Will Power fired a warning shot ahead of qualifying for this weekend’s NTT IndyCar Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway when he set the pace in a tight opening practice session on Friday afternoon.
Power first claimed the top spot with four minutes left on the clock with a 180.539mph in the No. 12 Team Penske Chevy, narrowly edging Alex Palou’s 180.208mph.
“Just worked on qualifying, like everyone else,” said Power. “It’s ridiculously close. A lot of people have good cars, but mine feels pretty good right now, so (I’m) looking forward to qualifying.”
Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist was the first driver to post a lap average above 180mph before eventually settling for third-fastest.
“Car felt good straight out of the box,” said the Swede, who finished the afternoon at 180.065mph. “Understeer in the beginning, and managed to dial that out. I did one clean qualifying run, and in the other one there was a bit of traffic, which is to be expected. We didn’t expect to get a lot of changes done, but I think we did.”
Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing split the final two spots in the top five, with Scott McLaughlin and Marcus Ericsson finishing fourth- and fifth-fastest respectively.
It was a constructive start to the weekend for pretty much the entire field, with green flags from start to finish allowing everyone plenty of opportunity to work through their pre-qualifying checklist. Dale Coyne Racing rookie David Malukas was the most industrious, reeling off 57 laps (some of which were completed with alarmingly wobbly-looking front wing). Even those who spent less time out on track made good use of their time — Andretti Autosport rookie Devlin DeFrancesco trailed the field in laps completed at 30, but spent a good part of the session in the top five and was 11th when the dust settled at the end.
The fact that the field had an hour of uninterrupted green flag time owed everything to Conor Daly’s reflexes. The No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy had two big moments in quick succession about a third of the way through the session, and it was only the flurry of fast hands in the cockpit that saved the car from a trip into the outside wall.
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) August 19, 2022
UP NEXT: Qualifying, 4:15pm ET