Newgarden leads first Laguna Seca practice
Saturday 18th September, 2021 - 9:36am
Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden has made a strong start to the Grand Prix of Monterey, topping Practice 1 at Laguna Seca.
The two-time IndyCar Series winner set the pace in Friday’s sole session, clocking a 1:11.7125s early on in proceedings.
“Overall we unloaded pretty good,” said Newgarden.
“I felt like that matched this morning. Small differences here or there, but for the most part globally it felt like the car was in the window. Just got to look after it.
“Obviously things can change quickly. In Portland we were pretty sorted out in practice one, we choked in qualifying and were pretty far off the pace.
“That’s the number one thing for us in the #2 car, have a consistent run all the way through. If we can do that, we’ll be in the fight.”
There was little to split Newgarden and his nearest rival Colton Herta of Andretti Autosport who was a mere 0.0802s adrift of the top time with a 1:11.7927s.
Series leader Alex Palou was third fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing on a 1:11.9750s, ending the session two tenths off the pace.
Having earlier in the day been involved in a crash with Dale Coyne Racing team-mate Romain Grosjean, Ed Jones didn’t let the incident spook him as he set the fourth fastest time.
Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport), Oliver Askew (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport), Jack Harvey (Meyer Shank Racing), Grosjean (Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing), and Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing) completed the top 10.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s other title contender Scott Dixon was 11th overall with fellow ‘Scott’ McLaughlin in 12th for Team Penske.
This weekend marks the first time that Pato O’Ward has raced in the IndyCar Series at Laguna Seca. He was 14th fastest for McLaren SP and seven tenths off the pace.
Will Power ended the session 15th while Team Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud was 20th.
The 45-minute session wasn’t without a small dose of drama. Meyer Shank Racing’s Helio Castroneves stuck his car in the Turn 1 gravel with 18 minutes to go, duly bringing out the red flag.
McLaughlin would have a drama of his own at the death, spinning his car at the famed Corkscrew with just a few seconds remaining in the session.
Free Practice 2 gets underway tomorrow at 03:45 (AEST) before Qualifying at 07:05 (AEST).
The 95-lap Grand Prix of Monterey takes place on Monday at 05:00 (AEST).
Results: IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Monterey, Practice 1
|1||2||Josef Newgarden||1:11.7125||Chevy||Team Penske|
|2||26||Colton Herta||1:11.7927||0.0802||0.0802||Honda||Andretti Autosport|
|3||10||Alex Palou||1:11.9750||0.2625||0.1823||Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|4||18||Ed Jones||1:12.0166||0.3041||0.0416||Honda||Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan|
|5||27||Alexander Rossi||1:12.0625||0.3500||0.0459||Honda||Andretti Autosport|
|6||45||Oliver Askew||1:12.1516||0.4391||0.0891||Honda||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing|
|7||29||James Hinchcliffe||1:12.1885||0.476||0.0369||Honda||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport|
|8||60||Jack Harvey||1:12.2289||0.5164||0.0404||Honda||Meyer Shank Racing|
|9||51||Romain Grosjean||1:12.3210||0.6085||0.0921||Honda||Dale Coyne Racing w/RWR|
|10||8||Marcus Ericsson||1:12.3564||0.6439||0.0354||Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|11||9||Scott Dixon||1:12.4415||0.7290||0.0851||Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|12||3||Scott McLaughlin||1:12.4462||0.7337||0.0047||Chevy||Team Penske|
|13||6||Helio Castroneves||1:12.4757||0.7632||0.0295||Honda||Meyer Shank Racing|
|14||5||Pato O’Ward||1:12.4982||0.7857||0.0225||Chevy||Arrow McLaren SP|
|15||12||Will Power||1:12.5701||0.8576||0.0719||Chevy||Team Penske|
|16||7||Felix Rosenqvist||1:12.7014||0.9889||0.1313||Chevy||Arrow McLaren SP|
|17||15||Graham Rahal||1:12.8486||1.1361||0.1472||Honda||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing|
|18||14||Sebastien Bourdais||1:12.9506||1.2381||0.1020||Chevy||AJ Foyt Enterprises|
|19||30||Takuma Sato||1:12.9923||1.2798||0.0417||Honda||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing|
|20||22||Simon Pagenaud||1:13.0318||1.3193||0.0395||Chevy||Team Penske|
|21||21||Rinus VeeKay||1:13.0717||1.3592||0.0399||Chevy||Ed Carpenter Racing|
|22||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||1:13.1024||1.3899||0.0307||Honda||Andretti Autosport|
|23||20||Conor Daly||1:13.1403||1.4278||0.0379||Chevy||Ed Carpenter Racing|
|24||48||Jimmie Johnson||1:13.2609||1.5484||0.1206||Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|26||4||Dalton Kellett||1:13.7256||2.0131||0.3276||Chevy||AJ Foyt Enterprises|
|27||77||Callum Ilott||1:13.7398||2.0273||0.0142||Chevy||Juncos Hollinger Racing|