Monday, March 27, 2023

Palou Fastest in Opening Indy GP Practice


Alex Palou smiles on pit-road at Barber Motorsports Park.
First on-track activity at Indianapolis in May has defending NTT IndyCar Series champion atop the speed charts. Image courtesy of Joe Skibinski / Penske Entertainment

Alex Palou led first practice for the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 25-year-old Spaniard jumped to the top spot at the closing of the session, having completed 18 laps with a best single lap time of 1m10.455s around the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course.

Callum Ilott looked sporty for a second race weekend, leading before Palou took over with the fastest lap and ending up second just 0.0038s behind. Much of the session was by led the most consistent driver of 2022, Will Power as he trailed the Chip Ganassi Racing pilot by 0.0722s in third.

The session was coming to a close, with less than two minutes left the red flag was displayed for a spun car. Helio Castroneves was sitting at the entrance of pit-lane with his No. 06 Meyer Shank Racing Honda placed backwards.

IndyCar gave the teams that extra minute to get out on the track. Multiple drivers took the opportunity including Palou, clocking the fastest lap on fresh tires.

During the install lap just as the opening practice started, Scott Dixon had light smoke coming from the back of his car. The No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda had a new exhaust system fitted, with the issue coming from the resin coating and ultimately being a non-factor.

Devlin DeFrancesco headed into Turn 1 carrying too much speed early in practice, locking up and flat spotting the right front tire. Both front tires had smoke appear upon braking, but being a rookie has its perks, DeFrancesco had an extra set of rubber in the pits.

Andretti Autosport teammate, Alexander Rossi was putting together a solid lap mid-way through the session. He had a brief moment heading off Turn 10 and overdrove the corner, lifting the right side tires off the ground.

PositionCar No.DriverLap TimeDiff.Laps
110Alex Palou1:10.455518
277Callum Ilott1:10.4593-0.003819
312Will Power1:10.5277-0.072217
415Graham Rahal1:10.5277-0.157016
57Felix Rosenqvist1:10.6125-0.255315
68Marcus Ericsson1:10.7108-0.256818
760Simon Pagenaud1:10.7123-0.290413
845Jack Harvey1:10.7459-0.326215
906Helio Castroneves1:10.7911-0.335613
1026Colton Herta1:10.8352-0.379715
115Pato O'Ward1:10.8584-0.402912
1228Romain Grosjean1:10.8597-0.404217
139Scott Dixon1:10.8632-0.407718
1430Christian Lundgaard (R)1:10.8853-0.429817
1527Alexander Rossi1:10.8906-0.435117
162Josef Newgarden1:10.9343-0.478817
173Scott McLaughlin1:10.9543-0.498815
1818David Malukas (R)1:10.9703-0.514820
1920Conor Daly1:11.0008-0.545315
2029Devlin DeFrancesco (R)1:11.0064-0.550918
2121Rinus VeeKay1:11.0720-0.616513
2251Takuma Sato1:11.1887-0.733215
2314Kyle Kirkwood (R)1:11.5867-1.131216
2448Jimmie Johnson1:11.6603-1.204822
256Juan Pablo Montoya1:12.0074-1.551914
264Dalton Kellett1:12.2094-1.753918
2711Tatiana Calderon (R)1:12.4361-1.980611
Matt Narváez
Matt Narváez
Matthew is a NASCAR contributor apart of the team. A fan of racing since 2011, he has had passion for sports journalism since 2015 and is a current Mass Communications student at the University of South Florida.

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