Newgarden leads first oval practice of 2017 in Phoenix

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Josef Newgarden topped free practice at Phoenix - Credit: Chris Jones / IndyCar

Fresh off the back of his first win of the season at Barber Motorsports Park last weekend, Josef Newgarden continued his good form by pacing the one and only practice session ahead of qualifying at the Phoenix International Raceway, the first oval event of 2017.

The Team Penske left it late to hit the front, setting a time of 19.1517s with just a handful of minutes remaining, with the team finishing with all four of its cars inside a Chevrolet-powered dominated top five.

The only exception was the Ed Carpenter Racing machine of JR Hildebrand, making his return to the #21 car this weekend after sitting out the Barber race due to injury, and the American finished second fastest, just 0.0427 seconds down on Newgarden.

Helio Castroneves was third for Penske ahead of team-mates Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, while Scott Dixon ended up sixth for Chip Ganassi Racing despite leading the field for long parts of the session, and was the leading Honda entry at the same time.

Sebastien Bourdais, who sits on top of the championship standings heading into the fourth round of the season, was seventh fastest for Dale Coyne Racing ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing duo Charlie Kimball and Tony Kanaan, while Mikhail Aleshin completed the top ten for Schmidt Peterson Motorsport.

Whilst Hildebrand was impressing at the front of the field, his team-mate/boss Ed Carpenter was enduring a tough first practice session of the season. The American only competes in the oval events, with Spencer Pigot racing the road and street courses, but Carpenter sat out most of the session due to engine problems and ended up at the rear of the field as a result.

Phoenix International Raceway Free Practice 1 Result

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