Josef Newgarden led opening practice for this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
The 31-year-old Tennessee native comes in as the defending race winner of the event, and picked up right where he left off after pushing the pace with a flying lap at 1m07.0549s (121.226 mph) around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course.
Trailing Newgarden’s No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet was reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou, with his No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 0.2061s off the top mark in the runner-up spot.
Felix Rosenqvist established the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet in third, 0.266 behind Newgarden.
A pair of Hondas cleaned up behind with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson and Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta claiming fourth and fifth, respectively.
Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi, rookie David Malukas, Scott Dixon and Scott McLaughlin rounded out the rest of the top 10.
The hardest part of the track strikes again. This time for @RGrosjean.
The green flag stays out in practice 1.
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) July 1, 2022
The only incident in the session came from two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato, who brought out the red flag after going off in Turn 1 roughly 35 minutes into the session. As a result, he was docked five-minute time penalty from race officials for causing a red flag. Sato ended up 15th.
Other notables include Simona De Silvestro and Paretta Autosport, who were making just their second (consecutive) appearance this season. De Silvestro managed to pound the pavement for 33 laps in the No. 16 Paretta Autosports Chevrolet entry, and ended up 25th out of 27, ahead of Tatiana Calderon and Jimmie Johnson.
Up Next: Second practice will begin early Saturday morning as car will hit the track at 9:30 a.m. ET, with live coverage on Peacock and the IndyCar Radio Network.