Tuesday, May 17, 2022
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Herta Leads Opening IndyCar Practice at Barber Motorsports Park

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Colton Herta paced opening practice for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
Colton Herta led the way in opening practice for the NTT IndyCar Series at Barber Motorsports Park. Image courtesy of Chris Jones / Penske Entertainment

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Colton Herta led a straightforward opening practice for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

The 22-year-old California native logged 15 laps with a session-best at 1m06.5149s around the 17-turn, 2.3-mile natural terrain road course.

“Yeah, not bad,” said Herta, driver of the No. 26 Andrettti Autosport Honda. “Really happy with how the car was. Obviously, we were one of the lucky ones that got to test here so we kind of did a lot of stuff on that day to kind of help us prepare for this weekend. It showed. We came here, rolled off the truck, the car was really nice right away.”

Defending race winner and reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou finished second in the session, just 0.0508s behind the top time. Herta was one of three drivers from Andretti Autosport to occupy the top five, with teammates Alexander Rossi and Romain Grosjean ending third and fourth.

Team Penske, which remains undefeated through the opening three races of the 2022 IndyCar season, was represented in fifth after Scott McLaughlin put up a quick time in the final 10 minutes of the 45-minute session. He, along with teammate Will Power who ended up 16th, tied for the most laps logged in first practice with 22 laps each.

Six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, who has never won at Barber despite nine podiums in 11 starts, was sixth in the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Pato O’Ward put the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet in seventh, followed by rookie Callum Ilott of Juncos Hollinger Racing. Marcus Ericsson and Rinus VeeKay rounded out the rest of the top 10.

Buried deep in the running order was points leader Josef Newgarden, who ended up 18th and confessed the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet parked with 10 minutes left in the session with an apparent issue.

“A lot of people tested here a week or two ago, so we’re trying to play catch-up,” said Newgarden, a two-time IndyCar champion. “It was all right. I mean, it got cut short. We had a small issue there at the end with about 10 minutes to go, but we got enough information to just hit the ground running tomorrow.”

PositionCar No.DriverLap TimeDiff.Laps
126Colton Herta1:06.51415
210Alex Palou1:06.565-0.050817
327Alexander Rossi1:06.665-0.150814
428Romain Grosjean1:06704-0.189716
53Scott McLaughlin1:06.870-0.355622
69Scott Dixon1:06.925-0.410216
75Pato O'Ward1:06.983-0.468916
877Callum Ilott (R)1:07.086-0.571220
98Marcus Ericsson1:07.101-0.586317
1021Rinus Veekay1:07.115-0.600618
1145Jack Harvey1:07.184-0.669217
1206Helio Castroneves1:07.229-0.714414
137Felix Rosenqvist1:07.341-0.826717
1429Devlin DeFrancesco (R)1:07.381-0.866820
1530Christian Lundgaard (R)1:07.400-0.885521
1612Will Power1:07.413-0.898322
1715Graham Rahal1:07.445-0.930817
182Josef Newgarden1:07.550-1.035615
1920Conor Daly1:07.574-1.059817
2014Kyle Kirkwood (R)1:07.611-1.096117
2160Simon Pagenaud1:07.691-1.176717
2251Takuma Sato1:07.747-1.232417
2318David Malukas (R)1:07.968-1.453816
244Dalton Kellet1:08.428-1.913919
2548Jimmie Johnson1:08.463-1.948421
2611Tatiana Calderon (R)1:09.267-2.752821

Up Next: The second practice session of the weekend will take place at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, with live coverage on Peacock and the IndyCar Radio Network.

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