Pagenaud leads the way in opening Elkhart Lake practice

Simon Pagenaud - Credit: Chris Jones / IndyCar

Championship leader Simon Pagenaud set the pace in the opening practice session on the Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to Road America.

The Team Penske driver set a time of 1:43.480 to set the pace as top level American single seater racing returns to the Elkhart Lake circuit for the first time since 2007.

Scott Dixon had set the pace up until Pagenaud’s session topping time, but the New Zealander was forced to settle for fourth after late quick laps from Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz and AJ Foyt Racing’s Jack Hawksworth saw the Colombian and Briton finish second and third respectively.

Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Tony Kanaan completed the top five, with Marco Andretti sixth for Andretti Autosport ahead of Alexander Rossi of Andretti Herta Autosport, while James Hinchcliffe was eighth for Schmidt Peterson Motorsport.

Graham Rahal was ninth for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing outfit, while the top ten was completed by Josef Newgarden of Ed Carpenter Racing, who will be evaluated at the end of the day to check whether he is fit enough to race this weekend after being injured in a high speed crash with Conor Daly at the Texas Motor Speedway two weeks ago.

Whereas Pagenaud set the pace, his Penske team-mates were all outside the top ten, with Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power and Helio Castroneves eleventh, twelfth and sixteenth respectively.

Road America Free Practice 1 Times

122Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske1:43.4804
226Carlos MunozCOLAndretti Autosport1:43.5560
341Jack HawksworthGBRAJ Foyt Enterprises1:43.6747
49Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing1:43.8849
510Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing1:44.1246
627Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport1:44.1296
798Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Herta Autosport1:44.2805
85James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:44.2812
915Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:44.3037
1021Josef NewgardenUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:44.4318
112Juan Pablo MontoyaCOLTeam Penske1:44.5035
1212Will PowerAUSTeam Penske1:44.5234
1328Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport1:44.5473
1420Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:44.6766
1511Sebastien BourdaisFRAKVSH Racing1:44.6940
163Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske1:44.8184
178Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi Racing1:44.9057
1814Takuma SatoJAPAJ Foyt Enterprises1:44.9381
197Mikhail AleshinRUSSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:45.0189
2083Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing1:45.3892
2119Gabby ChavesCOLDale Coyne Racing1:45.7856
2218Conor DalyUSADale Coyne Racing1:46.0191