Josef Newgarden was quickest in Friday afternoon’s opening round of practice for the NTT IndyCar Series at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The 31-year-old Tennessee native throttled around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn natural terrain road course and put down a session-best lap of 1m11.4103s (112.824 mph) in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet.
Trailing in the runner-up spot was two-time defending race winner Colton Herta, who had the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda off the top mark by 0.4163s. Behind Herta were a pair of teammates as Romain Grosjean and Alexander Rossi came away third and fourth, respectively.
Rookie Callum Ilott handled another impressive showing behind the wheel of the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet and ended up fifth.
Simon Pagenaud was sixth, directly ahead of championship leader Will Power in seventh.
"Welcome back, #INDYCAR." -Corkscrew, probably.#FirestoneGP // @WeatherTechRcwy pic.twitter.com/pu8AMjn4Zq
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) September 9, 2022
The No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet of Pato O’Ward was eighth. Rookie David Malukas put the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports Honda in ninth. The final spot of the top 10 belonged to Marcus Ericsson.
Scott McLaughlin was 11th, followed by Felix Rosenqvist in 12th.
The only incident, which came roughly halfway through the session, was a red flag and came after Jimmie Johnson ended up in the Turn 6 tire barrier.
Up Next: The second practice session for the NTT IndyCar Series is set for Saturday at 1:15 p.m. ET, with live coverage on Peacock, IndyCar Live! and the IndyCar Radio Network.