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.
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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.”
|Position||Car No.||Driver||Lap Time||Diff.||Laps|
|8||77||Callum Ilott (R)||1:07.086||-0.5712||20|
|14||29||Devlin DeFrancesco (R)||1:07.381||-0.8668||20|
|15||30||Christian Lundgaard (R)||1:07.400||-0.8855||21|
|20||14||Kyle Kirkwood (R)||1:07.611||-1.0961||17|
|23||18||David Malukas (R)||1:07.968||-1.4538||16|
|26||11||Tatiana Calderon (R)||1:09.267||-2.7528||21|
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.