Josef Newgarden was quickest in the opening day of the Verizon IndyCar Series test around the Phoenix International Raceway, with the new Team Penske recruit the only driver to end the day in the 190mph bracket.
Marco Andretti, who endured a tough 2016, was quickest in the second session held under the lights at the one-mile oval for his father’s Andretti Autosport team, in conditions that will be more reflective to that should be seen when the championship returns to the circuit at the end of April to race.
For much of the opening three-hour session, Sebastien Bourdais led the way on his return to Dale Coyne Racing, with his rookie team-mate Ed Jones not far behind, but they ended up falling down the order in the final twenty minutes as drivers bolted on new tyres and went faster.
Newgarden took his #2 Penske machine to the top with a best lap of 190.129mph, with his former team boss Ed Carpenter second fastest in his #20 Ed Carpenter Racing machine, while Will Power, 2016 series runner-up was third fastest in the #12 Penske.
On his return to a full-time ride in IndyCar, JR Hildebrand finished the opening session fourth quickest in the #21 Ed Carpenter Racing entry, while 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi placed fifth in the #98 Andretti-Herta Autosport machine ahead of Andretti.
Under the lights, Andretti hit the top with a best lap of 189.122mph to finish ahead of Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, while Takuma Sato ended the session third in his first official outing for Andretti Autosport following his move from AJ Foyt Racing.
Multiple series champion Scott Dixon was the best placed of the Chip Ganassi Racing contingent in fourth, while Bourdais ended the session fifth ahead of Charlie Kimball.