 Honda to lead the 25 drivers in attendance.

Behind Rossi, an encouraging performance from Josef Newgarden — who was cleared to practice, only, and will seek clearance from IndyCar Medical leading into qualifying this afternoon — placed the No. 2 Team Penske Chevy in second, just 0.0202s behind.

Andretti’s Colton Herta was close in third with the No. 26 Honda, just 0.0588s shy of Rossi, and it was another Penske driver, Scott McLaughlin, next up in fourth with a 1m10.2065s lap in the No. 3 Chevy. Completing the top six, Palou rose to fifth on the alternates in the No. 10 Honda with a 1m10.2093s tour and Graham Rahal got off to a promising start with the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, which was 0.2029s shy of the leader.

The most notable aspect of the session involved the number of drivers who encountered big slides, trips into the gravel and runs across the grass as they fought for grip that was often lacking at the back of their cars.

UP NEXT: Qualifying, 1-2:15 p.m. ET