Lundgaard stars as Palou tops tight Indianapolis practice

Alex Palou leads the IndyCar Series. Picture: Matt Fraver

IndyCar Series leader Alex Palou edged out Rinus VeeKay by a mere 0.0223s in the sole practice session at the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix.

Racing on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, the Spaniard clocked a session best 1:10.8839s on his 17th lap for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Less than one tenth of a second covered the top four with VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing) second, Pato O’Ward third for McLaren SP and 0.0428s off the pace, while outgoing Meyer Shank Racing driver Jack Harvey was fourth and only 0.0558s in arrears of the top time.

Team Penske duo Josef Newgarden and Will Power were fifth and sixth respectively with series debutant Christian Lundgaard a standout seventh for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

The Alpine Academy driver, who races for r ART Grand Prix in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, is making a one-off cameo in the series this weekend.

The Danish driver’s team-mate Graham Rahal was eighth while last weekend’s Nashville winner Marcus Ericsson was ninth for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top 10, ending the session four tenths off the pace.

New Zealand’s Scotts were 15th and 20th respectively, Dixon ending the session 0.6019s off his team-mate while McLaughlin was 0.8881s adrift of the lead.

Perhaps most surprising of all was Colton Herta, who finished the session down in 26th for Andretti Autosport.

Herta was the cause of a late red flag with seven minutes remaining in the session after an apparent clutch issue ground his car to a halt at pit exit.

The 21-year-old had been blisteringly quick in last weekend’s Music City Grand Prix but only completed 16 laps in practice at Indianapolis, his best time coming on his third lap.

Qualifying for the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix gets underway today at 09:00 AEST.

Results: Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix, Practice

Pos Num Name Time Diff Gap Engine Team
1 10 Alex Palou 1:10.8839 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
2 21 Rinus VeeKay 1:10.9062 0.0223 0.0223 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
3 5 Pato O’Ward 1:10.9267 0.0428 0.0205 Chevy Arrow McLaren SP
4 60 Jack Harvey 1:10.9397 0.0558 0.0130 Honda Meyer Shank Racing
5 2 Josef Newgarden 1:11.0850 0.2011 0.1453 Chevy Team Penske
6 12 Will Power 1:11.1113 0.2274 0.0263 Chevy Team Penske
7 45 Christian Lundgaard 1:11.1412 0.2573 0.0299 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
8 15 Graham Rahal 1:11.1553 0.2714 0.0141 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
9 8 Marcus Ericsson 1:11.2854 0.4015 0.1301 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
10 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:11.2972 0.4133 0.0118 Honda Andretti Autosport
11 27 Alexander Rossi 1:11.3067 0.4228 0.0095 Honda Andretti Autosport
12 22 Simon Pagenaud 1:11.3710 0.4871 0.0643 Chevy Team Penske
13 51 Romain Grosjean 1:11.3919 0.5080 0.0209 Honda Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing
14 20 Conor Daly 1:11.4393 0.5554 0.0474 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
15 9 Scott Dixon 1:11.4858 0.6019 0.0465 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
16 6 Helio Castroneves 1:11.5472 0.6633 0.0614 Honda Meyer Shank Racing
17 29 James Hinchcliffe 1:11.5860 0.7021 0.0388 Honda Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport
18 14 Sebastien Bourdais 1:11.6385 0.7546 0.0525 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
19 7 Felix Rosenqvist 1:11.7291 0.8452 0.0906 Chevy Arrow McLaren SP
20 3 Scott McLaughlin 1:11.7720 0.8881 0.0429 Chevy Team Penske
21 18 Ed Jones 1:11.7966 0.9127 0.0246 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan
22 75 RC Enerson 1:12.0191 1.1352 0.2225 Chevy Top Gun Racing
23 30 Takuma Sato 1:12.0270 1.1431 0.0079 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
24 59 Max Chilton 1:12.1745 1.2906 0.1475 Chevy Carlin
25 4 Dalton Kellett 1:12.2029 1.3190 0.0284 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
26 26 Colton Herta 1:12.2410 1.3571 0.0381 Honda Andretti Autosport
27 48 Jimmie Johnson 1:12.2995 1.4156 0.0585 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
28 52 Cody Ware 1:13.5020 2.6181 1.2025 Honda Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing

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