Rahal heads the pack in opening Detroit practice


Graham Rahal topped the opening session in Detroit - Credit: Bret Kelley / IndyCar

Graham Rahal was the pacesetter in the opening free practice session around the streets of Detroit on Friday, with the Verizon IndyCar Series coming to ‘Motor City’ just a week after their flagship Indianapolis 500.

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver hit the front with a lap of 1:15.3328 to lead Team Penske duo Helio Castroneves and Josef Newgarden, with the gap between Rahal and the pack 0.1562 seconds.

Alexander Rossi was fourth fastest for Andretti Herta Autosport, 0.3888 seconds off of Rahal’s pace, while Will Power was fifth for Penske ahead of Marco Andretti.

Scott Dixon was seventh fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing, but the New Zealander caused the only red flag of the session when he spun on track. He was able to avoid damage, which after the horrific crash he suffered during the Indy 500 on Sunday, he will be grateful for.

Dixon’s team-mate Tony Kanaan was the only other driver to set a time below 1:16s, finishing with a 1:15.9900s, while Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe completed the top ten.

Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato was down in twelfth for Andretti Autosport in his first time in the car since winning the legendary race last Sunday.

Esteban Gutierrez had his first practice session since being confirmed as Sebastien Bourdais’ replacement at Dale Coyne Racing, with the Mexican former Formula 1 driver ending twenty-first fastest, ahead only of team-mate Ed Jones.

Belle Isle Park Free Practice 1 Result

POSNO.DRIVERNATTEAMTIME
115Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:15.3328
23Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske1:15.4890
32Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske1:15.5384
498Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Herta Autosport1:15.7216
512Will PowerAUSTeam Penske1:15.8159
627Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport1:15.9159
79Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing1:15.9540
810Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing1:15.9900
928Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport1:16.0130
105James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:16.0354
111Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske1:16.1781
1226Takuma SatoJAPAndretti Autosport1:16.2165
137Mikhail AleshinRUSSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:16.3861
1421JR HildebrandUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:16.4302
1583Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing1:16.4507
1614Carlos MunozCOLAJ Foyt Enterprises1:16.6096
178Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi Racing1:16.7793
184Conor DalyUSAAJ Foyt Enterprises1:16.9432
1920Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:17.0866
2016Oriol ServiaESPRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:17.9734
2118Esteban GutierrezMEXDale Coyne Racing1:18.2289
2219Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne Racing1:18.9603